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How to Check Your Basement Vapor Barrier

Worried about the state of your basement vapor barrier? Here’s how to maintain it and look for signs of failure.

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Protecting your home means more than investing in a security system. You’ll need to keep an eye on the health of all your home’s parts, including its basement.    

When you insulate your basement with waterproof insulation and a vapor barrier, you make an effort to keep excess moisture out. That said, you’ll need to monitor your home’s waterproofing measures if you want them to keep doing their job.  

Inspect your basement insulation

What Is a Vapor Barrier?

A vapor barrier is a sheet of plastic-like material that professionals can install in a crawl space or basement.  These barriers, which are made of thick, plastic-like material, are dense enough to keep water and gases out of your basement. While it’s most common to see them in crawl spaces, some basements can also see benefits from the vapor barrier. 

There are a variety of benefits that you might gain from having a vapor barrier in your basement.  On top of avoiding water and gases, thick, strong barriers are mildew and mold-proof. Plus, it typically takes less than a day for a professional to fit the barrier to your basement, so you don’t even have to take a lot of time out of your day to install a basement vapor barrier. 

Do You Need a Vapor Barrier in Your Home? 

You’ll only want to install a vapor barrier in your basement after you’ve restored the health of the underlying materials. If you install them over damaged materials, the lifespan of the vapor barrier will go down dramatically. These barriers go over any insulation that you’ve already installed, too, effectively providing a second layer of protection for your basement, even though they’re denser than your average foam board.  

The installment professionals  in your area can help you determine whether or not it’s worth it for you to install a vapor barrier in your basement. The process is relatively straightforward, but that doesn’t mean that you should try it on your own. Instead, the professional contractors in your area can go through the steps of installing a vapor barrier for you. After measuring  your basement, they’ll have the dimensions they need to cut your barrier and staple it into place.  Most of the time, adding vapor.    barriers is part of a process known as encapsulation, where all four walls of your basement are covered with the barrier.   

 Vapor barriers are not a set-it-and-forget-it solution, but they can be a permanent solution to your basement vapor problems as long as you keep an eye on it. You’ll need to schedule regular inspections if you want to stay on top of your vapor barrier’s condition.  Additionally, pairing a vapor barrier with something like waterproof insulation can make the barrier last longer.  

Why Consider Both Insulation and a Vapor Barrier for Your Basement?  

Your basement has more influence over the health of your home than you may think. If your basement starts to suffer from excessive moisture, the structural supports therein can begin to fail. In failing, these structural supports can cause your walls to sag and the rest of your home to begin suffering the effects of hydrostatic pressure.    

When you insulate your basement with insulation and a vapor barrier, you give that space an extra boost of protection. Thermal insulation, for example, doubles as both a temperature-control aid and a waterproofing measure that can help drive unwanted moisture out of your home.    

Thermal insulation will protect your pipes from bursting in the winter and help prevent leaks in the summer. There will also be a barrier between your home and the outdoors that keeps hydrostatic pressure from having an immediate effect on your sensitive structural supports. Vapor barriers, in a similar vein, are dense enough to keep moisture and most gases out of your home.   

Your problems won’t go away, however, after you install insulation and a vapor barrier in your basement. You’ll need to check on it consistently to ensure that these home waterproofing measures haven’t been damaged while keeping moisture out of your home. This way, you can know when it’s time to replace your waterproofing measures to prevent them from hosting mold.    

Detecting Basement Damage   

It doesn’t take a significant amount of experience working with vapor barriers and insulation to determine when your product’s gone bad. When you’re looking over these products, you’ll want to inspect them for wet spots, tears, or visible damage.    

Some more signs your basement protection may be failing include:    

  • Inconsistent temperatures throughout your home    
  • Increasing electric or heat bills    
  • Signs of seepage throughout your home    
  • Mildew or mold    
  • Standing water     

That said, these conditions can also indicate wider-spread moisture damage throughout your home. It’s often best to work with a basement professional in the Colorado Springs, CO, area to determine whether it’s your basement vapor barrier that’s the problem or something else.     

Reaching Out for Professional Guidance   

Interested in a professional  vapor barrier inspection? Want to learn more about  how a vapor barrier can be an effective solution for basement moisture? The basement professionals at Complete Basement Systems can walk through your home and provide you with a free quote on the services you may need to bring your basement back up to snuff.

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