What to do when Your Crawlspace Liner gets Damaged?


Covering crawlspaces with vapor barrier is the norm in today’s home with crawl spaces. With the plethora of benefits a vapor barrier offers, it isn’t a surprise to find the liners installed in most American households today. However, one important aspect that seems to put most people in a spot of bother is the question of when is it the right time to replace the liner after it has been damaged. The question has been troubling a lot of households and therefore with the help of the experts at Bay Crawlspace, we have prepared a guide to help you simplify the decision-making process of what to do with the damaged liner – repair it or replace it?

Identification of what is the cause of damage to the crawlway liner is central to deciding between either repairing it or replacing it. Repairing crawlway liner may be as easy as taping the loose ends or patching the few punctured areas in the barrier. Before getting out the tape to commence the process here is what you need to do:

Ascertaining the Crawlway Liner Material Compliance

The general industry standard material that is to be used in liner manufacturing is the ASTM E1745. This standard tests vapor retardants under different conditions to classify them based on their puncture resistance, tensile strength, and water vapor permeance. In case the material isn’t compliant with the standard then irrespective of the time and money you put into repairing the crawlway liner, you are sure to run into a problem with the barrier sooner or later. 

Crawl space liners should be classified as ‘Class I Vapor Retarder’ with a permeance of less than 0.1 perms. The best liners for crawl space vapor barriers are 12 mil, virgin resin plastic, with polyester cord reinforcement.

Carefully Clean and Inspect the Area to Identify the Problem 

If the material complies with the ASTM E1745 and Class I Vapor Retarder standards, then you need to clean and inspect the crawlspace are to evaluate the cause of the problem and then take the necessary steps. Here is a checklist of questions to help you with the process:

  • Is the crawlspace liner being damaged due to the movement of objects and materials or due to electrical and plumbing maintenance?

If the answer to this question is yes, then you may want to give up on repairing the liner and opt to replace it with a higher graded crawl space vapor barrier which has significant tensile strength and puncture resistance. In case you don’t wish to replace the liner, you can patch the scratches and puncture and then store objects with sharp edges safely away from the barrier to prevent any further damage to it. 

  • Are there loose seam in the liner?

The liner may have detached from the flooring because it was never properly secure. This can be fixed easily by using a water proofing tape or speciality stakes. However, you need to ensure the tape sticks to the liner you have installed. This requires careful application and the best quality waterproofing tape. 

  • Is the crawlway liner to cover 100% of the dirt ground?

The moisture from the earth is constantly releasing moisture vapors into the crawl space which is why the vapor barrier is necessary. Any gaps in the liner can allow excess moisture into the crawl space leading to a more humid crawl space and mold growth conditions. 100% of the dirt floor in a crawl space should be covered. If not, your home will likely experience some moisture issues.

  • Are there any traces of the presence of rodents or liner damage due to infestation?

Crawspaces are perfect hiding nests for rodents and other pests during winters. It is highly common that rodents may chew through foundation vents or tunnel underground to find shelter inside crawl spaces. If that is the case, conduct a thorough inspection around the perimeter where the liner has been installed especially in less visible places. Such damage can be repaired by patching tears. However, you will need to call an exterminator to get rid of the pests and rodents that may have housed there.

For the best results in eliminating an infestation in the crawl space, you should have a sealed crawl space encapsulation with all fiberglass floor insulation removed.

The three main reasons where we advise you to opt for replacing your crawl space is when it is damaged beyond repair or the vapor barrier is cheap and ineffective. Crawl space liners enhance the quality of air inside the house, provide resistance to future damages, and improve HVAC systems functioning. 

If you are looking for professional or ‘crawl space vapor barrier installers near me’ opinion on what needs to be done with your crawlway, call foundation repair company near you and let us help you out. We offer free inspections and quotes to empower our customers to make better decisions. Contact us today and let us help you make your home a safer, more comfortable adobe of happiness.