Water in Crawl Space? [5 Expert Solutions]

March 8, 2023

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Never overlook water in a crawl space, whether that’s under a residential home or commercial structure. Wood framing absorbs that water easily, risking rotting, cracking, and mold. Additionally, excess moisture can damage plumbing pipes and electrical wires running through the space.

Above all, piers and beams in a crawl space also tend to absorb excess moisture. They can then crack, split, and chip, and allow that structure to sink and settle. For all these reasons and more, check out 5 expert solutions to excess water in a crawl space. Also, never hesitate to discuss your property with a foundation repair contractor near you as needed.

pipes affected by water damage

5 Expert Solutions to Water in a Crawl Space

A professional foundation repair and waterproofing contractor might recommend any of these expert solutions for your property’s crawl space. Also, some properties might benefit from a few of these solutions combined! Here are the most common ways contractors address damp crawl spaces:

1. Full-scale encapsulation

Encapsulation involves covering all the crawl space surfaces with thick plastic sheeting. This sheeting protects framing and other materials from absorbing water in that space. Also, sheeting keeps the ground along a crawl space dryer while repelling insects and rodents. Lastly, encapsulation creates a clean, dry space that’s easier to access and use for storage.

2. Vapor barrier

A vapor barrier is like encapsulation but only covers the ground. This barrier prevents moisture in the soil from evaporating into the space. While not as effective as encapsulation, a vapor barrier does offer excellent protection against water damage. Also, vapor barriers create a cleaner surface under you when you need to access the crawl space.

3. Dehumidifiers

To address overly humid air, a foundation waterproofing contractor can install a heavy-duty dehumidifier in your property’s crawl space. This equipment pulls moisture from the air and drains it away from the crawl space.

Dehumidifiers are excellent in tropical areas or those with lots of airborne moisture. They’re also an excellent solution in spaces without a lot of air circulation and which traps more humidity than usual.

4. Sump pumps

A sump pump collects water in a pit, installed at the lowest point in a crawl space. This equipment then pumps the water from that pit to a nearby drain or elsewhere. Sump pumps are a good choice for areas prone to flooding.

5. French drain installations

French drains consist of PVC pipes buried a few inches underground or embedded into the dirt and covered with gravel. Holes in these pipes collect moisture in the soil and the pipes then direct it away from a structure. French drains are useful in areas with overly moist soil or poor grading. They’re also affordable and virtually invisible!

waterproofing a crawl space

Is It Normal to Have Some Water in a Crawl Space?

The simple answer is yes, damp crawl spaces are normal. Most crawl spaces don’t have much ventilation or light that would allow them to dry out regularly. Also, remember that a crawl space’s dirt floor traps moisture. In turn, that moisture evaporates and gets caught in the space.

Additionally, clogged gutters can allow rain and melting snow to wash over their sides and collect around the crawl space. Improper soil grading encourages trapped moisture in the space as well. Without proper grading or sloping away from a structure, moisture in the soil runs toward the crawl space. Lastly, the more airborne humidity in your area, the more risk of water in a property’s crawl space.

How Do You Dry Out a Wet Crawl Space?

If you need to dry out a wet crawl space right away, bring in as much air circulation and light as possible. Remove skirting around the crawl space if possible, so air moves freely. Additionally, you might plug some fans into outdoor extension cords and place them in safe spots around the space.

Also, bring in as many outdoor lights as you can. This can include patio lanterns, flashlights, and battery-operated candles. Don’t use real candles or anything that’s a fire or electrical hazard! Moreover, it’s vital that you don’t leave electrical appliances such as lights or fans unattended. However, even small lights can help dry out that space quickly.

Additionally, to ensure proper moisture runoff, use a shovel to help slope dirt away from the crawl space. This is especially helpful if you need to address flooded areas. Even small trenches can help that excess water drain out of the crawl space and away from your structure. Lastly, you can rent sump pumps and other equipment designed to address flooded areas quickly and easily.

What Happens If You Don’t Remove Water in a Crawl Space?

Consider potential damage you might risk by not removing water in a crawl space in more detail. First, remember that a structure’s wood framing is typically left exposed in that space. Second, consider that plumbing pipes and electrical wiring often run underneath a structure, through the crawl space.

In turn, trapped moisture risks damage to all these materials and features. Wood framing absorbs moisture, eventually softening and cracking. This can lead to ruined joists and wall studs. Also, that moisture risks mold growth. Mold in the crawl space can then make its way into a structure’s interior spaces.

Wood piers and beams comprising a foundation also absorb that moisture. Consequently, they can also crack, split, chip, and then lean to one side or the other. This allows a structure to also sink or lean in one direction. This process risks cracks along walls and ceilings, cracked framing, and even roof and plumbing damage.

Lastly, note that a damaged crawl space can affect your structure’s property values! On the other hand, waterproofing and timely repairs protect your property from damage and protect its value as well. For all these reasons and more, property owners should never overlook the need for crawl space waterproofing.

Springfield Foundation Repair Experts is happy to help explain what to do about water in a crawl space. Feel free to check out our other blog entries for even more useful tips! Also, if you need expert services, call our Springfield foundation repair contractors. We offer FREE foundation inspections and fully guaranteed services. To find out more, contact us today.


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