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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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Kudos to you for knowing about the condition of the plastic in your crawl space! Many homeowners avoid the underbelly of their homes because, let’s face it – crawl spaces aren’t pretty. So, you have plastic in your crawl space that is old and torn? Adding a new barrier is one way to make your crawl space more hospitable.

Go for better protection

Old and torn plastic has lost its efficacy; ignore it at your peril. The places that are torn do nothing to create a moisture barrier. That means you have no moisture control. In time, you’ll have some of the consequences of moisture. These include stale odors in the living areas of your home, warping of wood floors and pest problems. Insects and rodents love warm, moist conditions. Since relative humidity is a problem for homes in most areas of the country you’ll need to be proactive.

Two courses of action

Ideally, you would remove the torn plastic. In some cases, this isn’t practical, maybe because of time, money or labor. When you can’t remove the old plastic, you can go ahead and cover it. Just be sure it doesn’t lead to too much excess material for the replacement. When you install a vapor barrier that has wrinkles or raised portions it is more vulnerable to tears. What’s more, anyone visiting the crawl space is more likely to trip on the excess surface.

Consider durability

Especially if your crawl space is a high traffic area you will want to cover it with a vapor barrier of 10 to 20 mil. Higher thicknesses offer superior tear and puncture resistance. They are a little more expensive in the beginning, but will serve you well as a durable choice over the long-term. Vapor barriers are also available in thicknesses as low as 4 or 6 mil. Consider area traffic and long-term costs carefully with these options.

Moisture in crawl spaces must always be managed

Polyethylene vapor barriers provide effective protection from moisture that rises from the ground in your crawl space. Torn plastic means you have lost control of your moisture management plan. Crawlspace Depot has the tools you need to get a handle on the problem. We offer vapor barriers in a variety of thicknesses. When you visit our catalog you’ll also find Christmas tree fasteners and liner staples to help you securely attach the barrier to your wall liners or insulated boards. We have advice, too. Give us a call for help with moisture management in your crawl space. We can even talk with you about closing your crawl space when you’re ready.

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