Two things make a moisture barrier an especially good idea here in Virginia – the air around us and the ground under our feet. What makes this a great time of year to install a moisture barrier is that more damage can be prevented if the barrier goes on the job before mold has time to mature.
Along with the blessings of a balmy climate, and the many ways we have of enjoying it, August brings the highest average humidity in the greater Richmond area. The very air around us is laden with water much of the time. The abundant sunshine we enjoy so much turns moisture into vapor that can penetrate practically anywhere in the home.
When vapor condenses around the framing, sub-flooring, or other wooden components of the home, it can cause those components to deteriorate, invite mold to fester, and result in a musty environment that often goes unnoticed, if we live with it every day, but which visitors often detect immediately. Drywall, too, is like a sponge, and it can quickly take on the deterioration that comes with constant moisture and become a fertile growing place for mold.
Encapsulating the Crawl Space
Moisture barriers are effective against leaks and condensation in walls and ceilings, and if you look carefully at new construction under way, you will likely see polyethylene or foil cladding going up around vertical surfaces. For existing homes, most assessments conclude that the place to start defending with a moisture barrier is the crawl space beneath the floor.
Protecting your crawl space with a durable moisture barrier not only helps create a healthy living space in the home above, but also helps avoid unwelcome repairs and can save money on utility bills. Protecting the crawl space interior from our damp outdoor conditions helps keep that space clean and dry. For many homes, it makes the space available for storage and other uses, for the first time.
When Moisture is a Constant Companion
In this climate, many of us become so accustomed to humidity and the effects of water vapor in the home that we rarely notice it. Many other folks, however, are not so fortunate. Allergic reactions to mold are common here, and even when allergies are not activated, mold has the potential to cause health problems. Mold contains irritants, and in some cases other unhealthy substances called mycotoxins. People with asthma can find the condition aggravated by mold and moisture in the home.
Installing a moisture barrier is a good idea all around then, for ourselves, for our family and loved ones, for those who could be especially affected by it – and even for those who are blissfully unaware.
Moisture and its effects are all around us here, and so it is fortunate that the solutions too are readily available. We would be happy to help.