Moisture does not belong in any enclosed spaces in a home. No place is this more apparent than in a crawl space. While water can invade many parts of a house--attic, walls, basement, you name it...the crawlspace is the number one place where moisture might invade, because it has contact with the ground. In fact, it is the ground. Reliable Basement Services has repaired thousands of crawl spaces and basements, we can recommend a perfect solution for your crawl space.
The problem with a dirt or vented concrete crawlspace is that as warm air rises in your home, it brings up with it the air that was previously in your crawlspace, including moisture and mold spores, as well as anything else that may be airborne down there. Due to the "stack effect" or air being drawn up from the crawlspace into the home up to 40% of the air we breathe on the first floor of our home comes from the crawlspace. Crawlspace moisture leads to mold growth, musty odors, and structural damage. Insects and rodents love moist environments. Crawlspace moisture and the mold and mildew that thrive in this environment affect not only the floor system directly above, but also the entire house. To avoid moisture's negative affects, a crawlspace should be completely sealed and isolated from the ground and the humid outside air. The Crawlspace Encapsulation System by Reliable Basement Services involves installing a 16-mil barrier of polyethylene with polyestercord reinforcement on the dirt or concrete floor that is fastened to the walls. Then, in some homes, we look to introduce a heat source to the crawlspace to make it part of the conditioned space. Keeping your crawlspace at a temperature of 55° year round will make your 1st level floors comfortable to walk on. Lower energy bills, resulting from reduced crawlspace humidity, translate into comfort and savings year after year. The Healthy Crawl crawlspace vapor barrier is tough enough for service people to crawl on and safe enough for storage. Being bright white, our liner really brightens a crawlspace too, making it a relatively pleasant storage place.
To effectively insulate your crawlspace for energy efficiency and to create a comfortable home, you need to properly control moisture in your crawlspace. A crawlspace is susceptible to moisture and deterioration problems because of contact with the earth. The best approaches for preventing these problems will depend on the style of your home. However, the following are general guidelines for creating a dry foundation system. These guidelines apply to most crawl space designs.Keep all untreated wood materials away from the earth.Damp proof the below-grade portion of the foundation wall to prevent the wall from absorbing ground moisture by capillary action.Install drainage plane material or gravel against the foundation wall to relieve hydrostatic pressure and channel water to the foundation drain.Provide a foundation drainage system at the footing when the foundation floor (interior grade) is below the exterior grade. Surround the crawlspace with a perforated drain tile system and gravel, and pitch to a sealed sump pump system.Install 16-mil commercial grade reinforced vapor barrier across the crawl space floor to prevent soil moisture from migrating into the crawl space. Overlap and tape all seams by several inches. Seal completely up the crawl space walls.
If you're having a problem with your crawl space, you've come to the right place. At Reliable Basement Services, we specialize in crawl space problems of all types. Whatever your issue, we have the products and experience that you need to find the best solution. Crawl space repair will help you avoid unnecessary repairs, create a healthier living space, and save money on your utility bills. And once you've encapsulated your crawl space with a vapor barrier, you've gained valuable storage space in your home.
Because your crawl space is underneath the house, this space is at a high risk for water damage. It is a dark, often damp space that is easy susceptible to moisture buildup. This dampness can lead to mold, termites and other bugs, which then lead to an unhealthy environment for you and your family. This is why it is extremely important to waterproof your crawl space, including moisture barriers, to ensure it is completely sealed from outside elements.
Crawl space foundations are built into shallow holes dug out of primarily clay soils creating “clay bowls”. These “clay bowls” hold water much like a pond holds water. Even after the foundation is back filled, this bowl that the basement was built in will still hold water, because the back filled soil is much less dense than the untouched soil around it. Water percolates through the soil and saturates the area in the bowl, and around the foundation. The result: a wet basement and/or crawlspace. To prevent water from building around the foundation and getting into the crawl space, the builder installs a drainage system around the perimeter at the base, and seals the walls before back filling. However, sometime after construction, the water brings dissolved soil and sediment into the original drainage system and the drainage system begins to clog. Once this clogging process occurs, water builds around the foundation and hydrostatic pressure is created, forcing the water into the crawl space through weak points where the wall and floor meet, as well as through cracks in the walls and floor. Many crawl spaces have dirt floors. If water is building around the foundation, a dirt floor makes it even easier for water to move in. Muddy crawl space dirt floors easily allow excess moisture to move upwards into the floor joists, flooring, and insulation above.
Other forms of moisture penetration are much more difficult to see. Vapor Transmission is a process where water molecules move through masonry foundations from the exterior to the interior even in areas where air cannot penetrate! Also, warm, humid air moves into cooler crawl space environments in the summer. This warm air cools and shrinks. As this happens, the relative humidity rises, and water condenses onto cooler surfaces like cold water pipes, cold air returns, and foundation walls and floors. In the winter, warm air in the basement can condense onto cooler basement walls and floors. The moisture from groundwater seepage and saturated air is evaporated into the crawl space environment. Once the amount of moisture entering the crawl space exceeds the its ability to evaporate it, signs of moisture begin to accumulate on the walls and floor.
Most crawl spaces contain vents that were installed to allow air to circulate in and out of the crawl space. The unforeseen problem is that it is not always a good idea to circulate air in and out of the crawl space. Warm, humid air in the summer can create high humidity in the crawl space environment increasing the relative humidity. As the warm, moist air cools once inside the cooler crawl environment, condensation can occur. That moist air is absorbed by the wood and insulation above, creating conditions for basement mold growth and structural concerns.
Because the distance between a crawl space floor, dirt or concrete, and the ceiling (the flooring and joists of the first floor above) is much less than that of a full size basement, there is not as much cubic footage to allow evaporation. The best way to eliminate moisture problems and basement mold is to separate the crawl space from the flooring above by encapsulating the walls and floors of the crawl space with Healthy Crawl. Healthy Crawl is thick, tough liner (think of a swimming pool liner in white), that completely covers the crawl space walls and floors. Moisture is unable to penetrate the barrier, and therefore unable to reach the areas that can create problems. Vents in the crawl space are also covered and sealed to keep unwanted humid or cold air out of the crawl space. Now that the moisture from the ground below and the vents above are cut off, the relative humidity in the crawl space is maintained at a level below that at which basement mold can grow below 50% with the Healthy Crawl install a Santa Fe Dehumidifier System. This system will dry and clean up to 2500 square feet of crawl space, it is fully automatic no buckets to empty, contains a two stage air purification system, and in energy star rated!
If actual water seepage is present in the crawl space, additional measures need to be taken before the Healthy Crawl System is installed. A drain tile drainage system would be installed first. A draintile system is specifically designed to drain water from crawl spaces in one of 3 ways—either a perimeter system (in the case where there is a concrete floor), a drainage matt (where there is a level dirt floor), or “finger” drains (in cases where there is an uneven dirt floor). The idea is to drain the water to a sump basin where, where it is pumped out away from the crawl foundation automatically.
Exterior Excavation simply means wet basement and wet crawl space remediation by reinstalling the same drainage system that was originally put into place by the builder (this is not the same as a system of French drains). The exterior of the home is excavated all the way to the bottom of the wall. A new drainage system is installed to correct the wet basement or crawlspace. The walls are re-sealed, and the area is back filled.
Interior drain tile is a drainage system installed along the interior side of the wet basement or wet crawlspace footing. A 12” wide trench is excavated around the interior perimeter of the cawlspace floor alongside the crawlspace walls. A drainage system is installed in the trench and run to a perforated 4” PVC pipe and connected to a sump basin, with a sump pump or battery back up sump pump installed to discharge the water. Gravel is used to back fill the trench, and the area is re-cemented or backfilled. This method of waterproofing will correct many types of wet basement issues.
Multiple Drainage systems basically mean that a second, exterior surface drain or French Drain is added to the Interior Channel system described above. The exterior earth areas around the home are dug 18” to 36” deep. A drainage system is installed into the trench and run to a sloped grade, or attached to a storm drain. These exterior surface drainage systems are generally hand dug, so there is no need for heavy equipment. This method of waterproofing but will correct many types of wet basement and crawl space issues.
Crawl space is traditionally the most misunderstood part of your home. It encompasses many crucial building components of the foundation. A compromised crawl space endangers the structural integrity of the foundation system. Damage occurs when the environment is moist, exposing joists, sill plate, support beams, subfloor, piers, block foundation walls, etcetera, to undesirable temperatures and water vapor levels.
Groundwater levels differ according to the amount of rain and snow received. These fluctuating levels are the crux of crawl space moisture problems. If the groundwater level remains near the crawl space grade, water levels can range from complete flooding to smaller areas of standing water. However, crawl spaces can remain moist and damp without appearing muddy or wet due to a number of factors. The enclosed environment of the subsurface soil base, open-earth evaporation, elevation, topography, and exterior perimeter drainage, all contribute to the crawl space becoming very susceptible to mold, mildew, fungus, insect infestations, wildlife shelter, and other microorganisms.
Light bright storage space is made available for your valuables which will not be damaged by moisture. Prevent the growth of mold and mildew preventing unpleasant odors throughout the house Protect your homes framing from high levels of moisture which will destroy the very foundation of your homes framing.
HealthyCrawl Barrier System encapulates the entire crawl space not allowing moisture and gas to permeate through the concrete into your home. We do this using a white, 10-mil, triple ply, extrusion coated, virgin polyethylene membrane. It is manufactured using high-density fibers yielding the highest strength to weight ratio, tensile strength, tear resistance. bursting strength and puncture resistance of any product produced of it's kind. What this means for you is a long lasting durable solution to your crawlspace problem. HealthyCrawl Barrier System is white in color providing a very bright area to store your valuables in and it's easy to clean.
1. In the winter, a sealed crawlspace blocks out cold winter air. This air is then kept away from your hot water pipes, your water heater, your furnace, air ducts, and any other utilities kept below. It also stops cold air from making the floor above cold. 2. How air moves upwards in your home, passing out the roof and upper levels. In the summer, this means a vacuum is created on the lower levels, and some of the air is pulled up from the crawl space. If your crawl space is vented or allows in outside air, it will pull new air from the outside. Summer air is humid, and when it cools in the crawl space, its relative humidity rises.
How much does it cost to repair a crawl space? The price can range from as little as $300 to as much as $8,000, depending on the repairs the crawl space needs. The crawl space waterproofing cost will depend on the extent of foundation repairs needed, can be anywhere from a simple foundation crack repair, sump pump installation, interior drain tile system, crawl space encapsulation or even exterior drain tile systems. There are many crawl space contractors that figure out the problem and do the work for you. Be certain the company gives you a written assessment of the problem and how it will be fixed. There should be a written estimate for the cost, estimated start date and time, how long it will take to complete, and the length of warranty. Estimates can run from $300 to $8,000 depending on the work to be done, so get more than one. The cost of waterpoofing a crawl space or repairing a crawl space simply depends on the problem.