The right tape is crucial for crawl space vapor barrier installation. Encapsulating a crawl space requires 2-sided butyl tape and vapor tape for seaming panels. In this blog, we cover why you need a vapor barrier and which vapor tape to use.
Why Do I Need a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier?
Crawl space vapor barriers come with many benefits. Sealing the crawl space of a home or building keeps ground moisture from rising through the foundation, preventing mold, rot, and pest animal infestation. Encapsulating a crawl space can control the air quality and regulate the temperature inside a home or building, reducing humidity and saving energy.
Vapor barriers should overlap a minimum of 6 inches. You should seal the vapor barrier around the perimeter of the crawl space and where the vapor barrier overlaps with another panel. You should also seal around the foundation support columns or pillars. When a crawl space vapor barrier is not properly sealed it can lead to pests and moisture migrating into your living space.
What Tapes Do I Use With My Vapor Barrier to Encapsulate My Crawl Space?
Having the right tape is crucial to crawl space vapor barrier installation. If the tape fails, the encapsulation fails as well. Crawl space encapsulation requires two different tapes: a double-sided waterproof sealing tape and a tape to seam panels together. The application surface should be clean and dry before applying the tapes.
2-Sided Butyl Tape: This industrial-strength, two-sided tape is used to create a waterproof, airproof seal around the perimeter of your crawl space.
Vapor Tape — After the panels are secured to the application surface, single-sided vapor tape seams the panels to each other, creating a water-resistant seal.
Additional Materials to Encapsulate Your Crawl Space
Additional materials that you will need, besides tape and the vapor barrier itself, are a masonry drill, a mallet, and Christmas tree ratchet fasteners designed to be installed through the butyl tape so it self-heals around the fastener to create an airtight seal.
Installing a vapor barrier in a crawl space is easier with two people, so enlist the help of a partner.
What is the Best Polyethylene Sheeting for Crawl Space Vapor Barriers?
The best crawl space vapor barriers will have a low permeability to prevent water vapor from passing through and entering your living space. If you anticipate using your crawl space for storage or the ground conditions are rocky, the vapor barrier will need to be thick enough to resist puncture damage.
Our top-selling vapor barriers for crawl space encapsulation are string-reinforced because the scrim makes the plastic sheeting resilient, but lightweight. Some recommended Americover Vapor Barriers include:
- 20 mil Dura Skrim® Reinforced Plastic Sheeting
- 10 mil Pro Crawl Barrier
- 10 mil Pro Crawl Anti-Mold Vapor Barrier with MPT™
- 12 mil White/Black Dura-Skrim® Reinforced Plastic Sheeting
- 8 mil White/Black Dura-Skrim® Reinforced Plastic Sheeting
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