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install a crawl space vapor barrier

The Ins and Outs of Installing a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier

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Are the Cleveland, OH, rains flooding your crawl space? Don’t give up the fight for your home. When you invest in a solid vapor barrier, you can combat leaks of all shapes and sizes. What is a vapor barrier, though, and when is it time for you to install one into your home?

Let’s dive into vapor barrier basics so you can determine whether or not this solution is the one for you.

Is Your Crawl Space Leaking?

Before you start investing in waterproofing solutions, you need to be certain that your crawl space is leaking. Keep an eye out for the following signs to determine whether you have a leak, how significant the leak may be, and what the best solution for your leak is.

  • Dropping temperatures. An excess of water vapor in the air causes the temperature around you to drop. That’s why Cleveland, OH, gets so cold when it rains – and why your crawl space may be abnormally cold. Keep track of the temperature in your crawl space before and after a rainstorm rolls through. If you notice the temperature dropping after a storm, you may have a leak on your hands.
  • Water damage. If you think you have a leak, your belongings will confirm your suspicions right away. Excess dampness and standing water both will cause paper belongings to start curling, door frames and wooden belongings to warp, and fabric to rot. If you notice any of these symptoms in your crawl space, you’ll want to call a contractor ASAP.
  • Pests. Insects and critters will often do whatever it takes to escape the cold of a Cleveland winter. As a result, you may readily find them living in your crawl space if you leave it unprotected. The bad news is that if pests can get in, so can water. If you notice signs of an infestation, you’ll need to handle both your pest problem and the threat of leaks simultaneously.
  • Wet walls or puddles. Standing water, of course, is an obvious sign of a leak. Damp walls, too, will let you know that your crawl space may have been compromised. The good news is that you’ll be able to more readily trace standing water back toward the source of your leak. Damp walls, comparatively, are a sign of a minor leak, but that leak will be much more difficult for anyone but a professional to find.
  • Mold clusters. The last thing you want to find in your crawl space besides standing water is mold. Unfortunately, mold loves a crawl space leak. This space, when it’s dark and damp, provides mold particles with the ideal environment to grow. If you go down into your crawl space and find mold clusters, you need to get in touch with a professional quickly to keep them from spreading.
  • Bad smells. Finally, trust your nose when searching for a crawl space leak. Not only will the space smell damp after a rainstorm, but you may start noticing smells that make you uncomfortable. These smells – rot, mold, or smells that generally make you suspicious – are signs that water’s gotten into your belongings. If you’re cleaning your home and can’t get rid of a bad smell, check your crawl space. If you act quickly enough, you’ll be able to save your belongings from further damage.

When to Use a Vapor Barrier

  • Vapor barriers, when coupled with a drainage and sump pump system, will help you overcome minor and major leaks thanks to their generally impenetrable make. What, though, makes them so effective?

Vapor barriers are most frequently made of white plastic-like material. This material is woven so tightly together that most gases won’t be able to penetrate it. As a result, the barrier will help direct water away from your crawl space.

  • Encapsulating your crawl space with a vapor barrier is a permanent solution that will properly seal the area from the earth. You also can stack your vapor barrier with other waterproofing solutions if you want it to last longer.

How to Install a Vapor Barrier

While you can install a vapor barrier on your own, you’re likely going to want the help of a professional. In general, the vapor barrier installation process involves the following steps:

  • Get your crawl space dry.
  • Locate your leak.
  • Seal the leak.
  • Get rid of any old insulation.
  • Install your vapor barrier.
  • Add on additional waterproofing solutions.

Think your crawl space is leaking? Don’t wait. Get in touch with a local contractor for a free crawl space inspection and estimate, and to learn more about vapor barriers and the encapsulation process. Your crawl space-bound belongings will thank you for your efforts.

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