Autumn has arrived in Australia and moisture droplets in the air increase during this season thanks to the drizzly rain and fog which hangs around for days on end. One big downside of excess air moisture is the growth of mould and mildew in homes. It is important to ensure the eradication of mould spores. Crawl space vapour barriers are one way you can reduce the amount of mould growth in your home, and now is the perfect time to install them. Here are the basics you need to know about these moisture busters.
What Are Crawl Space Vapour Barriers?
These barriers are thick plastic sheets which are strategically placed under your home to keep the moisture trapped in the earth. Putting down a vapour barrier in a crawl space serves more than one purpose:
- traps mould spores
- reduces damp, musty smells
- deters insects that like to live and breed in the moist dirt
The beauty of installing a vapour barrier is it is a task you can do yourself, provided you don't suffer claustrophobia.
What Vapour Barriers Should You Buy?
Vapour barriers are thick pieces of plastic sheet that you can purchase directly from the manufacturer. Your first decision is to determine what thickness of plastic sheet you need. If the crawl space beneath your home is rocky, the thicker the sheet, the better. A 20-millimetre thick sheet is less likely to tear when laid over rocks when compared to a 10-millimetre sheet.
Secondly, the current dampness of the soil determines the thickness of the sheet required. Once again, a 20-millimetre thick sheet traps more moisture, and therefore more musty odours, than a 10-millimetre thick sheet does. The thicker the plastic sheet, however, the more expensive it costs. So, you need to weigh up the cost factor versus your individual needs.
Vapour Barrier Installation
Once you have purchased the plastic sheet, you, or a contractor, will crawl under your house to lay it on the ground of your crawl space. The sheet must be overlapped slightly at each edge to ensure no moisture breaks through. Use a strong, waterproof adhesive tape to bind each sheet to the next. Once you have covered all of the floors in the crawl space, then apply the plastic sheet to each piece of wall and foundation beam that protrudes down into this cavity.
Protect your family's health by installing a crawl space vapour barrier below your home this autumn.