Are vapor barriers still required in FHA appraisals?
I received a message this week from a reader who is selling their home with possible FHA financing. The real estate agent mentioned to the seller that they would probably need a vapor barrier installed underneath the house, but they weren’t sure. Let’s take a look at what a vapor barrier is and what the FHA rule is.
What is a vapor barrier?
A vapor barrier, in case you don’t know, is a sheet of plastic beneath the home in the crawl space area. It is used to reduce or prohibit moisture from getting into the house. This is what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says:
The crawl space must be adequately ventilated, providing positive airflow with no dead air space. A vapor barrier is not typically required; however, if moisture problems are evident, a vapor barrier should be required.
So, at the current time a vapor barrier is not required unless there are problems with moisture collecting beneath the house. Of course, if water is collecting, there may be some other problems such as inadequate drainage away from the house or possibly some other foundation issue that needs to be looked at.
Some potential problems that moisture can cause include mold, rotting of wood sub-floor, and termites. While not a current HUD requirement, a vapor barrier can help prevent these conditions from occurring.
Do you have another question about vapor barriers or any other HUD appraisal question? If so, leave your question below. If you would like to make a comment about something else feel free to, and as always thanks for reading.