You might not spend that much time thinking about your crawl space. You likely don’t spend time there unless you’re a fan of being cramped and in the dark. But caring for your crawl space is essential—even more so in a rainy city like Seattle.
A vapor barrier that’s at least six millimeters thick is a big part of maintenance in modern homes across Washington and Oregon. But if you’re living in an older home in Seattle, there’s a chance the barrier in your crawl space may be damaged or outdated, or maybe even nonexistent. That is something you want to take care of to keep your home protected from the elements.
What Is a Vapor Barrier?
A vapor barrier is a deceptively simple plastic liner that covers the ground within your crawl space. Its central function is to block the vapor and moisture in the soil and prevent it from getting into your home.
You might not think that the air you breathe has anything to do with the air in your crawl space, but if you have an HVAC unit, that system is pulling some of its air from every corner of your home. Any moisture inside a crawl space can cause mold or bacteria to grow in your furnace or air conditioner. That forces your unit to run harder while lowering the overall air quality in your home.
For your vapor barrier to be effective, it needs to be covering every inch of space in your crawl space. When it does that, you can keep the humidity in your home under control.
Signs Your Vapor Barrier Needs to Be Replaced
When properly installed, a vapor barrier should last twenty years or more. But certain circumstances require more immediate action. If you’ve experienced any of these telltale problems, you should consult a professional to analyze the state of your vapor barrier and see if it needs to be replaced.
Water or Drainage Issues
Issues with your vapor barrier often result in standing water that can seriously damage the state of your home. Among other problems, water in your crawl space can cause mold and mildew, which affects the air quality inside your home.
You may have noticed some rodents or other critters making a home in your crawl space. These pests will tear the surface of your vapor barrier while also leaving droppings that can make their way into the air system.
You don’t have to go into your crawl space yourself to see what your home needs. In these particular cases, a professional can observe the state of your vapor barrier and advise the best course of action for your crawl space.
The Benefits of Crawl Space Maintenance
Controlling the humidity in your crawl space through a vapor barrier is massively beneficial for every aspect of your home life. Excess moisture in the home can attract certain types of ants and termites, and wet crawl spaces will eventually rot and ruin the insulation in the house.
With proper crawl space maintenance, you can breathe easily in more ways than one. Even if you need a vapor barrier replacement, once you put in that effort, you’ll have the peace of mind that your home’s humidity is under control and the foundation is intact. Contact Attic Projects Company Seattle today for a free inspection!