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Crawl Space Waterproofing Mistakes to Avoid

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crawl space waterproofing
crawl space waterproofing

For many homeowners, the crawl space is out of sight and out of mind. However, neglecting this crucial area can lead to a host of problems, from mold growth and wood rot to foundation issues that could threaten the structural integrity of your entire home. Waterproofing your crawl space is an essential step in protecting your property, but it’s fraught with potential pitfalls. In this article, we’ll explore common crawl space waterproofing mistakes homeowners make and how to avoid them, ensuring your home remains dry, safe, and secure. Whether you’re tackling home improvements yourself or planning to hire professionals, this guide is designed to arm you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about crawl space waterproofing.

The Crawl Space Is the Foundation of Your Home

Discover common crawl space waterproofing errors and how to avoid them. Ensure your home's foundation remains solid and moisture-free with our expert advice.

The crawl space supports the home above it and in order to remain structurally sound, it needs to be moisture-free. Unfortunately, many homeowners overlook the importance of crawl space waterproofing until they have a significant problem on their hands. Those problems could include anything from mold growth to a loss of structural integrity.

Why Water in the Crawl Space Is Such a Big Problem

Some homeowners have become so accustomed to having water in the crawl space that they consider it a regular part of owning a home. In reality, water in the crawl space should never be regarded as normal because it can lead to many problems.

Mold growth is one of the more insidious issues that could occur due to crawl space moisture. You may not see it, as you aren't in the crawl space often, but you may have a musty smell that alerts you to the problem.

Mold growth is one of the more insidious issues that could occur due to crawl space moisture. You may not see it, as you aren’t in the crawl space often, but you may have a musty smell that alerts you to the problem.

The biggest problem with mold growth is not the fact that it is in the crawl space. It’s that the mold will be in the rest of your home as well. Thanks to the stack effect, in which hot air exits through the roof and pulls air out of the crawl space to fill a vacuum, the mold will not stay contained in the crawl space.

Mold can be a real issue for individuals with respiratory problems and allergies. Remember that even a small amount of mold can impact your family’s health.

Crawl space moisture can also damage the wooden support structures in the crawl space. The support posts in the crawl space may settle as the ground gets soggy. As a result, the floor joists become uneven and are not as well supported, so the floor may sag or get bouncy. If you want to avoid the repair bill associated with this type of damage, keeping water out of the crawl space should be a priority.

One other issue, which is also associated with the stack effect, is the possibility of higher energy bills. It is estimated that 50% of the air in your home originates in the crawl space, so the moist air below increases the humidity in your living area. Humid air is more difficult to heat and cool, so you must contend with higher energy bills until the crawl space is waterproofed.

What Are the Biggest Mistakes in DIY Crawl Space Waterproofing?

Exposed Insulation: The insulation in the crawl space is a relatively vulnerable area. If it gets damp, it could lead to mold growth, and the insulation will not be nearly as effective. It’s essential to install the insulation properly and ensure it is protected.

No Sump Pump: A sump pump is essential to keeping the crawl space dry. It is installed in the sump pit and pumps the water from the crawl space to an area outside the home where it can drain away from the foundation properly.

No Sump Pump Battery Backup: Even if you have a sump pump, it is likely to go out in the event of a large storm that would knock out the power. Storms are typically when the sump pump is most needed because of the incoming water. The crawl space will likely flood without a sump pump battery backup.

No Water Alarm: It is unreasonable to expect that even a waterproof crawl space would be impervious to water damage. Unexpected issues, including plumbing problems, could lead to water in the crawl space, and it is essential to know that it is a problem quickly. A water alarm alerts you to water in the crawl space.

Improper Vapor Barrier Installation: A vapor barrier is vital in keeping the crawl space dry. Installing a vapor barrier is also why a professional should do the project. A vapor barrier is more than a waterproofing system. It controls the humidity in the crawl space as well. The vapor barrier should be installed with the seams overlapping and secured to the foundation appropriately.

No Downspout Extensions: The importance of downspout extensions cannot be underestimated. If water drains near the foundation walls, it can lead to the build-up of hydrostatic pressure. That pressure could crack the foundation walls over time, leading to water intrusion and other problems.

Crawl Space Waterproofing Done the Right Way

Crawl space encapsulation is also crucial in keeping the crawl space clean and dry. It is a sealing technique that lines the floors and walls with overlapping sheets of thick plastic. The plastic will keep the moisture out. It will also keep the air in the crawl space cleaner, so you will have cleaner air throughout the home.

Crawl space waterproofing done the right way means hiring a professional to get the job done. Here are the general steps involved:

The first step in a crawl space waterproofing job is to make any necessary repairs. The repairs may include fixing or replacing the support posts, beams, or joists.

There may be significant air leaks, cracks, and openings that need to be patched as well. These are handled in different ways, depending upon their source and location.

The insulation must be removed and replaced if it is wet and moldy. Replacing the insulation will also help to keep the rest of your home comfortable.

A drain tile system will be installed to divert any excess water in the soil or crawl space into a sump pit. Once water is in the sump pit, a sump pump can eject the water out and away from the foundation.

Crawl space encapsulation is also crucial in keeping the crawl space clean and dry. It is a sealing technique that lines the floors and walls with overlapping sheets of thick plastic. The plastic will keep the moisture out. It will also keep the air in the crawl space cleaner, so you will have cleaner air throughout the home.

If you’re considering crawl space waterproofing for your Chicagoland home, contact The Real Seal today to schedule a free evaluation and receive a waterproofing estimate.

WRITTEN BY

Austin Werner

Austin Werner is the Owner of The Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company. Austin believes that having a highly trained and happy team is the key to success. This is reflected through hundreds of 5 star customer reviews his company has received online.

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