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What should I do with the old and torn plastic that's in my crawl space now?

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Wise homeowners should inspect their crawl spaces regularly for any potential problems. Doing so provides opportunity to address small problems before they become big headaches. Old and torn plastic can, potentially, lead to big headaches.

Remember the goal

Plastic can only protect against moisture if it provides an effective barrier. Obviously, if there are tears the barrier has been compromised. Act quickly. Keeping moisture out of the crawl space isn’t just nice, it is necessary. Moisture leads to several problems including mold, poor air quality, odors, structural damage, and pest infestation. Unchecked, moisture problems can lead to costly home repairs and health problems like asthma, allergies and flu-like symptoms.

Check the condition of the plastic

You may be able to salvage heavy duty plastic with a few small tears using tape. Thin plastic or plastic with large or multiple tears should be removed. You should also try to remove plastic that is covered in mold. If removing the plastic isn’t possible, try cutting away as much as you can (especially if the old plastic bunches or gathers in places) before installing new poly.

Choose wisely

Install a polyvapor barrier that is appropriate for your crawl space. Higher traffic areas may need heavier poly (20 mil) to reduce the likelihood of tears going forward. If your budget allows, go ahead and spring for the highest quality materials you can. You will save yourself the trouble of more frequent re-do’s in the long run.

Install with care

Make sure the poly is spread flat with no wrinkles. Tape any seams and tape the poly to the wall or the Bora-Foam insulation on the crawlspace walls to insure a sealed moisture barrier.

It doesn’t sound like it should be a big deal but it is. Homeowners must control moisture in their crawlspaces to keep the home healthy and safe. Poly is a critical part of the plan because it protects against moisture that comes up from the ground (rising damp). Again, effectiveness is compromised with a vapor barrier that is torn or permeable. If it is time to replace old plastic in your crawl space, call on Crawlspace Depot. We have everything you need from poly vapor barriers to tape and fasteners. We have the expertise to get the answers and supplies you need.

Visit our catalog or contact us online.

Visiting the crawl space is no picnic but it is important to take these steps to improve the air quality in your home and protect the structure.

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