The structural integrity of a home is dependent on its long-term upkeep, which can be maintained by waterproofing the basements and crawl spaces of the house. A clean and waterproof space leads to peace of mind and adds value to the property. If you are experiencing moisture in basements or crawl spaces, then do not feel alone because research shows that 95% of the buildings in the United States experience flooding or water-related issues. When the crawl spaces are not dealt with properly, it leads to issues including bad odor, mold, rot, pests, and unhealthy air quality. This blog will highlight aspects of crawl spaces, including symptoms and common techniques to get them waterproofed.
Does Crawl space exist in my house?
Crawl space waterproofing is one of the most common foundation types. It includes a 1 – 3 foot buffer zone between the soil and the ground floor. This space is left to provide easy access to the electrical, heating, and cooling systems of the building. This space is called crawl space because it is enough for a person to crawl in there but cannot stand. Crawl space comes with multiple advantages, such as keeping the home off the ground in damp climates. The entrance of the crawl space can be exterior or interior to your home. Its entry is often found in pantries or closets, which makes its maintenance quite easy as compared to slab foundations.
Symptoms of Crawl Space Waterproofing
Although the best time for crawl space waterproofing is during its construction, it can only be done at a later stage if you are experiencing any of the following issues:
- Moisture condensation on anything, including soil, metal, or water, in crawl space
- Mold and mildew
- Insect or rodent infestation
- The white substance on concrete or brick
- Rust on pipes and ductwork
- Standing water
- Musty odors
- A warped hardwood floor
- Rotten wood
Common Techniques for Crawl Space Waterproofing
The best thing about such a chaotic environment is that all these issues can be combated through different solutions, which are mentioned below. You can either use a single technique or a combination of techniques for crawlspace waterproofing according to the needs of your house:
1. Vapor Barriers
A vapor barrier consists of plastic or any other material that is resistant to moisture. Then, a layer of it should be installed on the floor to stop moisture from entering the ground. It will help make the space less attractive to pests. Make sure it is applied to the crawl space floor, walls, and vents as well.
2. Insulated Crawl Space Encapsulation
For extra protection, a thermally insulated layer of crawl space encapsulation is applied. This thick layer serves as a water barrier and is more durable. It has multiple other benefits as well, such as a warmer home in the winter without any heating system and reducing cooling bills in the summer by reducing humidity.
3. Sump Pump
This technique is mostly used at spots that are more inclined to flooding or where the water accumulates relatively more often. A sump pump is a small pump that is then installed to drain out all the water, leaving the space clean and moisture-free.
4. Replace Skirting
Skirting is basically a strip that covers the lowest part of the joining between the floor and wall surface. With time, it needs to be replaced as well; otherwise, this can serve as a gateway for small insects and rodents. Though skirting is crucial for enhancing the overall appearance of the house, it is equally essential for protection from bugs, insects, etc.
5. French Drains
French Drains is a technique that is installed in crawl spaces at the time of construction. Its sole purpose is to redirect the water away from the foundation, keeping the space protected from any potential damage.
6. Ventilation System
It is essential to install ventilation systems in crawl spaces, but use ventilation fans instead of vents because vents seem ineffective, leading to wet, damp, and dirty spaces. However, ventilation fans are energy-efficient resources that fulfill the objective in a budget-friendly manner.
7. Grade Sloping
The core purpose of grade sloping is to control the flow of water away from the structure. It helps prevent the accumulation of water around the foundation, which might lead to many issues, such as basement flooding, foundation damage, and space moisture problems.
8. Gutter Maintenance
Another way of directing water away from the foundation is to have well-maintained gutters and downspouts. It not only protects the foundation but also keeps water away from the crawl spaces of the building. Seasonal inspections should be performed to ensure that there are no clogs, sagging, or damaged sections.
9. Sealing Gaps and Cracks
This method of waterproofing not only keeps moisture and insects away from the crawl space but also helps ensure energy efficiency. The most used caulk or weather-stripping method is to seal all the gaps and cracks. These should not be installed once, but their maintenance is equally required after a certain period.
Excess moisture leads to numerous problems, such as mold, mildew, musty odors, dusty mites, etc. Dehumidifiers play an important role in this scenario by preserving indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%. It improves the air quality, which lowers the risk of respiratory diseases and shields your belongings as well.
11. Rat Slab
The rat slab technique is used to prevent the entry of rodents into crawl spaces. It is a concrete barrier that is installed around the perimeter of the crawl space. It ultimately contributes to the structural integrity of your building.
Moisture is something you don’t desire in your crawl space. Actually, small parts of it can provoke mold to grow, rot wood, negatively affect the air grade in your home, raise your power bills, and supply an ideal breeding ground for various types of creepy crawlies. Together, the protective measures from a comprehensive defense enhance structural durability, indoor air quality, and overall well-being while mitigating the risks associated with water and pests.