Effective Solutions for Managing Water in Your Crawl Space

Have you ever noticed water in your crawl space after a heavy rain? Many don’t check their crawl space, but if your house smells musty after it rains, that’s an indication there’s water in the crawl space.  Whether it’s a few puddles, or you open the door and find it full of water, your home’s crawl space needs to be dried out.  If you let your crawl space stay wet, the standing water can turn into humidity and cause mold and mildew to grow in the crawl space, and cause the wooden floor joists to rot.  Mold in your crawl space will enter the house through gaps in the floor and cause it to be musty.  High humidity in the crawl space can cause your hardwood floors to cup.  And wood rot in the crawl space can cause your floors to sag, your windows to stick, and your doors to jam.  It would be easier to keep the crawl space door shut and ignore it, but if you don’t figure out how to dry out the crawl space, your foundation will settle, the moldy air in your house will make your family sick, and the home you love so much, will lose equity and become your family’s enemy.

Identifying the Source of Water in a Crawl Space

It’s common to find water in a crawl space.  The first thing you need to do is figure out where it’s coming from. You can crawl into wet crawl space yourself or hire a professional.  Dry Otter Waterproofing inspects crawlspaces, whether wet or dry, for free.  It will also help to survey the land around the home to check if poor landscaping is the cause of the water in the crawl space every time it rains.  If it looks like this is the cause, that would be a surface water issue.  This can be helped by keeping your gutters clean and the downspouts diverted away from the house.  Another possible source of a wet crawl space would be a plumbing leak.  In that case a plumber can address the water in the crawl space.

The last possibility for water in the crawl space after a heavy rain is ground water.  The ground naturally holds water and comes up through the dirt under the house and stays there, with nowhere to go.  The tricky part about a wet crawl space caused by ground water is that the homeowner can keep the gutters clean, route the downspouts away from the house, adjust the yard’s terrain with heavy equipment, install French drains all around the outside of the house, and still the water gets into the crawlspace.  In fact, it can even get it when it hasn’t rained that much. Our company specializes in fixing a wet crawl space especially when all these other repairs didn’t work. In fact, ours is the company to call when you need to dry out a wet crawl space, because we can waterproof it right the first time, saving you thousands of dollars in those other needless repairs.  No matter what, drying out your crawl space starts by having someone take a look.

Immediate Steps to Dry Out a Crawl Space

Draining the water from under a house will require a submersible pump or a shop vac, that is if there’s several inches of standing water.  If there are just a few puddles in the crawl space or it’s just damp, you can use fans or a small dehumidifier.  Of course leave the crawl space open to help dry out the crawl space.  These are all temporary solutions.  If you have a ground water problem, your crawl space will require a permanent waterproofing solution.

Long-Term Solutions for a Wet Crawl Space

To really protect your home and reap the benefits of a dry crawl space, Dry Otter is who to call for water in the crawl space.  Not all crawl spaces require a drainage system, but if your home has standing water in the foundation, a French drain installed just inside the perimeter of the crawlspace will dry it out in just a few days.

crawl space french drain

After a crawl space drainage system is installed, which is made of perforated pipe and gravel, a sump pump needs to be installed at the lowest point of the drainage system to collect the water in the crawl space and pump it outside, away from the foundation. The next step is to line the dirt crawl space floor with thick plastic, and cover the walls and columns of the crawl space with plastic too. This will seal off the crawl space from pests and most of the moisture that other wise would seep in through the crawl space vents and come up from the dirt floor.  This is called an encapsulation Finally, a commercial crawl space dehumidifier will be installed.  This will dry out any remaining crawl space moisture.  This will leave the crawl space with low humidity, so low that mold can not grow. If there was any mold in the crawl space to start with, the mold can be cleaned with an anti-microbial cleaner before the waterproofing installation begins.  If the mold was bad enough that the wooden floor joists began to rot, you’ll need crawl space repair as well.

The Role of Professionals in Crawl Space Waterproofing

When it comes to waterproofing your crawl space, there are really three options you can take.  You can dry your crawl space out yourself, you can hire someone to do it, or you can hire someone to do it right. There are pros and cons for each. If you do solve your wet crawl space problem yourself, you will get dirty and sweaty, you will have to do your research, it will take up your time, and you may or may not do it correctly.  But you will have saved yourself some money— if you do did end up doing it correctly the first time.  If you hire ‘someone’ to do it, you will have saved time and money, but, if you hire a fly by night waterproofer, a pest control company, an HVAC company, or outdoor landscaping company to waterproof your crawl space, you will end up with an inferior product.  Many of those companies will waste your time and money and leave you with plain plastic on the floor of the crawl space with no proper drainage, and if they do install a dehumidifier, they will probably not close off the walls which will overwork your expensive new piece of equipment and tear it up in no time.  A professional waterproofing company will know the industry best practices, provide a warranty, and be around in ten years to back up the warranty should anything negative happen.  Dry Otter installed this drainage and encapsulation system under a home in Charlotte, NC. And left this review and these photos…

“William, Josh, and Marco did a phenomenal job putting in both drainage and encapsulating the crawlspace. It took them less than a day and half which is amazing given how hot and humid out it is. The sump pump basin is already filling up with all the ground water that’s getting under my house. Dry Otter is a great company and everybody I’ve worked with there starting with Tyler and the initial consultation have been so helpful and professional.” –Matthew

To get started on drying out your crawl space with a professional company today, schedule your free inspection with Dry Otter Waterproofing, ’cause, “You Otter Get Dry”.

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