Understanding Moisture & Your Crawlspace

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If you have recently purchased a home with a crawlspace, you may be wondering if you should have it waterproofed. Knowing the signs of moisture issues in the crawlspace, as well as what can be done to solve the problem, is the first step in determining the best way to move forward when it comes to your crawlspace. Continue reading to learn more.

Signs of moisture issues

Knowing the following trouble symptoms is vital if your home has a crawlspace.

  • Damp or wet soil: For crawlspaces with a soil floor, there should be nearly no signs of moisture in the top few inches of the dirt. Enclosed floors should also be dry.
  • Insects: Insects and other tiny pests generally avoid crawlspaces because there is no food or water source. If you have an infestation, then there may be moisture in the crawlspace.
  • Interior floor damage: Sometimes the moisture evaporates quickly through the floor of your home, resulting in wood rot or moisture damage to the interior flooring. In this case, you need to address the moisture in the crawlspace before repairing the interior floor.

Types of moisture issues

There are two main types of moisture issues inside a crawlspace: condensation and flooding. Condensation can occur in an improperly sealed crawlspace where there is no outlet for humidity in the air to escape. Instead, the moisture simply collects inside the crawlspace until the area becomes soaked. Flooding is when moisture is seeping in from outside. This could be a seasonal problem, perhaps during rainfall or snowmelt, or it could be a year-round issue from runoff or a high water table near the home.

Solutions for moisture problems

There are several options when it comes to solving a moisture issue in your crawlspace. The solution will depend on the type of moisture problem as well as its severity. These solutions include:

  • Encapsulation: This is when the crawlspace is lined with plastic sheeting so that moisture doesn't seep in from outside. This is commonly used where ground moisture is the main concern.
  • Install automatic vents: Installing automatic vents to let moisture out is a common need, particularly in humid areas where encapsulation is also used. This way any condensation escapes quickly from beneath your home.
  • Install a dehumidifier: If vents aren't sufficient, a dehumidifier can be installed in the crawlspace.
  • Install a perimeter drain: The installation of a perimeter drain can solve moisture issues, particularly if they stem from rain or snow runoff near the home.
  • Install a sump pump: A sump pump is necessary for flood-prone areas or areas with a high water table. This pump ensures water won't collect under your home.

These are just a few options when it comes to your crawlspace. Contact local services such as Central Penn Waterproofing to learn more about what will work best for your home.