Levels Of Protection: Keeping Water Out Of Your Crawl Space

Construction & Contractors Blog

While many homeowners consider their basements to be usable parts of their homes, crawl spaces are much easier to ignore. Although your crawl space likely serves a vital role as your home's foundation and utility area, it can still be all too simple to allow problems to fester. As with any below-grade portion of your home, crawl spaces can be particularly vulnerable to damage from water.

Once water enters your crawl space, it can further damage the walls and floor. Excess moisture can also raise your crawl space's humidity level, eventually creating condensation that can even reach the ceiling. These conditions create a perfect environment for mold that can then spread throughout your home. If you want to keep water out, you'll need to consider investing in waterproofing.

Level 1: Sump Pumps and Dehumidifiers

The simplest (and often cheapest) way to protect a crawl space is with reactive equipment. In most cases, this means installing one or more sump pumps and dehumidifiers. Sump pumps work by allowing water to collect into a sump basin, where the pump can then transport it above ground and out of your home. Sump pumps don't stop water from getting in, but they can prevent more severe damage.

Along with sump pumps, dehumidifiers can help you to control moisture levels in your crawl space. If enough water is entering your crawl space and it is beginning to affect indoor air quality in other parts of your home, then a dehumidifier may be a good option.

Level 2: Exterior or Interior Perimeter Protection

Installing drainage around your crawl space is an additional option for more severe water problems. For interior drainage systems, your contractor will install pipes around the outer edge of your crawl space. These pipes collect water before it can cause too much harm and safely direct it to your sump basins.

Exterior drainage systems, such as French drains, are another option to prevent water intrusion. These systems are typically more expensive to install since they require landscape excavation. Exterior systems work by collecting soil moisture before it can reach the outer walls of your crawl space.

Level 3: Full Waterproofing

Unfortunately, pumps, dehumidifiers, and drains aren't always enough to stop a severe water intrusion problem. Dirt floor crawl spaces can be especially vulnerable to moisture, which can ultimately increase humidity and allow mold to take hold in the rest of your home. In these cases, installing a physical barrier is often the final step necessary to achieve complete waterproofing.

High-quality barriers installed by professional contractors can effectively seal off your crawl space, preventing any additional moisture from entering. Although this step may seem extreme, it can potentially save you from facing expensive water damage restoration work in the future.

For more information about crawl space waterproofing, contact a local contractor.

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