Ground vapor barriers in vented crawl spaces: do they work?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 by Cynthia Freeney

Everything was done "by the book" in your crawl space.

The dirt floor was lined with a vapor barrier, overlapping 6 inches in the seams, the seams sealed with tape. The liner ran a few inches or half way up the walls and was fastened or glued it in place, following all the typical recommendations. You provided the code specified amount of vents, which were left open year round or during specific seasons, following the regional guidelines.

Yet now, after a few years, your house smells like a wet dog, your hardwood floors or plywood sub-floors are warping, your carpet is damp and you or someone in your family is always feeling miserable with allergy symptoms.

You suspect the crawl space and as you open the door to it you realize you need a mask, flash light, a bio-hazard suit, a good stomach and a dose of courage to enter the place.

Your crawl space is filthy, moldy, and full of bugs. The smell of decay ins unbearable. You can poke holes with a pen in your floor joists and the insulation, now turned into something resembling science fiction B movie monster, is falling off.

You wonder what went wrong. You and the thousands of other American homeowners who own houses with vented crawl spaces, that go through  this same situation every single day.

What went wrong -  and cases such as yours and the one in the picture prove - is that those crawl space venting recommendations are wrong. They make no sense from a scientific standpoint and if nothing is done to change them and educate the consumer, they will victimize more and more homeowners.

Moisture ruined crawl spaces are so common in the US, that they can be considered part of a true housing epidemic.

The only proven way to protect the crawlspace is through encapsulation and conditioning systems such as our CleanSpace System. Encapsulated crawl spaces are proven to significantly improve your home's health, indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Contact us for a free estimate and see how easy and affordable it is to have a crawl space so dry and clean, you can safely use it for storage.

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