Crawl Space Restoration:
What is the purpose of installing a Vapor Barrier?
Vapor barriers, also referred to as moisture barriers, are simply a sheet of polyethylene plastic laid on the dirt surface of a crawl space. The vapor barrier prevents moisture in the ground from penetrating into the crawl space area and potentially damaging the exposed wood and insulation. It encourages moisture to drain into the soil, so there is not a layer of water trapped just below your crawl space for long periods. It also helps control humidity levels in your crawl space. In addition a properly installed vapor barrier also guards against any crawl space moisture from becoming a breeding ground for mold and a host of other problems
How is the vapor barrier installed?
Proper installation is critical. The vapor barrier needs to cover all
of the dirt completely and also be properly sealed. In addition the
concrete footing and at least part of the foundation wall need to be
covered as well. Some homeowners prefer to cover the entire foundation
wall. This helps prevent any moisture from escaping and also give the
space a uniform look. We tape all of the seams using a polyethylene UV
resistant tape. This will give the vapor barrier a water proof seal at
What is the difference between a 6 mil, 10 mil., 12 mil. or a 20 mil. vapor barrier?
This number refers to the thickness of the plastic. To be more precise, 6 mil means 6 millimeters or 0.006 inches thick. The thickness of the product adds to the life expectancy of the vapor barrier. The standard vapor barrier has always been black 6 mil In Washington State. This is the minimum to meet current building codes. Truth is this is a relatively thin product that tears easily and probably won’t last over time. It can be purchased at most hardware stores for about $70.00 per 1000 square feet.
There are, however, 10 mil and 12 mil products on the market today that have excellent vapor retardant capabilities and are tear resistant. Our technicians have samples of these so you can see for yourself the differences.
We believe that if you are paying for a premium crawl space restoration it make sense to use a better quality product that truly will stand the test of time not to mention it looks absolutely fantastic. Before you hire a crawl space contractor ask them what product they use and ask to see samples of their different products so you can decide for yourself.
What is the best vapor barrier for your home?
It depends on your needs. How often are you in your crawl space? Do you use it for storage or other purposes? Is your furnace or other appliances such as the hot water heater in the crawl space? The more use the Vapor Barrier gets the stronger you want the product to be.
We will go over all the options with you and help you decide which product is right for your home and your budget.
What is full encapsulation and is this right for my home?
This is a process in which the entire crawl space area is sealed. The
foundation vents are blocked and the entire foundation wall is covered
with rigid insulated Styrofoam board and is then taped at the seams. The
foam board is an insulator with an R value of 13. The entire crawl space
floor and foundation walls are covered with a polyethylene vapor barrier
designed for the crawl space environment. The vapor barrier is taped at
the seams using a UV resistant polyethylene tape so that no moisture can
pass from the ground to your home.
Doesn’t full encapsulation cost more?
Not necessarily. Remember you’ve eliminated the need for floor insulation and typically that is one of the major expenses in crawl space restoration process. We offer crawl space services that include everything from fully heated encapsulation to the more traditional installation of a basic vapor barrier on the floor. Whichever you choose, the result is always a clean crisp crawl space that eliminates odors and provides a cleaner environment for your home.
Call (253) 691-9239 or Contact Us for a free consultation about your crawlspace needs.