Crawlspace foundations have always been popular because they’re easier and less expensive to construct than basement foundations. But though crawlspaces were designed to act as buffers between homes and the moist soil beneath, they don’t quite work as intended. In fact, these shallow foundations often develop major problems caused by excess moisture. Along with water seepage in a crawlspace, outside moisture is able to freely enter a crawlspace through its dirt floors, open vents, and other air leakages. Fortunately, there’s crawlspace encapsulation and crawlspace waterproofing that can protect your crawlspace from the effects of excess moisture and groundwater intrusion.
Let us reduce the moisture in your crawlspace and make your entire home healthier with our ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing crawlspace encapsulation system.
Many crawlspace problems occur because of the way a crawlspace is built. If the crawlspace has a dirt floor or a thin layer of concrete poured over the dirt, moisture from the soil can easily make its way into the crawlspace. Moisture also enters the crawlspace through porous concrete or block walls, and of course, moist air can enter through crawlspace vents.
A leaky, damp, and humid crawlspace creates ideal conditions for mold, mildew, and wood rot. With mold comes foul musty smells that can leak up into your living space, while also producing airborne spores that may be hazardous to breathe. Left untreated, mold can develop into wood rot that damages the structural supports and flooring system. This is why some homes have bouncy floors and cupped or warped hardwood.
The interaction between the crawlspace and the outdoors leads to a number of problems:
A musty smell in a crawlspace is a sure sign of mold. Many people are allergic to mold; it can also lead to the degradation of building materials and cause structural damage due to wood rot. A common sign of damage is a sagging floor. Mold can be a serious problem, and a significant buildup of mold will result in a need for a sagging floor repair.
Insects and Rodent Pests
If a crawlspace isn’t sealed from the exterior and has a high moisture content, it can become a haven for small pests and critters including…
- Dust mites
- Rats and mice
Many of these kinds of pests can cause damage to your home. Ants and termites may tunnel into your wooden support structures as they build their colonies. Other insects such as stink bugs and centipedes may move into your crawlspace because of the elevated presence of moisture. Meanwhile, rodents like rats and mice may use anything from crawlspace insulation to random debris to build their nests.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
Bad smells and microscopic airborne mold spores can make their way into your living space from the crawlspace below. This is especially true if you have ductwork in the crawlspace.
High moisture content helps dust mites thrive since they require a certain level of moisture to survive. The fecal matter of dust mites can become airborne and is a top cause of indoor allergens.
High humidity levels in the crawlspace can also lead to your living space feeling muggy and stuffy as that crawlspace air flows up into your living space. This upward movement of crawlspace air is due to what’s called the “Stack Effect”. This humid air can also place a strain on your heating and cooling systems, resulting in high utility bills.
During the summer and winter seasons, drafts of hot or chilly air can flow into your crawlspace, directly impacting the temperature of your home and further taxing your heating and cooling systems.
Do you have equipment in your crawlspace like a water heater, ductwork, or furnace? If so, the high moisture content in the crawlspace can cause rust and corrosion to these items, shortening their service life. Crawlspace moisture will also degrade insulation installed between crawlspace floor joists.
Air with higher moisture content is more difficult, and thus more costly, to heat or cool.
A study done by Advanced Energy shows the detrimental impact of vented or unsealed crawlspaces. They found that sealed crawlspaces are not impacted by outdoor conditions to the extent of untreated crawlspaces. Because of this, the untreated crawlspaces are significantly more at risk to the above issues.
To ensure that these issues do not persist, they must be treated properly. Below, find our solutions to these crawlspace problems:
First, Remove the Water
Crawlspace water problems can be solved using proven waterproofing methods. Crawlspace waterproofing can be performed on its own, or it can be part of the crawlspace encapsulation process. Either way, the waterproofing materials, and techniques are the same.
The first step in any crawlspace waterproofing project is to identify where and how water is coming into the crawlspace. A specialized crawlspace repair contractor, such as one of our experts at ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing, will be able to determine these details during a crawlspace inspection. The most common waterproofing strategy involves a few key elements.
In most cases, the contractor will install an interior drainage channel (often referred to as a French drain system). These drainage channels are installed along the inside perimeter of the crawlspace foundation. The drainage channels work to capture water that leaks into the crawlspace, draining it to a sump pit. There, a crawlspace sump pump will be installed to discharge the water to the exterior of the house.
If the crawlspace foundation walls are experiencing water seepage, it’s also necessary to cover the walls with a heavy-duty plastic membrane. This membrane, which will also act as a moisture barrier, will capture wall leakage and direct it into the drainage system. This system will prevent water from collecting on the crawlspace floor.
If you have water seepage or flooding in your crawlspace, call or contact us online for a free crawlspace waterproofing price quote.
Encapsulate the Crawlspace
Crawlspace encapsulation is sometimes referred to as “crawlspace repair” or “crawlspace sealing”. Crawlspace problems, such as groundwater leaks or leakage through crawlspace walls, would require repairs as part of the encapsulation process. The word “sealing” describes the process used to seal out moisture and outside air. This helps ensure that the crawlspace environment isn’t affected by exterior conditions.
An experienced crawlspace encapsulation contractor should inspect your crawlspace and provide you with a free estimate to complete the encapsulation process. At ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing, if you own the home or building, we will do a free inspection and price estimate.
One of the details that an inspection will reveal is the structural integrity of your crawlspace. This includes walls, joists, posts, and beams. This inspection will also tell you if the main floor of the house has settled, or if the floor shows signs of unevenness. These can be problem signs of inadequate structural support in the crawlspace. Before the encapsulation process can begin, ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing will suggest correcting such problems. These can be solved usually by installing new posts or crawlspace jacks.
For ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing, our crawlspace encapsulation process involves sealing the floor, walls, and support beams with a 20-mil thick vapor barrier that is nearly impervious to rips or tears. We mechanically fasten our liners to the walls to keep them firmly in place. The top edges are then caulked to prevent moisture from rising up behind the vapor barrier and into the crawlspace. We will also wrap concrete or block columns and seal obvious air gaps to the outside with foam insulation.
Crawlspace Sump Pump
A crawlspace sump pump is one of the most important components in a crawlspace waterproofing system. The sump pump is installed in the sump pit that serves as the collection point for an interior drainage system.
A ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing crawlspace sump pump can be installed as part of our crawlspace encapsulation system. In this case, the 20-mil liner is tucked into the sump lid to make as air-tight a connection as possible. Our crawlspace sump pump systems discharge water out the side of the basin and up a pipe at the wall to keep a nice clean finish.
A sump pump can remain idle for days or weeks. But when wet weather arrives, the waterproofing system needs to do its work. The drainage channel (also referred to as a French drain) installed along the crawlspace perimeter walls captures water before it can reach the crawlspace floor. This helps to reduce the water pressure that bears against the foundation. As water flows through the drainage system, the sump pit fills up and the sump pump expels the water to the exterior.
It pays to have a premium-quality sump pump with a no-nonsense warranty. This gives you the confidence that your crawlspace waterproofing system will always function as it should.
Lastly, if keeping your crawlspace dry all the time is important to you, a battery backup pumping system should be important to you as well. Ask our crawlspace experts about our battery backup pump systems.
Call or contact us online today for a free crawlspace repair inspection and price estimate.
Controlling Moisture with a Crawlspace Dehumidifier
If your crawlspace has had moisture problems for an extended period of time, or if mold is found during a crawlspace inspection, your ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing specialist will recommend installing a crawlspace dehumidifier.
Our crawlspace dehumidifier is a heavy-duty commercial appliance that will dry out the moisture that has collected in wood framing (joists, subflooring, posts) and other porous materials, stopping further rot and mold growth. This type of dehumidifier is equipped with a humidistat that enables you to set a target level of dryness in the crawlspace air. Once this level is reached, the unit turns off automatically. Connecting the dehumidifier to the drainage system, or a condensation pump, eliminates the need to empty the appliance.
When a crawlspace is encapsulated, the moisture sources mentioned above are eliminated. But moisture can potentially remain in the wood and in other porous materials. Running a crawlspace dehumidifier is the best way to remove this moisture and keep the crawlspace dry. This can help discourage mold growth, wood rot, and pests that require moisture to live such as termites.
It’s not practical to run a crawlspace dehumidifier if the crawlspace hasn’t been properly sealed. If moisture is still leaking into the crawlspace, through wall or floor surfaces, it will be difficult or impossible for a dehumidifier to keep the space dry. The same is true if vents remain open, allowing outside moisture to enter the crawlspace. To effectively maintain a dry crawlspace, the crawlspace should be sealed (encapsulated), prior to running a crawlspace dehumidifier.
The Cost of Crawlspace Repair
On average, the cost of crawlspace repair is about anywhere between $1,500 to $15,000, but the cost truly depends on the situation and severity of the crawlspace condition. Our free crawlspace repair estimate will include an itemized breakdown of all the repairs and improvements required. Crawlspace waterproofing costs depend on a variety of factors. These factors include the linear feet of drain lines needed and installing a sump pit and sump pump. Our crawlspace encapsulation system is priced based on square feet, and number of vents and columns. The cost of our specially designed crawlspace dehumidifier will depend on cubic feet to determine the size and model needed.
Trust ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing for Your Crawlspace Encapsulation Needs
At ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing, we’ve been experts in crawlspace encapsulation for more than 64 years. By sealing all crawlspace vents and air gaps with foam insulation, and then sealing your floor, walls, and columns with a vapor barrier, you can rest assured your crawlspace will remain moisture-free. We use quality products designed to provide long-lasting protection for your crawlspace. From 20-mil thick vapor barriers to our own Energy-Star Rated HumidiGuard crawlspace dehumidifier, you’ll have a comprehensive crawlspace encapsulation solution when you lean on ’58!
Additionally, if you are looking at options for waterproofing your basement, our waterproofing system is a perfect solution for you. We install perimeter drain lines right where your floor meets the basement walls, making the system largely hidden. These lines are then directed to a sump pit where a sump pump is installed.
Protect your crawlspace and home with the crawlspace expertise of ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing! Contact us today to schedule for a free inspection and to receive a detailed estimate!
We have local offices all throughout the Eastern Seaboard! Whether you live near Chattanooga, TN, Baltimore, MD, or Marietta, GA, you can always count on ’58 to keep your crawlspace safe from moisture problems!
Questions? Check out our frequently asked questions for more information.