July 14

Choosing a Vapor Barrier or Crawl Space Encapsulation


Whether you want to reduce mold and mildew in your home, protect against pests and termites, or improve your house’s energy efficiency and air quality, you know this all starts with eliminating moisture in your crawl space. In addition to adding a drainage system, your two main options are having a vapor barrier installed or choosing crawl space encapsulation. If you’re not certain which option is right for you, we’re sharing the benefits and drawbacks of both systems.

What Is a Vapor Barrier?

In a crawl space with a dirt floor, moisture in the soil evaporates rises to the surface and evaporates, creating excess humidity and moisture in the space under your home. Over time, this continuous stagnant air can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and even respiratory issues as the moist air travels into your home from the crawl space.  A vapor barrier blocks that evaporation and limits the amount of moisture in a crawl space.

Typically, vapor barriers are sheets made of polyethylene, a thin, water-resistant plastic. They’re installed over the dirt in your crawl space and often a few inches up on the walls of the interior of the foundation.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Vapor Barriers

The main benefit of a vapor barrier is the cost and ease of installation. Because they are simple sheets of plastic laid over the dirt and secured, they aren’t very expensive and some homeowners will attempt to tackle the project themselves.

The drawback is that vapor barriers do not offer comprehensive moisture control, nor do they completely seal the space to protect it. While they cover the dirt to prevent water vapor from evaporating, in North Carolina, the outside air is also hot and humid. Because of the negative pressure in the crawl space, hot, humid air and water can enter through vents, voids, or seep through the concrete. While a vapor barrier reduces the moisture, it doesn’t eliminate it, so you are still susceptible to pests, mold, and reduced energy efficiency.

What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Crawl space encapsulation is a comprehensive method of waterproofing and sealing the space under your home. A drain or pump is installed around the interior to eliminate water from entering the space through hydrostatic pressure. Then, a vapor barrier is laid over the dirt as well as all around the walls of the crawl space. Vents and cracks are completely sealed so water and contaminants are unable to enter your crawl space.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Crawl Space Encapsulation

The main benefit of crawl space encapsulation is that it is the most effective way to keep your crawl space dry. In fact, many homeowners use the space for storage after it’s been sealed because they know their belongings will be safe.

Conversely, the drawback is cost. This is a project that must be handled by professional crawl space encapsulation contractors, and it’s much more intensive. However, the long-term effectiveness and comprehensive moisture barrier makes it a better investment for your home.

Call Us for a Quote for Crawl Space Encapsulation Today

If you want a comprehensive method of keeping your crawl space moisture-free, our crawl space encapsulation contractors offer a satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty on our service. To learn more or to schedule a quote, reach out to us today at (919) 847-7072 or fill out our contact form below to get started.

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