Crawl Space Waterproofing

Many homes built on crawl space foundations in the United States suffer from poor moisture management. The current trend of striving for a healthy home is damaged by crawl space moisture. Some of the common symptoms of a crawl space moisture problem are:

  • Mold or moisture damage in the crawl space
  • Musty odors in the living area
  • Condensation on air conditioning ductwork or equipment
  • Condensation on insulation, water pipes
  • Buckled hardwood floors
  • High humidity in the living area
  • Insect infestations
  • Rot in wooden framing

These symptoms are most often noticed in the humid spring and summer seasons but can occur at any time of the year. Often, the heating and air conditioning contractor is the first person the residents call to deal with the problem. Typically though, the problem is not due to a failure of the air conditioning system; it results from poor moisture control in the crawl space and can be solved by waterproofing contractors.

For many decades, building codes and conventional wisdom have prescribed ventilation with outside air as the primary method of moisture control in crawl spaces. In the humid Spring and Summer, however, ventilation with outside air only makes moisture problems worse. Recent research indicates that a new type of crawl space system, with NO vents to the outside, water drainage and a heavy ground vapor barrier can provide greatly improved moisture control and significant energy savings when properly installed.

Crawl Space Solutions

CrawlShieldCrawl space vapor barriers are the first line of defense against high humidity and poor indoor air quality. These poly crawlspace encapsulation barriers are 10 to 20 mil thick, puncture resistant and made of a high tensile strength material that stops soil moisture from entering the space from the soil. When installed by professional waterproofing contractors, these swimming pool type liners encapsulate the crawlspace so that moisture cannot attack exposed wood and create mold and mildew.

These same crawl space vapor barriers can be used on the basement walls to prevent water and moisture permeation through the wall. By continuing the vapor barrier from the ground to up the foundation walls you will create a permanent vapor barrier against most water and water vapor, creating a healthier home environment.

Once the crawl space vapor barriers are in place, the next action is to stop water infiltration through the below grade foundation walls. This is accomplished by excavating the exterior foundation and sealing the below grade walls with polymer membrane coating and dimple board. This will stop water from being wicked from the exterior soil into the crawl space. This waterproofing will also direct water down to an installed interior or exterior French drain tile system that can drain to either a sump pump or to daylight away from the foundation.

The final step to waterproofing your crawl space is to seal or close in your crawl space. Crawl space sealing prevents the humid outside air from settling in the space creating condensation and promoting mold growth. There have been many studies done proving that a sealed crawl space creates a healthier and more energy efficient home due to the elimination of humidity fluctuations.

RH Thresold Vented Sealed
Above 90% 0% 0%
Above 80% 39% 0%
Above 70% 79% 0%
Above 60% 94% 0%
Above 50% 100% 100%
Study by Advanced Energy

The table above shows that a well sealed crawl space can maintain lower humidity levels in the crawlspace due to the fact that the outside, humid, air cannot infiltrate the crawl space, thus creating a healthier home.

Contact a waterproofing contractor today to make your crawl space drier and improve your indoor air quality.

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