Originally Posted By: dvalley
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As far as I know, there is no code that requires a polyethylene vapor barrier. It's just good building practice, as you said.
In Massachusetts, if this dirt floor is in a full basement, I always inform my client that the life expectancies of the mechanicals in this dirt area will be shortened greatly without a poured concrete floor or a vapor barrier. Dirt floors here are always moist. Everything tends to rust very rapidly, too include the internal parts of the SE panel. Also, if there are no signs of Powder Post Beetles in the beams, girders and posts, they got very lucky. 90% of dirt basements I inspect have these wood boring insects.
I see dirt crawls more than I do dirt basements. Even these crawls need attention. I always inform my client that dampness can ruin wood and cause structural problems and can also breed mold in living space if a (min. 5 or 6-mil) vapor barrier is not in place. Ventilation and insulation are also considered to be good building practice in crawl areas.
Massachusetts Certified Home Inspections
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