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Top 5 Causes of Water in Your Home’s Crawl Space

wet crawl space

In the United States, 15% of all new homes have a crawl space. 

In some areas, they are far more popular than either basements or slab construction. Crawl spaces offer convenience and the ability to reach vital parts of the house without the need for an expensive basement.

Despite their convenience, there are some issues that can arise with a crawl space. A wet crawlspace can cause water damage that is both structural and cosmetic. It is imperative that if you notice a wet crawl space, you act quickly to prevent larger damage.

Wet Crawl Space

It is required that crawl spaces have vents installed. It is also very common that homeowners choose to have their crawl space encapsulated to prevent moisture build-up. Vents help keep air moving through the crawl space, but don’t work as well as a moisture barrier in preventing a wet crawl space.

Here are five reasons that you may discover water or moisture build-up in your crawl space. Don’t wait to notice crawl space moisture, instead make sure to check for any signs of issues before they do lasting damage to your home.

1. Improper Grading for Surface Water Drainage

If your home doesn’t have proper grading, surface water can be trapped up against the foundation. If this happens during a torrential rainstorm or any kind of flash flooding, the water may get into your crawl space.

In cases like this, if the water gets deep enough, it can even turn the vents of your crawl space into spouts for water to enter. This, in turn, leads to a growing amount of water building up in the crawlspace.

If any debris from water trapped against the foundation causes the vents to be clogged, regular moisture can build up as well. Either way, once water enters your crawl space, you should seek immediate remediation of the problem to prevent structural damage from occurring.

2. Cracks or Gaps in the Foundation

As a house ages, it undergoes a process known as settling. While this process is common in all houses, over time, it can cause cracks or damage to the foundation to manifest. If any crack or gap develops, it reduces the ability of your foundation to withstand water.

This can lead to water seeping into your crawl space. If water begins to seep into your crawl space, it all but assures you will have issues with mold and even potential warping of the wood. Mold can be a threat to not just the structure of your home, but also to the health and well being of your family.

If water is allowed to sit against the wood, it can be absorbed by the wood. This causes the wood to expand, which could lead to uneven floors. The worst-case scenario in this regard is that a cracked foundation can lead to rotting of the wood because of water damage. An expensive proposition to repair.

3. Leaking Window or Vent Wells 

Part of building a house is to waterproof the foundation. This process allows for the home to remain dry in most conditions, barring any catastrophic flooding. Over time weaknesses in that waterproofing can manifest from a variety of reasons.

Most basements and crawl spaces have vents and windows recessed into them. This area is known as the window well, and if any kind of gap or space appears in it, water will be able to seep in. Once that happens, you will have to deal with the aftermath.

Fortunately, if you are able to keep a close eye on your crawl space, you can act before the problem grows out of hand. Having your window wells, and vents, repaired will keep them functioning properly. This is also one reason why encapsulation is popular with crawlspaces as it prevents the problem from even starting.

4. Water and Sewer Line Malfunction

Our homes have a tremendous amount of water flowing in and out daily. Except in extreme circumstances, this occurs via the plumbing of the home. Water pipes bring water in from a municipal source of well, and sewer lines take it away.

Hot water heaters are also connected via lines to the municipal water source. If any of these lines, whether they bring freshwater or sewer into the house break or clog water can be allowed in. A broken line can dump a vast amount of water into your house before you even realize something has happened.

If this occurs with a sewer line, there will be deeper sanitation issues at play. The water damage and health hazard posed by both sewer lines can be daunting. A professional will be needed to repair your lines, but also to clean up and repair the damage caused.

5. Drains Clogged or Overwhelmed

In the case of torrential rain, another key problem that can develop is an insufficient drainage system. In order to prevent this, you may have a French drain installed or another form of drainage. Sometimes despite our best efforts, the drainage systems around your home are overwhelmed.

When this happens, often due to weather or natural disaster, water begins to back up. This backing up uses the path of least resistance, which can lead it straight into your home. The results of this are as bad as any other form of water damage and will cost up to thousands of dollars to repair.

Moisture in Your Crawl Space and What to Do

The risks posed by mold, and the structural damage caused by water are impossible to overlook. The entire structure of your house could be compromised if you don’t have it taken care of.

Walls, floors and even the roof can collapse or at the least cost thousands of dollars to repair. Avoid this danger, take care of any potential danger that water poses to your house as soon as possible.

If you notice that any of these situations apply to your home, or if you suspect that moisture is already building up inside your crawl space, contact Sedona Waterproofing or a trusted waterproofing contractor in your area. A wet crawl space is often a first sign of greater trouble to come.

Learn more about Sedona Waterproofing Solutions.