Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Burlington Washington Home Inspection (King of the House): Missing Vapor Barrier

A key to reducing the chances of attracting wood destroying organisms includes having a vapor barrier down on the soil in the crawl space. Without such a barrier, the moisture in the soil evaporates up into the crawl space and even up into the interior of the home. That leads to the wood being moist and damp all the time. In my readings and many homes, this one in Burlington area, I find that the relative humidity reading are much higher in homes that do not have vapor barriers. High relative humidity is a conducive condition and a contributor to mold growth. Wood destroying organisms that are attracted to moist crawl spaces, in my region of the country, include two species of termites, carpenter ants, moisture ants, anobiid beetles and wood decay fungi or rot. The crawl space below needs to have a vapor barrier. Also, if the plastic needs to be held on place, to keep it from shifting, never use wood. Instead use rocks, concrete or bricks - material that is not appealing to wood destroying organisms.

Thank you for stopping by.

Steven L. Smith


Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 2 commentsSteven L. Smith • September 25 2007 01:44PM


Great post - vapor barriers are an issue in nc this is probably an item on 50% of all my inspections this past year.
Posted by Rebecca Savitski, NC Real Estate Listings (BSR Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago
Thanks Rebecca. Lots of people are not as aware of this being a problem as you are.
Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 11 years ago