You shouldn’t have moisture in the enclosed spaces of your home. Moisture is especially damaging in a crawl space, but it’s also especially common there because it is in the ground. Reliable Basement Services has provided thousands of residents all over Chicago with crawl space drainage solutions.
When you have a dirt or vented concrete crawl space, as warm air rises in your home, so does the air that was previously in the crawl space. This includes moisture, mold spores, and anything else airborne from the crawl space. Up to 40% of the air you breathe on the first floor of your home comes from the crawl space! Crawl space moisture causes mold growth, musty odors, and structural damage. Because insect and rodents love moist environments, a moist crawl space will attract vermin.
The moisture and mold that are growing in your crawl space won’t just affect the floor system that is directly above it, but the rest of your house as well. To protect your home from the negative effects of moisture, you’ll need to completely seal your crawl space and isolate it from the ground and the human air outside.
When you use the Crawl Space Encapsulation System from Reliable Basement Services, we will install a 16-millimeter barrier of polyethylene with polyester cord reinforcement on the dirt or concrete floor that is fastened to the walls. In some homes, we introduce a heat source to make the crawl space part of the air-conditioned space. If you keep your crawl space at 55 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, the first floor of your home will be much more comfortable. This will cause reduced crawl space humidity, which means your energy bills will decrease. You’ll save big year after year!
Our HealthyCrawl Crawl Space Vapor Barrier is tough enough for service people to crawl on and safe enough for your storage. Because it’s bright white, these liners will brighten your crawl space, making it a more pleasant crawl space storage system.
If you properly control the moisture in your crawl space, your crawl space will be effectively insulated for energy efficiency and your home will be more comfortable. The best way to prevent moisture in your crawl space will depend on what type of home you have. However, there are many practices and crawl space drainage solutions that will help you no matter what. Here are some guidelines that will work for most crawl space designs.
If you’re wondering if your crawl space has a problem, here are some clues to look for:
If you’re experiencing one of these problems, you’ve come to the right place! Reliable Basement Services specializes in crawl space drainage solutions and crawl space problems of all types. Whatever your issue is, we have the products, experience, and skills to solve it! When your crawl space is repaired, you’ll avoid other unnecessary repairs, create a healthier living space, and save money on your utility bills. Once you’ve encapsulated your crawl space with a vapor barrier, you’ll gain a valuable crawl space storage system.
Because your crawl space is underneath your house, it is at a high risk for water damage. Crawl spaces are dark, usually damp areas that are easily susceptible to moisture buildup. This dampness can lead to mold, termites, and other bugs, which creates an unhealthy environment for you and your family. You don’t want to unnecessarily expose your family to this kind of environment. That’s why Reliable Basement Services will waterproof your crawl space and install moisture barriers- to ensure that your home is safely sealed off from outside elements.
Crawl space foundations are built into shallow holes that are dug mostly out of clay soils. This creates clay bowls. These bowls hold water similarly to how a pond does. Even after the foundation is backfilled, the bowl the basement was built in will still hold water, because the backfilled 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 is a wet basement and crawl space.
To prevent water from building around the foundation and getting into the crawl space, we install one of our crawl space drainage solutions around the perimeter at the base. We seal the walls back up before filling. After the construction is complete, water will eventually bring dissolved soil and sediment into the original drainage system. This will clog the drain, causing water to build around the foundation. This creates hydrostatic pressure and forces the water into the crawl space through weak points where the wall and floor meet and where there are cracks in the walls and floor.
Many crawl spaces have dirt floors. If water builds up around the foundation, a dirt floor makes it easier for water to move in. A muddy crawl space allows excess moisture to move upwards into the floor joists, flooring, and insulation above.
You may have overlooked some other forms of moisture penetration. For instance, Vapor Transmission is a process where water molecules move through masonry foundations from the exterior to the interior, even into areas where air cannot penetrate. In the summer, warm, humid air moves into cooler crawl space environments. As the warm air cools and shrinks, the relative humidity rises. Water also condenses onto cooler surfaces such as cold water pipes, cold air returns, and foundation walls and floors. In the winter months, the warm air in your basement can condense onto cooler basement walls and floors. The moisture from groundwater seepage and saturated air will evaporate into the crawl space environment. When the moisture entering the crawl space exceeds the space’s capacity to evaporate it, you’ll begin to see signs of the moisture on the walls and floor.
Most crawl spaces contain vents that were installed to allow air circulation in and out of the crawl space. This type of air circulation is not always a good idea. Warm, humid air in the summer can create high humidity in the crawl space environment, increasing the relative humidity. Once the warm, moist air has cooled inside the crawl space, condensation can begin. The wood and insulation above will absorb that moist air, causing mold growth and structural concerns.
Because of its smaller size, a crawl space doesn’t have as much cubic footage for 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 HealthyCrawl.
HealthyCrawl is a thick, tough liner that completely covers the crawl space walls and floors. Moisture cannot penetrate this barrier. Thus, moisture can’t reach the areas where it 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. With the moisture from the ground below and the vents cut off, the relative humidity in the crawl space is maintained at a level below where mold can grow below 50% with the HealthyCrawl install and a Santa Fe Dehumidifier System. This system will dry and clean up to 2,500 square feet of crawl space! It is fully automatic. There are no buckets to empty. It contains a two stage air purification system and is energy star rated.
If water is seeping into your crawl space, Reliable Basement Services will have to take measurements before we can install the HealthyCrawl System. We’ll install a basement drain tile system first. This system is specifically designed to drain water from crawl spaces in one of three ways:
We will drain the water to a sump pump basin where it can be automatically pumped away from the crawl foundation.
Exterior excavation simply means reinstalling the same drainage system that was originally put into place by the builder. We will excavate the exterior of the home all the way to the bottom of the wall and install a new drainage system to correct the wet basement or wet crawl space. Lastly, we re-seal the walls and backfill the area.
With this drainage system, Reliable Basements Services will install this drainage system along the interior side of your wet basement or wet crawl space footing. We will excavate a 12-inch wide trench around the interior perimeter of the crawl space floor alongside the crawl space walls. The drainage system goes in this trench and connected to a perforated 4-inch PVC pipe. This gets connected to a sump basin with a sump pump or battery backup sump pump installed to discharge water. We’ll use grave to backfill the trench and we’ll also backfill or re-cement the area. This method of waterproofing will remedy many different types of wet basement problems.
With multiple drainage systems, you’ll have a second exterior surface drain or French drain in your interior channel system. Reliable Basement Services will dig 10 to 36 inches deep into the exterior earth areas around your home. We’ll install a drainage system into the trench, which we run to a sloped grade or attach to a storm drain. Generally, we dig these exterior surface drainage systems by hand, so there isn’t a need for heavy equipment. This is another type of waterproofing that will correct many types of wet basement and crawl space issues.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a good understanding of the crawl space. If your crawl space is compromised, it endangers the structural integrity of your home’s foundation system. The damage will occur if the environment is moist because it exposes joists, the sill plate, support beams, subfloor, piers, block foundation walls, and more to undesirable temperatures and high water vapor levels.
Groundwater levels will change depending on the area’s precipitation levels. This fluctuation is often the root of the crawl space moisture problems. If the groundwater level in your area is near the crawl space grade, those water levels could be complete flooding or smaller areas of standing water. It’s also possible that your crawl space might stay damp even if it doesn’t appear muddy or wet. The combination of the subsurface soil base, open-earth evaporation, elevation, topography, and exterior perimeter drainage all contribute to the crawl space becoming susceptible to mold, mildew, fungus, insect and rodent infestations, and microorganisms.
We’ll make a light bright crawl space storage system available for your valuables so they are not damaged by moisture. This deters the growth of mold and mildew and also prevents unpleasant odors in your home. It protects your home’s framing from high levels of moisture, which would otherwise destroy your home’s foundation.
HealthyCrawl Barrier System encapsulates the entire crawl space to prevent moisture and gas from permeating through the concrete in your home. We use a white, 10-millimeter, triple ply, extrusion-coated, virgin polyethylene membrane, which has been manufactured using high-density fibers. This yields the highest strength to weight ratio, tensile strength, tear resistance, bursting strength, and puncture resistance greater than any other product on the market. This makes for a perfect long-lasting and durable solution to your crawl space problems. The white color of the HelathyCrawl Barrier provides a bright area to store your valuables that’s easy to clean.
If you don’t seal your crawl space, you won’t have anything preventing cold air from coming in during the winter months. That air can be damaging if it comes into contact with your hot water pipes, water heater, furnace, air ducts, and other important utilities. Obviously, cold air also makes the floor above the crawl space cold.
The air that enters your crawl space will move up out of the roof and into the upper levels of your home. In the summer, this creates a vacuum on the lower levels of your home, because some of the air will be 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. When it cools in the crawl space, the humidity rises.
Humid air is more expensive to cool than dry air. Your air conditioner will also have to dehumidify the air as it cools it. Humidity in a crawl space will also lead to more rot, mold, and mildew. Eventually, the floor above the crawl space will sag and decompose. If you let that happen, you’ll have to hire a contractor to climb into your crawl space, rip out the moldy lumber, and install new lumber which is expensive.
Sealing your crawl space defends your crawl space against all of these problems!
You might wonder how much it costs to repair a crawl space. It can be anywhere from $300 to $8,000, depending on the extent of the repairs that you need. You might need just a simple foundation crack repair, a sump pump installation, an interior drain tile system, a crawl space encapsulation, or even an exterior drain tile system. There are many crawl space contractors who can figure out which problem you have and will do the work for you. Never hire a contractor without getting a written assessment of the problem and being told how it will be fixed. They should give you a written estimate of how much it will cost, an estimated start date and time, how long it will take to complete, and the length of the warranty. Your estimate could be $300 or it could be up to $8,000, so make sure you get more than one estimate. The cost simply depends on the extent of the problem.