You may not spend a lot of time thinking about the crawl space under your home, but if you want to prevent structural damage to your residence while improving the air quality, then understanding the condition of your crawl space is essential. The area under your home is generally only about 18 to 36 inches high. This means that space is generally very damp due to moisture within the dirt that rises to the surface or humid air that is trapped underneath the home cannot escape. This leads to an increased risk for mold, mildew, wood rot, and even more exposure to pests. When you consider that up to 60 percent of the air you breathe in the first floor of your home comes from a vented crawl space, you will want to make sure it’s as dry and safe as possible.
What Is a Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier is a plastic material that is used to line the ground and perimeter of your home’s crawl space or line the perimeter of an unfinished basement. Unfortunately, only using a vapor barrier will lead to slowing down moisture evaporation and creating that moist, unhealthy air that can penetrate your home.
Since most crawl spaces are still vented, it’s not a 100 percent effective way to block moisture from under your home. Even though the vapor barrier is designed to reduce moisture, it does not allow the evaporation of moisture from the dirt below your house. This allows humid air to enter any crevices, cracks, and vents and in the crawl space where it will stagnate and do the same kind of damage that comes from damp earth.
Are Crawl Space Vapor Barriers Enough for your Raleigh Home?
Depending on the climate you live in and the relative moisture in the air, most homes will need a more efficient moisture deterrent. In dry or cold climates, such as the Northeastern United States and Canada, homes that don’t rely on central air conditioning or that don’t have exterior foam sheathing on the walls may find a vapor barrier to be adequate moisture prevention.
In the Southeast, including North Carolina, a vapor barrier is merely a temporary fix to a much larger problem for your Raleigh home. Because our climate is so hot and humid for much of the year, a vapor barrier is insufficient to handle the day-to-day conditions of our extreme climate. Crawl space sealing is the only effective method.
If a vented crawl space has only a vapor barrier, humid and mold-laden air is still permitted to enter the crawl space. This added moisture can be disastrous for your home’s structural integrity. Not only does it speed up wood rot, but it can become a breeding ground for insects, including termites. Your home’s foundation and floor joists can become damaged or destroyed, requiring professional floor leveling and intensive repairs.
Also, a vapor barrier doesn’t make your home healthier in humid climates. Without crawl space encapsulation, this stagnant, moist air can permeate the rest of the house, carrying toxic mold spores and mildew. Mold in your crawl space can be infectious if spores are allowed to blow through cracks in your HVAC system and into your homes interior. If left untreated, the effects of inhaling this infected air can be disastrous to your health and the health of your loved ones, triggering allergy symptoms, headaches, asthma attacks, and other symptoms.
Protect Your Home with More than a Vapor Barrier
Using only a vapor barrier won’t solve the effects of poor moisture management in your crawl space. To better protect your family from the harmful effects of poor moisture management, the experts at Crawl Space and Basement Technologies offer individual solutions to encapsulate your crawl space. This completely seals off the cracks, crevices, and open spaces, keeping your crawl space dry and insulated, leading to a healthier, drier home!
Call Our Raleigh Crawl Space Moisture Specialists
To learn more about the benefits of our crawl space services and schedule your, no-obligation estimate, call us today at 919-847-7072 or fill out our online form. We will visit your home to give you the most accurate price point for the job. Our trained specialist will guide you through the options to determine the best solution for you and your budget.