When Does a Crawl Space Need a Vapor Barrier?

When Does a Crawl Space Need a Vapor Barrier? blog header image

Your crawl space probably isn’t where you spend most of your time, but it can have a huge impact on your home’s overall performance, safety, and health. In fact, this often overlooked part of your home can be responsible for moisture, odors, and pests finding their way into your living spaces. 

At Total Home Performance, we understand the importance of a dry crawl space, which is why we include vapor barrier installation as part of our crawl space encapsulation services. Keep reading to learn more about crawl space moisture and how it can be prevented with a vapor barrier installation from our team of healthy home experts.

The Problem With a Vented Crawl Space

In the past, crawl space vents were required by building codes in order to prevent moisture build-up in a home by bringing in fresh, outdoor air. However, as building science has advanced, it’s been discovered that crawl space vents actually end up bringing in more moisture than they keep out. The outdoor air around the Chesapeake Bay is humid and when that air is brought into your home uncontrolled, it can lead to a series of issues, including:

  • Excess moisture
  • Mold growth
  • Pest infestation
  • Wood rot
  • High energy bills
  • Poor indoor air quality

What Is a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?

A vapor barrier is a thick plastic sheet that brings an area into your home’s thermal envelope, and it should be included in any home’s moisture control strategy. Without a vapor barrier, moisture can easily seep up from the ground and find its way into the living spaces of your home, causing a great deal of problems, like those listed above. 

At Total Home Performance, we install a heavy-duty polyethylene vapor barrier to completely cover a crawl space's floor. Our professional installers ensure that the vapor barrier is securely sealed with special care taken around obstacles such as piers and pillars. 

Keep Moisture Out With Crawl Space Encapsulation 

Installing a vapor barrier is only one part of the crawl space encapsulation process at Total Home Performance, which always starts with a thorough inspection. When enclosing your crawl space in your home’s thermal envelope, it’s important for us to start by addressing any recurring moisture, mold, or pest issues so that you can get the maximum benefits from encapsulation. 

Once our crews install the vapor barrier in your crawl space, they will air seal and insulate the area with spray foam ensuring no outside air comes through any vents or cracks.. At the end of the crawl space encapsulation process, we will evaluate the humidity levels and ensure moisture levels stay in the ideal 30-50% range by installing a dehumidifier.

Crawl Space Encapsulation Benefits

Sealing your crawl space with a vapor barrier during the encapsulation process can provide many whole-home benefits, such as:

  • Protected Home Structure - Excess moisture is the number one cause of wood rot in a home, which puts its structural integrity at risk. Encapsulating your crawl space will keep the area dry and reduce your risk of needing structural repairs down the road.
  • Increased Energy Efficiency - Crawl space encapsulation will not only make your home healthier, it’ll help lower your energy bills too. By including the area in your home’s thermal envelope, you’ll see energy savings and more consistent temperature throughout your entire home. 

Call the Crawl Space Experts at Total Home Performance

Our team has been in the damp and dark areas of Maryland homes for nearly 15 years and we’ve earned a reputation in the Easton and Annapolis areas for our crawl space expertise. We even offer crawl space maintenance plans to help ensure that the vulnerable lower levels of your home stay safe and dry for years to come. As a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® (HPwES) contractor, we can also help make crawl space encapsulation more affordable, so you can save money and increase your home’s health. 

Make crawl space moisture a thing of the past for your Maryland home. Call (410) 822-1390 or contact us online to schedule encapsulation services today.

Moisture in your crawl space?

Install a vapor barrier with Total Home Performance!

(410) 822-1390