A Crawl Space Vapor Barrier is often referred to as a plastic material that resists diffusion of moisture from the dirt floor of the crawlspace. A vapor barrier slows or prevents the evaporation of ground moisture into the crawl space air. If coupled with a waterproofing system, moisture and water can be expelled from the crawl space before it can cause problems.
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.
Excess moisture supports the growth of mold, dust, mites, insects, and other pests. It also causes structural damage to your home’s wood framing and degrades some forms of insulation, fiberglass in particular. Poor quality air and allergens caused from mold spores and dust mite droppings (the two largest indoor allergens) can affect some people’s health.
Up to 40 percent of the air we breathe on the first floor of our homes comes from the crawl space or basement. This air gets into the first floor because what’s called the stack effect (think of a chimney). Warm air in the upper levels of a home rises and is expelled, typically through the attic. But nature abhors a vacuum so that air that’s expelled must be replenished. A vapor/air barrier can also slow or block most of the movement of harmful gasses, such as radon, from the soil.
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