While you probably don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the crawl space of your Clayton home, it’s important to make sure it’s maintained properly if you want to prevent expensive foundation damage and unhealthy air quality.
Because crawl spaces are only about 18 to 36 inches from ground to home with minimal air flow, the dirt is almost always damp. This causes moisture to continually evaporate under the home, and because there is no circulation, it’s humid, dirty, and allows mold, mildew and bacteria to thrive. This causes your house’s wooden structural elements to rot, attracts insects, including termites, and fills your home with mold spores. You certainly don’t want to breathe this air in, though studies show that up to 40 percent of the air on the first floor of your house is coming from your vented crawl space.
What Is a Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier is a specific type of plastic sheeting designed to reduce moisture in a home’s crawl space or basement. It is installed over the dirt under your house, blocking any evaporated moisture from entering your home or rotting the floor joists.
While evaporation from wet dirt under your home does play a role in the amount of moisture under your home, it’s not the only factor. In fact, if your crawl space or basement is vented, a vapor barrier doesn’t prevent the warm, humid air from outside from entering through small cracks, crevices, or vents. There, the air will stagnate, causing the same problems as moisture from the dirt.
Does Your Clayton Home Need a Vapor Barrier?
While people in dry, cold climates, like the Upper Midwest or Northeast, can benefit from a vapor barrier, the reality is that they don’t fully protect most homes. Especially here in North Carolina where it’s so hot and humid for much of the year. That hot, humid air can enter your crawl space through your venting and also through any small cracks or crevices in your home’s foundation.
Vapor barriers simply can’t block all the moisture in your crawl space, and while they will slow down any mold growth or wood rot, they don’t prevent them. In reality, anywhere there are gaps and spaces, moisture can seep in and is more likely to enter your home through cracks and vents in your crawl space, then find holes and spaces under your flooring to enter. That’s why sealing is a much better option.
Vapor Barriers Can’t Fully Protect Your Clayton Home
If you’re only relying on plastic sheeting to keep your vented crawl space or unfinished basement dry, you may be surprised to find that humid and mold-laden air is still able to enter the area. Just like moisture from the ground, humid air from outside is just as disastrous for your home’s structural integrity. Warm, damp places accelerate wood rot and are preferred habitat for termites, and it doesn’t take long for major damage to take place, requiring professional floor leveling and intensive repairs.
Warm, moist air can increase how quickly bacteria grow and support mold growth that can then enter your home. Unless you encapsulate your crawl space or basement, the air that enters will end up moving through the rest of the house and can make you and your family sick as well as cause damage to your walls, flooring, and anywhere mold can grow. Spores can also enter your HVAC system and circulate through your home, triggering asthma attacks, allergy symptoms, headaches, and other chronic issues.
Protect Your Home with More than a Vapor Barrier
In order to prevent damage to your home and poor air quality, you need to prevent as much moisture from entering your home through your crawl space as possible. That’s why the experts at Crawl Space and Basement Technologies recommend basement and crawl space encapsulation. This totally seals all the cracks, crevices, and vents around the perimeter of your crawl space or basement as well as sealing the floor, keeping your home drier, healthier, and more comfortable!
Call Our Crawl Space & Basement Moisture Specialists in Clayton
If you’d like to learn what options are available to ensure a drier crawl space or basement, schedule your no-obligation estimate by calling us today at (919) 847-7072 or filling out our online form. We will visit your home to give you the most accurate price point for the job while guiding you through the options to determine the best solution for you and your budget.