Q: You did an inspection for my clients in 2008.  They are selling it, and we just went through an inspection from their buyer.  There is clear plastic sheeting as the vapor barrier in the crawlspace and you had noted it as “satisfactory”.  Their inspector is telling them that it should be black 6 mil plastic.  Is there a code to be followed?  I wouldn’t think color would be an issue?

As always, your expert opinion is valued!


A: The early requirements for a vapor barrier in the crawlspace did not require black. We have learned, and the code changed, to require black to prevent organic growth under the plastic sheathing.

The home was built in the 80’s and the code requirement didn’t take effect, in most jurisdictions, until the mid 90’s. If the crawlspace doesn’t have high moisture issues, and is still dry, there is no need to change it out.

The clear plastic sheeting will continue to function well and perform its required and needed function, to prevent ground moisture from raising the crawlspace humidity level and migrating into the home.

It met the code at the time the home was constructed and if there are no new moisture problems it is fine and doesn’t require replacement.