Most homes in the Portland area have a crawlspace and in just about every crawlspace, you will find a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier is the black, white or clear plastic that covers the ground. This protective plastic layer is meant to stop the moisture in the damp crawlspace soil from rising up into the subfloor, which can cause mold and/or wood rot. Unfortunately, these protective barriers can become damaged or contaminated over time and require replacement. Depending on your crawlspace, replacing a vapor barrier can be fairly difficult and it is important to know the correct way to get the job done.
How do vapor barriers get damaged?
Sometimes the vapor barrier gets damaged from contractors (or the home owner) crawling around and disrupting it. Other times the barrier gets contaminated from animals such raccoons, opossums or rodents. Sometimes a crawlspace simply has no vapor barrier at all. All of these would be good reasons to look into having a new one installed.
How do you install a vapor barrier?
First, you have to decide the thickness and style of the barrier you want to put down. The code for the Portland and Vancouver area is a thickness of 6 mil and black in color. A lot of older homes have a clear barrier and this falls below the current code requirements. A white vapor barrier is usually a thicker product and is usually a thickness between 10 mil and 20 mil. The cost of this thicker barrier is significantly higher, but in my opinion a 6 mil vapor barrier should be fine in almost any situation.
To install, you will need to first remove the existing vapor barrier by cutting it into the strips that can be rolled up, bagged and removed. This is especially important if you have a contaminated vapor barrier so that you roll up and contain the contaminated area. You will then need to roll out the vapor barrier between a row of concrete pier pads or pony walls. Once you have cut the end of the roll, you can start unfolding it. You will will need to make a vertical cut along the foundation posts and drape the plastic over both sides of the pier pads. This process is repeated for each row. You should ensure that you have a 12 inch overlap along all of the seams and leave 12 inches of overlap along the foundation wall. Once you have all this down, you will just need to smooth it out and stretch it.
How much does it cost to have New Leaf install a vapor barrier?
This process can be fairly difficult, especially if you have a crawlspace that is on the tighter side. So, you might be asking how much does it cost to have a vapor barrier replaced in the Portland, Oregon area? The price can vary depending on how tight the space is and how many posts there are to cut around, but as a general rule of thumb, somewhere about a $1 per square foot should get you in the ballpark. If doing this project yourself sounds like a bit more than you want to take on, please give New Leaf a call. We would be happy to set up a free inspection and estimate to get your vapor barrier put in right.