Installing or not installing vapor barriers in a garage has been debated for a couple of years. Typically, DIY enthusiasts and homeowners are the ones who usually raise this question.
However, even several building professionals haven’t nailed this notion down. Many garages don’t require vapor barriers as the amount of vapor that spreads through ceilings, garage walls, and the floor isn’t sufficient to cause damp walls that may lead to moisture damages.
However, if you reside in a chilly climatic region like Alaska, installing a vapor barrier on the warmer side of the wall during winter is a good idea. Therefore, in this article, we’ll discuss vapor barriers and the advantages of installing one on your garage walls.
This guide to choosing the right vapor barrier for your garage also offers specific details on where you’re supposed to install them. But first, what are vapor barriers?
What is a Vapor Barrier?
It’s a waterproof plastic sheet mounted on the wall. A vapor barrier is mounted onto the warmer side of the wall’s insulation to stop dampness from penetrating the wall.
If water vapor enters the wall and insulation, the lagging features are lessened, and this gives room for malfunctions such as rot or dampness.
An aluminum foil or a heavy-gauge plastic sheet secured to your insulation sheets can be used as vapor barriers. Irrespective of the style or type of vapor barrier you select, you’ll need to comprehend why you need it, how to mount it well, and how it works.
You may be asking yourself, where should I mount vapor barriers in my garage? Well, keep reading to understand more about vapor barriers.
Do I Need a Vapor Barrier in My Garage?
Vapor barriers were once considered to be necessary for every home or office. Now they are strongly recommended only for certain climates, regions, and types of walls. Methods for creating a vapor barrier need to be tailored to fit the climate, region, and type of wall construction being used.
Vapor barriers are important in home garages found in humid climates. They help prevent moisture from entering walls and ceilings. But they can be different in different climates. Always consult local building codes for specific requirements.
When is a Vapor Barrier Necessary?
Vapor barriers are used to prevent moisture from escaping from walls and ceilings. They are also used to keep heat inside during cold weather.
There are two types of vapor barriers:
1. Waterproofing Vapor Barrier
2. Air Sealing Vapor Barrier
Waterproofing vapor barriers are typically used in areas where there is a lot of humidity, such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages, crawl spaces, attics, and sheds.
A vapor barrier is a layer of material placed between two surfaces to prevent moisture from passing between them. Vapor barriers can be used to protect against water damage, mold growth, and other problems caused by condensation. However, when is it necessary? Read on to find out.
If You Live in a Cold Climate
If you live in a cold-weather zone, it is important to install vapor barriers in your garage. They help prevent moisture from entering your house. Due to the large temperature difference between inside and outside, there is a high vapor diffusion rate through the walls. Over time, this could lead to moisture damage.
If You Have Repurposed Your Garage
Nowadays, garages are used for a variety of purposes, depending on the homeowner’s preferences. If you have converted a garage into a laundry room or a kitchen, bathroom, etc., it’s a very good idea to install a vapors barrier on the walls and ceiling of the garage.
Where are you Supposed to Install Vapor Barriers in your Garage?
Installing the vapor barrier at the wrong place on the wall of your garage will ruin its purpose. The wrong vapor barrier choice or improper placement may cause dampness in the wall components that you want to keep moisture out of.
The correct position of a vapor barrier largely relies on the climate:
- Chilly Climates: In zones that get chilly during winter, the vapor barrier should be mounted along with the wall’s inner surface studs.
- Warmer Climates: In regions that are warm and humid throughout the year, the vapor barrier should be installed along the outer side of the garage, underneath the claddings.
Apart from climate, installing a vapor barrier also depends on the purpose of the garage. Gone are the days when garages were only used to park cars. These days, the garage is used for numerous activities, based on the preference of the homeowner.
If you’ve transformed your garage into a bathroom, kitchen, living room, or laundry room, or into a room that produces a lot of dampness, mounting a vapor barrier on your garage ceiling or wall is a good idea.
What are the Benefits of Vapor Barriers?
Numerous benefits come with adding a vapor barrier to your garage wall that you need to know. Not only does a vapor barrier enhance the health of your garage, but in some ways, it’ll help improve your health and safety as well.
Here are several other benefits of installing vapor barriers.
Keeps Dampness Out
One of the advantages of installing vapor barriers is that they help keep dampness away from your garage. Moisture isn’t good for your garage and health also. Therefore, wicking it away is necessary as it’ll protect the entire garage.
Stops Structural Damage and Mold
If there’s a lot of moisture in your garage, mold growth is a usual problem. Mold, fungi, and mildew are more likely to grow if you haven’t installed a vapor barrier. It can be injurious to the air quality in your garage, and can also cause structural damage.
If your garage is made from wood, a lot of moisture and mold can damage it. A vapor barrier protects wood from damage, making it last longer.
Keeps Pests at Bay
The other benefit of installing a vapor barrier is that it assists in repelling pests from your garage and prevents them from entering.
Pests like rats stink bugs, carpenter ants, and termites like staying in a place with plenty of moisture and water. Curious pests like raccoons can also stray into your garage and find a way to enter your home. Unluckily, it’s easier for them to get in if you haven’t installed a vapor barrier.
If you install a vapor barrier on your garage wall, you’ll lessen the dampness in your garage. Your garage won’t attract pests that spread illnesses, lead to structural damage, or harm your family. A vapor barrier keeps dampness out, including insects and rodents.
Stops Corrosion and Rust
Vapor barriers also help in stopping rust and corrosion. If HVAC system components run in your garage walls, they may be at risk of corroding from excess dampness. Water may damage even the newest metal components fast.
If you install a vapor barrier, you’ll get rid of dampness and water that may cause rust to metallic parts in your garage walls. It’ll also lessen the need for early replacements and make metal items last longer.
By now you know if your garage wall needs a vapor barrier or not. You most likely have to install a vapor barrier if you’ve added insulation on the inner or the outer side of the walls.
Ensure that the vapor barrier is attached to the warmer side of the insulation. Also, make sure that all chasms are sealed properly. It ensures that no water vapor passes through the vapor barrier. This way, your walls, insulation, and timber battens will stay desiccated and healthy.
However, there are numerous builders out there who may not completely comprehend how crucial vapor barriers are. Or, even the need to ensure that they’re sealed well. Therefore, it’s up to you to ensure you tell them that you require one. As a customer, you should also make sure it’s attached well.