A vapor barrier (also called a “moisture barrier“) serves an important purpose underneath your home. A crawl space is a damp, dark place that provides the perfect setting for moisture related problems to arise. This is especially true in the Pacific Northwest where we get such an excessive amount of rain throughout the year. As a drainage contractor serving the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA area, we get a lot of questions regarding the installation of vapor barriers. Here are some commonly asked questions if you are considering having this service done.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Vapor Barrier Installed?
It really depends on a few factors that are unique to your home. Primarily, we take into consideration the overall square footage of the space that needs to be covered. However, the other factors that will affect the overall price are the number of pier posts in the space and how tight it is. As a ballpark estimate, we generally price a vapor barrier roughly around .45 to .65 cents a square foot, but we would always want to come out and do a free inspection before providing a firm price.
What Is The Purpose Of A Vapor Barrier?
Since your crawl space is a damp place, it stops moisture from naturally rising from the soil into the structural elements of the home. Moisture issues also create a conducive condition for mold to begin forming. A properly installed moisture barrier can prevent mold from forming.
What Would Happen If I did Not Have A Vapor Barrier?
It really depends on how much moisture your crawl space have. Many homes have significant moisture issues and a lack of a vapor barrier could really escalate potential damages to the structure. Some homes can be relatively dry in the crawl space and have good ventilation and will have a lesser impact if no vapor barrier is installed. However, if you are looking to sell your home, a home inspector would be sure to point out that a vapor barrier is missing and create a red flag for a prospective buyer.
What Is The Current Code For A Properly Installed Vapor Barrier?
Depending on the jurisdiction, the requirements differ. However, the industry standard is to use a minimum of a 6 mil black plastic (clear plastic is not code) with a twelve inch overlap along the seams and along the foundation. Many people want all the seams to be taped, but this is not required and not even recommended. We prefer a vapor barrier to have seams so that if water gets on top, it can find a seam and drain naturally.
Is This Something That I could Do Myself?
Installing a moisture barrier is not overly complicated, but it is pretty tough work. Many of our customers have tried to do it themselves before calling us, but have given up halfway through. If you want it done right, be sure to call the professionals.
If you are looking for some help in getting a vapor barrier installed in your crawl space, we invite you to give us a call. We would be happy to discuss the project with you over the phone or set up a free consultation.