Studies show that most homes that have a basement experience some kind of water damage at one point in time. Only about 2% of all houses avoid this problem altogether. It is, therefore, not a safe bet to assume that your house will never have water damage. The problem usually starts small and grows into a serious issue if it is not addressed in time. However, with most homes bound to suffer from water damage, there are several solutions available to combat this issue.
Before we look at the available solutions, let’s define a crawl space. This is the hollow space between the first floor and the ground of a house. Not all houses have this space, but for those that do, the space is about 1 to 4 feet high. This is enough space for an adult to crawl through, thus the name.
How does moisture get in?
Does the air in your house stink or feel damp? Have you noticed a musty smell that comes from beneath the floors? Is your carpet damp or is the flooring buckling? Are your allergies worsening? If you said yes to any of these questions, here is one more question for you – when is the last time you inspected the condition of your crawl space? Most of the aforementioned problems may be caused by a moisture problem in the crawl space.
There are many ways moisture gets into the crawl space. Here are the leading causes of moisture problems in the crawl space.
- Moist air from outside gets in through the open vents
To combat the moisture problem, builders installed vents to the foundation. The vents helped keep the crawl space dry. While the solution was thought to be effective, recent research shows that vents that are added to a crawl space cause more harm than good. They permit hot, damp air to enter the crawl space as well as water. When the hot and humid air gets in the crawl space, it is cooled by the cold surfaces inside the crawl space like the dirt floors, water pipes, ducts and sill plates. This causes condensation, which, in turn, causes a moisture problem.
All the same, open vents are not all bad. They are quite beneficial in winter because they help keep the crawl space dry. On the downside, they cause immense heat loss, which leads to higher heating costs.
The best way to control the moisture levels in your crawl space is to shut off the crawl space vents to prevent moist outside air from getting in. Cover the crawl space walls and floors using a vapour barrier. This is because when the ground is damp after heavy rainfall, for example, the water evaporates upwards and into the crawlspace. This eventually causes a moisture problem in the crawlspace. Installing a vapour barrier on the exposed dirt will keep moisture from evaporating from the soil into the crawlspace. The barrier also keeps vapour from coming up from the concrete, dirt floors or foundation walls.
- When the water around the foundation gets into the crawl space
The moisture around the foundation may seep or leak into the crawlspace in many ways. It can penetrate below the footing, between the walls, through the block walls or cracks in the walls. When it gets in, the water will create puddles on the exposed dirt or vapour barrier. Over time, the water will evaporate and get in the air. This eventually causes the musty smell, rot and mould.
To prevent these issues, you need to drain your crawlspace better. Start by installing a sump pump as well as a perimeter draining channel. This will prevent water from puddling in the crawlspace. Repairing and cleaning the gutters will prevent water from pooling around the foundation. You should also consider extending the downspout so that water drains further away from the foundation.
- Improper slope of the ground around your home
If you are dealing with a major water problem in the crawlspace, the chances are that the sloping of the ground around your home is improper. If the ground is sloping towards the house, water will pool around the foundation and eventually seep into the crawl space. The ideal ground around a house should slope away at a grade of not less than 5%.
The solution here is simply to improve the slope of the ground around your house. The ground should allow water to move easily away from the foundation of your home.
- Leaky pipes
Another common cause of moisture problems in the crawl space is plumbing problems. Leaky pipes can form puddles on the floor of the crawlspace. This can cause wet fiberglass insulation. The high moisture level will cause mould problems, rots and even attract all manner of pests.
The solution to this issue is quite straightforward; you simply need to fix the leaky pipes. Check if there is water dripping into the crawlspace. You also need to inspect all the pipes to ensure no leaks. If you notice a problem or suspect there are leaky pipes in or around your house, call in a plumber for a thorough evaluation. The plumber will also be able to fix the leaky pipes.
As you can see, the moisture problem in the crawl space can be caused by several issues. It is imperative that you call in a professional for a thorough inspection. An experienced professional understands moisture problems and will recommend the best solution. At times, the recommended solution may be a tad unconventional, such as installing a dehumidifier or fan in the crawlspace to pump out the high moisture. Always listen to all the solutions before making your choice. You also need to get a professional with a good track record. This blog was provided by Direct Waterproofing – one of the most trusted and recommended waterproofing companies in Toronto. To learn more visit https://directwaterproofing.ca/.