Without installing a vapor barrier in your home, condensation takes place inside the walls. Condensation can ruin insulation. Additionally, it promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and mold.
Plastic, specifically a 6-mil polyethylene plastic, is the commonly utilized vapor barrier. So why use plastic as a vapor barrier? It has low permeability rating meaning that water in its liquid or gaseous state doesn't travel through it. Read on to learn more about using plastic sheets to prevent condensation in your home.
Warm air inside your home produces condensation inside the exterior walls. This is especially true when it comes into contact with the cool outside air. By installing a plastic vapor barrier, you'll be able to prevent the process of condensation from taking place on the exterior walls' internal surfaces. If condensation takes place, it'll be reabsorbed eventually into the ambient air of your home's interior. Ultimately, the wall components will not suffer from any form of damage.
In most cases, interior walls don't need a vapor barrier. However, in some situations, the barriers are highly recommended. For example, kitchen walls and interior bathrooms walls are some of the areas that would benefit from the installation of a vapor barrier. Kitchens and bathrooms produce vast amounts of water vapor every day. That explains why it's standard practice to paint walls in these two areas with some semi-gloss paint. Paint equally acts as a vapor barrier. A plastic vapor barrier behind a drywall protects the interior walls from water damage.
Standard Installation Practices
Purchase plastic in dimensions that restrict the number of seams between your plastic sheets. You must install the plastic sheeting strictly after insulation, plumbing and wiring have been completed.
Step 1: Stretch your plastic sheet across the wall. Use a hammer-tracker to staple it to the studs and plates. When stapling, work from the top plate across and down to the plate below.
Step 2: Staple the plastic on every stud and across every plate, after every 12-18 inches.
Note: Ensure you don't break the plastic when installing it. If you break it, you can do two things:
- Replace the whole plastic sheet for big holes, or
- Tape the tiny holes with a non-permeable plastic tape
Your home's walls do not have to be damaged because of condensation. The last thing you want is for your walls to emit mildew smells because of being rotten. You can protect them using plastic sheeting. Doing so ensures the walls remain strong and durable for years to come.