Crawl space foundations have always been popular because they’re easier and less expensive to construct than basement foundations. But these shallow foundations often develop major problems that are caused by excess moisture.
Not only does leaking water cause problems in crawl spaces, but higher humidity levels are caused by dirt floors, open vents, and other air leakages.
This high humidity creates ideal conditions for mold 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.
Let us reduce the moisture in your crawl space and make your entire home healthier with our ’58 Foundations crawl space encapsulation system.
Crawl Space Problems
Many crawl space problems occur because of the way a crawl space is built.
If the crawl space 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 crawl space. Moisture also enters the crawl space through porous concrete or block walls, and of course, moist air can enter through crawl space vents. The interaction between the crawl space and the outdoors leads to a number of problems:
A musty smell in a crawl space 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.
Insect and rodent pests
If a crawl space isn’t sealed from the exterior and has a high moisture content, it can become a haven for termites, ants, bees, and rodents.
Poor indoor air quality
Bad smells and microscopic airborne mold spores can make their way into your living space from the crawl space below. This is especially true if you have ductwork in the crawl space. High moisture content helps dust mites thrive as well as they absorb moisture from the air to live. The fecal matter of dust mites can become airborne and is a top cause of indoor allergens.
Do you have equipment in your crawl space like a water heater, ductwork, or furnace? If so, the high moisture content in the crawl space can cause rust and corrosion that damages these items and shortens their service life. Crawl space moisture will also degrade insulation that is 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 crawl spaces. They have concluded that, in the same conditions, sealed crawl spaces are not impacted by outdoor conditions to the extent of untreated crawl spaces. Because of this, the untreated crawl spaces are significantly more at risk to the above issues.
Crawl Space Solutions
To ensure that these issues do not persist, they must be treated properly. Below, find our solutions to these crawl space problems:
First, Remove the Water
Crawl space water problems can be solved using proven waterproofing methods. Crawl space waterproofing can be performed on its own, or it can be part of the crawl space encapsulation process. Either way, the waterproofing materials, and techniques are the same.
The first step in any crawl space waterproofing project is to identify where and how water is coming into the crawlspace. A specialized crawl space repair contractor, such as one of our experts at ’58 Foundations, will be able to determine these details during a crawl space 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) around the inside of the crawl space foundation. This drainage system captures water that leaks into the crawl space and drains it to a sump pit, where a crawl space sump pump is installed. The sump pump comes on automatically when water in the sump pit reaches a predetermined level, discharging the water to the exterior of the house.
If the crawl space foundation walls are leaking into the crawl space, 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 crawl space floor.
If you have water in your crawl space, call or contact us online for a free crawl space waterproofing price quote.
Encapsulate the Crawl Space
Crawl space encapsulation is sometimes referred to as “crawl space repair” or “crawl space sealing”. Crawl space problems, such as groundwater leaks or leakage through crawl space walls, call for repairs to be made as part of the encapsulation process. The word “sealing” describes the process used to seal out moisture and outside air, so that the crawl space environment isn’t affected by exterior conditions.
An experienced crawl space encapsulation contractor should inspect your crawl space and provide you with a free estimate to complete the encapsulation process. At ’58 Foundations, 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 crawl space. 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, which can be due to inadequate structural support in the crawl space.
Before the encapsulation process can begin, ’58 Foundations will suggest correcting such problems, usually by installing new posts or crawl space jacks.
’58 Foundations’ crawl space encapsulation process involves sealing all crawl space vents to keep moisture out, and then sealing the floor and walls 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. We then caulk around the top edge to prevent moisture from rising up behind the vapor barrier and into the crawl space. We will also wrap concrete or block columns and seal obvious air gaps to the outside with foam insulation.
Crawl Space Sump Pump
A crawl space 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 crawl space sump pump can be installed as part of our crawl space 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 crawl space perimeter walls captures water before it can reach the crawl space 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 crawl space waterproofing system will always function as it should.
Lastly, if keeping your crawl space dry all the time is important to you, a battery backup pumping system should be important to you as well. Ask our foundation specialist about our battery backup pump systems.
Call or contact us online today for a free crawl space repair inspection and price estimate.
Controlling moisture with a crawl space dehumidifier
If your crawl space has had moisture problems for an extended period of time, or if mold is found during a crawl space inspection, your ’58 Foundations’ specialist will recommend installing a crawl space 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 crawl space 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 crawl space is encapsulated, the moisture sources mentioned above are eliminated, but moisture remains in the wood and in other porous materials. Running a crawl space dehumidifier is the best way to remove this moisture and keep the crawl space dry enough to discourage mold growth.
It’s not practical to run a crawlspace dehumidifier if the crawl space hasn’t been properly sealed. If moisture is still leaking into the crawl space, 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 moist outside air to enter the crawl space. To effectively dry out a crawl space and keep it that way, the crawl space should be sealed (encapsulated), prior to running a crawl space dehumidifier.
The cost of crawl space repair
On average, the cost of crawl space repair is about anywhere between $7,500 to $30,000, but the cost truly depends on the situation and severity of the crawl space condition. Our free crawl space repair estimate will include an itemized breakdown of all the repairs and improvements that need to be done. Crawl space waterproofing costs depend largely on the linear feet of drain lines that need to be installed, plus the cost of installing a sump pit and sump pump. Our crawl space encapsulation system is priced based on square feet, and number of vents and columns. The cost of our specially designed crawl space dehumidifier will depend on cubic feet to determine the size and model needed.
Trust ‘58 Foundations for Your Crawl Space Encapsulation Needs
At ‘58 Foundations, we’ve been experts in crawl space encapsulation for more than 60 years. By sealing all crawl space vents and air gaps with foam insulation, and then sealing your floor, walls, and columns with a 20-millimeter-thick vapor barrier, you can rest assured your crawl space will remain moisture-free.
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.
Revamp your entire crawl space and contact ‘58 Foundations today for expert encapsulation services.
Questions? Check out our frequently asked questions for more information.