An easy way to protect the integrity of the foundation, concrete slab, or basement floor is by installing a crawl space moisture barrier. This method can effectively seal off porous crawlspaces by preventing moisture from entering through cracks, gaps, or spaces in the foundation. This membrane can also prevent humidity from entering through wooden frames or walls. In addition, it can block water from rising through vents and pipes that are located within the perimeter.
In the past, many contractors have used paint to seal crawl spaces. However, paint tends to peel off and wash away in humid weather. Also, paint does not adhere well to metal, which is part of what makes moisture transfer so easily through walls and windows. Because of these concerns, engineers and scientists developed an effective alternative that can be applied to crawl spaces without damaging the walls and windows.
Crawl space encapsulation, also called crawl space moisture barrier, is a method that protects the foundation and the structural framing around the structure, from moisture buildup. A highly durable membrane, it seals surfaces and prevents heat transfer, air infiltration, and water vapor intrusion. To make it even more effective, it also acts as an anti-corrosion agent. This product is made of high-density polyethylene and a tough acrylic coating. The walls and frames of the crawl space are then sealed around the perimeter using this membrane. A thick enough application will prevent moisture from seeping into the structure.
Another advantage of the crawl space moisture barrier is that it prevents the formation of mold. Mold often causes health problems and allergic reactions. If mold spores get into the air during the drying process, they can cause drywall formation or other respiratory issues. In many cases, drywall formation is a cause of health complaints as well.
A professional company installing a crawl space moisture barrier should be consulted. The two most recommended forms are either plastic or a composite membrane. When choosing one, it is important that the material is easy to install with little to no labor required on the homeowner’s part. It should also be made of material that will not absorb or release moisture. In the article index, related articles will provide more information on these two materials.
One type of barrier uses a plastic membrane between the walls and ceilings. This barrier is connected to the underside of the home with silicone caulk or some other form of glue. It has a lip that extends from the wall to the ceiling. As moisture collects on the floor, it channels away from the home and up through the vent opening. The barrier is effective at keeping moisture from the floor below from entering the crawl space.
Another type of barrier is made of a composite material called polystyrene. This material consists of tiny pores in its surface. Any water that collects on these pores is kept up and away from the home. The material is so small that it can be placed very close to any foundation vent or small vents in the crawl space walls. This means that any excess moisture is held up where it is not wanted and does not damage the walls or foundation.
The last type of barrier system used to protect a basement, is a vapor barrier. This system uses the principles of physical science to prevent soil moisture from moving upward into a basement. It is made of thick material that acts like a pressure blanket. Whenever a basement is warm, air from above passes through the soil and condenses on the damp soil. As the air cools, it seeps back into the home.