Moisture Issues And The Use Of A Vapor Barrier System

A poorly-constructed basement or old, worn materials within a basement can compromise the strength of structural materials. If sagging or splintered materials become evident, small holes or cracks may allow moisture to permeate a basement. A vapor barrier system is one waterproofing solution that will protect interior materials from moisture accumulation.

Problematic Areas

A crawlspace is an area with limited space that usually is located underneath flooring that comprises the first story of a home. This space should be properly-insulated, to ensure that upper flooring materials remain stable.

If damaged materials lead to moisture entering a crawlspace, the moisture buildup can begin to soften wood and other permeable materials that haven't been treated with a waterproofing agent. This type of problem can spread throughout a basement. A waterproofing contractor will inspect walls, floors, ceilings, and windows within a basement or crawlspace. 

Water Vapor

Water vapor is water in a gaseous state. Vapor is not visible. A warm, humid crawlspace or basement atmosphere can trigger water vapor to form on walls, ceilings, and flooring. The vapor will often pass through construction materials. When the vapor is met with an outdoor temperature that is below the dew point, the vapor turns into a liquid form. This liquid is known as condensation. Condensation can remain on structural surfaces. Over time, the condensation can weaken structural materials.

A Barrier System

A vapor barrier system is sometimes referred to as a vapor retardant. This type of product acts as a shield. Foil or plastic are typically used to create a seal against interior components. Ceilings, walls, and flooring are all surfaces that can support the use of a barrier. Before a barrier system is installed, a contractor will need to assess if any structural components need to be replaced.

Interior surfaces need to be clean and dry prior to having a barrier system installed. If your basement is insulated, having a barrier system installed will protect insulation, as well as other structural surfaces. Some climates are more favorable for the use of a barrier system than others. A contractor will conduct an assessment to determine if a barrier system will be the most effective waterproofing upgrade that your home will benefit from. 

If the crawlspace within your basement is the only area that currently is in need of waterproofing, a contractor may use some other strategies to aid with moisture prevention in the basement. Concrete surfaces and wood trim that comprise the basement can be treated with a liquid or gel waterproofing agent. A dehumidifier can be used to maintain humidity levels within the basement. 

Reach out to a contractor for more information on basement waterproofing.