Moisture is one of the main enemies of a home’s structure, potentially causing both structural problems and health issues. Uncontrolled moisture can cause rot and decay in wood framing and other materials, and it fosters mold and mildew that can cause allergies and asthma. At its most extreme, moisture can even determine if the construction of a home or room addition is possible at all. Where moisture is a known problem, vapor barriers are integrated into wall, ceiling, and floor construction to combat it effects. But nowhere is moisture more damaging than in a crawl space, even though it is not seen.
The crawl space has direct contact with the ground, it should be no surprise that moisture will develop here. It is difficult to overstate the problems that can occur because of crawl space moisture. One of the most serious problems caused by moisture is mold, mildew, and other fungi.
A vapor barrier slows or prevents the evaporation of ground moisture into the crawlspace air. If coupled with a waterproofing system, moisture and water can be expelled from the crawl space before it can cause problems. No more rot, rust, mold, odors, insects, or other moisture-related problems.
Animals of many types are drawn to water and can infest your home. These pests include carpenter ants, termites, rats, mice, snakes even skunks and armadillos. A vapor barrier, by its nature, resists the passage of air. By stopping air movement from the ground, it can also turn your crawlspace into a semi-conditioned space, one that is close to the temperature of the living spaces above. When that occurs, your floors feel warmer in winter and your energy bills go down.
A vapor barrier can also slow or block most of the movement of harmful gases, such as radon, from the soil. Coupled with a radon mitigation system (in the event that radon is present in higher than acceptable levels), a vapor barrier can significantly reduce radon levels in the home.