We are often asked if a vapor barrier is absolutely necessary to install in the crawl space. The simple answer is yes!
For crawl space mold prevention purposes, you can’t leave your crawl space floor uncovered. An estimated 18 gallons a day come from natural soil evaporation in the Ozarks. Now imagine your dirt floor crawl space with 18 gallons of moisture being present with nowhere to escape. Sure, you have some foundation vents to help some of that moisture escape, but the majority of that moisture rises up to your floor joists and sub-flooring, wreaking havoc in the process. Not only does all of that moisture cause mold to grow, but it can also cause wood rot, insects, termites, and some unpleasant odors.
The humidity that is caused in a crawl space with no vapor barrier present is often overlooked. High humidity equals high moisture content. Once the humidity reaches certain levels in your crawl space, the walls, pipes, and ductwork start to sweat. This adds more moisture to an already moist crawl space. The worst situation we run into at Dog Gone Mold is when someone has their sub-floor in the crawl space insulated but no vapor barrier present. All of that moisture rises up from the floor and the fiberglass insulation soaks it up like a sponge. That sponge-like insulation is now holding moisture up against your floor joists and sub-flooring, giving it even more opportunity to cause mold growth and wood rot.
The simplest solution is having a vapor barrier installed in your crawl space to keep all of that moisture where it belongs- on the ground and not on your floor joists. The key is having a professional company install your vapor barrier, to make sure it is installed correctly and is providing you with the protection you need.
This means all seams over-lap at least 12 inches and are properly sealed. It also means installing the vapor barrier 12 inches OVER the footing and not just up to the footing (most water intrusion into a crawl space seeps over the footing. If the vapor barrier is not correctly installed, that water would go on top of your vapor barrier, instead of underneath it.) Lastly, it means making sure the barrier goes 12 inches up the piers and is properly sealed to prevent any water/moisture intrusion from underneath.
Once a proper vapor barrier has been installed, your chances of mold growth in the crawl space will greatly decrease. A proper vapor barrier installation cuts moisture from natural soil evaporation from 18 gallons a day to half a gallon a day. This drastic difference could determine whether you’ll need costly mold remediation or have a clean, dry crawl space.
Call Dog Gone Mold for a free crawl space estimate or mold inspection. Let us assess any potential crawl space needs for you and help prevent or eradicate crawl space mold in Springfield Missouri.