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Crawl Space Encapsulation
Don’t overlook the importance of your home’s crawl space. Encapsulation will prevent moisture damage, mold and pest infestations. ‘58 Foundations and Waterproofing implements custom, guaranteed solutions that will provide cleaner air for your home and save money on energy bills.
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First Remove the Water
Crawl space water problems can be solved by using proven waterproofing methods. Depending on your needs, 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 excess water or moisture is invading your crawl space. A specialized crawl space repair contractor, such as we are at ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing, will be able to determine these details during a crawl space inspection. When it comes to crawl space waterproofing, there are a few key elements typically involved.
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 moisture is leaking through your crawl space foundation walls and into the crawl space, the walls will require a heavy-duty plastic membrane. This membrane acts as a moisture barrier and will capture wall leakage, directing it into the drainage system. This prevents water from collecting on the crawl space floor, keeping your crawl space dry.
The ‘58 Crawl space Solution – Encapsulated And Climate Controlled
Crawl space encapsulation is sometimes referred to as “crawl space repair” or “crawl space sealing.” It’s easy to understand why these other terms are used.
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 your crawl space environment kept dry and unaffected by outside conditions.
An experienced crawl space encapsulation contractor should perform a thorough inspection of your crawl space and provide you with a detailed estimate for free before offering a crawl space encapsulation. 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 crawl space, including walls, joists, posts, and beams. If the main floor of the house has settled, or if the floor shows signs of unevenness, this can be due to inadequate structural support in the crawl space.
Before the encapsulation process can begin, ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing will suggest correcting such problems, usually be installing new posts or crawl space jacks.
At ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing, the 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 behind the vapor barrier and into the crawl space. We will also wrap concrete or block columns, sealing obvious air gaps to the outside with foam insulation.
This system will be largely hidden in your crawl space.
The drain lines are installed flush with your crawl space floor, right where the floor meets your crawl space foundation wall. These lines converge at a sump pit, a circular hole in the basement floor where a sump pump is installed. The sump pump is equipped with a float valve. Whenever the collected water in the sump pit reaches a preset level, the sump pump turns on automatically, pumping the water out and away from your home.
The reliability of this interior waterproofing system isn’t difficult to understand. While the exterior waterproofing system attempts to seal every leak and gap in the foundation—a nearly impossible task that does little to relieve hydrostatic pressure—the interior drain-and-sump system minimizes hydrostatic pressure by providing a drainage system to remove crawl space moisture.
Crawl Space Sump Pump
A crawl space sump pump is one of the most important components in a crawl space 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 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 maintain an airtight connection. Our crawl space sump pump systems discharge water out the side of the basin and up a discharge pipe at the wall—presenting a nice clean finish.
A sump pump can remain idle for days or weeks. But when wet weather arrives, the waterproofing system must be prepared to do its work. The drainage channel (also referred to as a French drain) installed along the crawl space perimeter walls will capture the water before it can reach the crawl space floor. This helps to reduce the water pressure that is sitting against the foundation. As water flows through the drainage system, the sump pit fills up and the sump pump expels the water to outside your home.
The bottom line with any sump pump is easy to understand: It pays to have a premium-quality sump pump with a no-nonsense warranty. This gives you the peace of mind that your crawl space waterproofing system will always function as it should.
To better ensure that your crawl space remains dry all the time, it is highly recommended that you consider a battery backup pumping system. This will provide extra protection against the unexpected, such as power outages. Ask our Foundations Specialists about our battery backup pump systems.
One of our Foundations Specialists will perform a thorough inspection and you’ll be asked some questions. This is to properly understand your home’s crawl space problems and to properly develop a solution for your crawl space’s moisture and water problems.
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 & Waterproofing specialist will recommend installing a crawl space dehumidifier.
Our crawl space dehumidifier is a heavy-duty commercial appliance that will dry out the moisture that has collected in your crawl space’s 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.
It’s not practical to run a crawl space dehumidifier if the crawl space hasn’t been properly sealed. If moisture is still leaking into the crawl space—through the crawl space foundation wall or floor surfaces—it will be difficult or impossible for a dehumidifier to keep the space dry.
The same is true if your crawl space vents remain open—these vents allow 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) before running a crawl space dehumidifier.
A crawl space encapsulation will put a stop to the sources of moisture in your crawl space, but any moisture remaining in your crawl space’s wooden structures and other porous materials will still be there. Running a crawl space dehumidifier is the best way to remove this moisture and keep the crawl space dry enough to discourage mold growth and protect your crawl space’s wooden structures.
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