In all homes water vapor can collect beneath the basement into the crawlspace floors and even the walls. This water then is spread throughout the home causing mold, wood rot and carpet damage.
Additionally, allergy and health problems can arise from the mold. It is important for homeowners to have a moisture barrier for basements floor to prevent structural damage.
Gravel Barriers Prevent Structural Damage
Many homeowners think that a crawl space beneath the house or a house built on gravel will prevent the problem of vapor or moisture condensation. The problem is that the gravel allows moisture to seep into the home and does not offer an effective moisture barrier for crawl spaces or for basements flooring.
The home is still susceptible to smelling musty and trapping moisture within the wall structures which can cause damages. It is imperative to put some sort of moisture retardant beneath the gravel if you choose to use gravel as the moisture barrier for basements floor or for crawl spaces.
Why Moisture Collects
Water is in the soil all around us. Throughout the day, the water evaporates into the air which creates increased humidity levels. Evaporation is happens more quickly if the air is warm and it remains trapped in the air a longer period of time.
The majority of basements contain more moisture than other parts of the home because the water evaporates from the ground and becomes trapped in the insulation, interior wall structure, beneath the basement flooring and in crawl spaces. There is literally no place for the trapped water to go and the humidity levels then increase in the basement area.
Traditional Moisture Barriers
New homes traditionally have some type of moisture barrier for basements floor and for crawlspaces. This material is standard polyethylene sheeting that looks like a sheet of clear or black plastic. The material used typically recycled or reprocessed polyethylene resins with fillers.
This material is ideal for contractors because it is relatively inexpensive compared to the other options for moister barrier control. The barrier usually comes in a 100 foot long roll approximately two mil to six mil thickness.
Inexpensive is not always best. The problem with this traditional low density polyethylene moisture barrier for basements floor is that the actual barrier can contain small pinholes. These of course allow some vapor to escape the barrier and enter the home.
The other difficulty is that many of these barriers degrade when they are used on top of alkaline soil, which causes further leakage of moisture and vapors into the home.
High Performance Moisture Barriers
Many homeowners are electing to spend more money on moisture barrier for basements floor to prevent future structural damage and health problems for their family members. The newer, high performance moisture barriers are also made from polyethylene. However, it is not the traditional kind that is processed from recycled resins.
The high performance moisture barriers are constructed with virgin high density polyethylene materials. In addition, during the construction process of these high density barriers the material is cross-laminated to ensure a stronger barrier that will not allow leaks or seepage into the home.
In fact, there are no pin holes for the water vapor to slip through and users are reporting that the high density moisture barrier for basements floor perform up to 50% better than the traditional barriers.
Another advantage to the high density polyethylene moisture barrier for basements floor is that they are offered with join sealers so that any place the material overlaps when lying beneath the home are sealed. They are not affected by alkaline soils and deterioration is not sped up regardless of soil types the material is placed over.
You do not want to spend thousands of dollars repairing structural damage cause by vapor condensation and seepage into your home from basement moisture. It is imperative to have high quality moisture barrier for basements floor for your home that will help to prevent problems in the future.
The additional investment pays for itself from money saved on not having structural damage or family members visiting a local health care provider for allergy or other health problems caused by too much moisture in the home.
See Also: How to Repair Cement Floors