A popular DIY (do-it-yourself) home project is the installation of a crawl space barrier. Barriers are sometimes installed in the crawl space when the house is built, but other times the crawl space is left with no protection. Crawl space barriers provide protection against water vapor, which leads to mold growth and can cause rusting and structural damage. If you are one of those people who is choosing to install a barrier themselves instead of getting a contractor to do it, then you might be wondering what tools and what materials you need to get the job done.
What tools you should get beforehand
If you are tackling a project as complex as installing a crawl space barrier, then chances are you probably already have most of the tools necessary to do the job, but just in case, you should make sure you have the following supplies before starting:
- A quality utility knife or a multi-tool (if you want, you can also try using a good pair of utility shears).
- A very good power drill.
- Seal tape (you’re probably thinking that regular duct tape is good enough, but for this job, you really need specialty tape that won’t stop working if it comes into contact with water).
- Measuring tape (almost everyone probably has measuring tape lying around, but it is worth mentioning anyways).
- Foundation pins (pins are the best way to make keep the barrier attached to the foundation, as tape is unreliable).
- Fabric pegs (these are useful for keeping the barrier material stuck to the ground)
Choosing your material
Once you get all the tools together, you can start planning what kind of plastic you want to use in your crawl space barrier. You want to make sure you get a high-quality plastic; lower quality plastic just degrades far too quickly. You should also pay attention to a material’s “perm rating,” which refers to a material’s vapor permeability. Materials with low perm ratings do the best job at protecting your crawl space from water vapor.
You also need to determine how thick the plastic needs to be (your choices generally range from 8mm to 20mm). If you don’t know how thick the plastic needs to be, there are three factors that you should consider. Firstly, how much water vapor is there in the air? If there is a lot, then you should go for the thicker plastic, as it will do a better job of protecting your crawl space. Secondly, consider what your crawl space floor is made of. If it is a rough material, like dirt, then you are going to want to use thicker plastic to protect against tearing. Finally, consider what is actually in your crawl space. If you have wiring or ductwork in your crawl space, then chances are someone will eventually have to service those. If people are going to be moving around on top of your plastic barrier, then you need to get a thicker plastic to prevent possible tears.