If you are having problems with moisture and mildew in your basement, you will need to work fast to stop the moisture from spreading up into your home. A basement vapor barrier is one of the first steps to preventing this problem with excess moisture. A basement dehumidifier can be a suitable temporary fix, but it is better to solve your moisture problem instead of covering it up. In fact, a basement vapor barrier is also important for people who want to turn an unused basement space into a family room, play room, or office.
The basement vapor barrier is a waterproof material. One of the most popular barriers is simply a roll of heavy black plastic, which is rolled from one end of the room to the other. Each layer overlaps several inches so that moisture does not come up between the cracks between the layers of plastic. Once the barrier is in place, you can simply put down your sub-floor and then your flooring material as you normally would.
If you are using a basement vapor barrier in a crawl space, you don’t even need to be concerned about a sub-floor and flooring material. Simply shop for a roll of black plastic vapor barrier material or a sheet of clear plastic and then cover the crawl space floor with the material. Don’t forget to secure the plastic to the floor so that it does not shift around.
Of course, when you are working on remodeling your basement into livable space, you don’t want any moisture to come into the room. This means that you will also need to block moisture from coming into the basement through the walls.
A basement vapor barrier solution for cement block basement walls is to paint the walls with a special waterproof paint or sealant. The paint resists bubbling and peeling and keeps moisture from seeping through the cement blocks and into the room.
Finally, don’t forget to clean up mold and mildew that is already growing in your basement before you install your basement vapor barrier. Simply placing a plastic barrier over a mold covered floor or painting waterproof paint over mildewed walls can actually make the mold or mildew grow faster, since the area under the vapor barrier is still very moist.