On average, heating and cooling account for 54 percent of a home’s annual utility bills. So, obviously homeowners look for ways to reduce energy costs. And basements are a common target for energy-saving retrofits because they are generally the most significant uninsulated space in a home.
One possible way to improve your basement’s energy efficiency is to install a vapor barrier. Since basements are prone to dampness and musty odors as they are below ground level and are often not well ventilated. A vapor barrier is a protective sheet of material, usually plastic, used to prevent moisture from passing through a floor or wall.
1) Prevents Moisture from Passing Through Floor or Wall
Moisture in the air can condense on a cold surface, such as your basement floor or walls. If this happens, it can lead to mold and mildew growth. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mold can cause several respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
A barrier stops moisture from passing through your floor or walls and into your home. Doing so helps to protect your health and keep your basement dry.
There are two vapor barriers: foil-faced kraft paper and polyethylene sheeting. Foil-faced kraft paper is often used with fiberglass insulation, while polyethylene sheeting is often used on its own.
2) Reduces Energy Costs By Improving Thermal Insulation
Thermal insulation is a process in which heat is contained within a space by preventing it from entering or escaping. You can reduce energy costs by keeping the heat inside your basement.
A vapor barrier helps to improve thermal insulation by preventing moisture from entering the space. It can also help to keep the space warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Read this guide: Do You Have to Insulate Basement Walls for a Truly Finished Space?
3) Eliminates Dampness and Musty Odors
If you wonder do I need a vapor barrier for my basement, the answer is likely yes, if you live in an area with high humidity. An excellent way to tell if your basement needs a vapor barrier is by the smell. If your basement smells musty, that signifies dampness and moisture.
R&S Basements offer custom basement finishing Alpharetta. Our team will come for a free inspection of your basement and offer the best tips for a complete makeover. A vapor barrier protects your basement from moisture, which can lead to problems like wood rot, mold growth, and foundation damage.