Three Ways to Waterproof Your Crawlspace
Living in the wet and humid climate of the Carolinas has its advantages; after all, water is essential to life. But the presence of water in places it shouldn’t be can cause major headaches. Homeowners who’ve dealt with excess water in their crawlspaces and basements know by experience that the best way to avoid the myriad of issues excess water can cause—mildew, rot, pests, higher energy costs, and unhealthy air quality in your home—is to prevent the problem in the first place.
But how can you tell if you have a problem? This is a great question, especially when one considers a certain amount of moisture to be normal given the climate. While water seepage from surrounding soils can cause problems, the more serious issues arise from plumbing leaks and condensation. It may seem counterintuitive that condensation can be such a problem; after all this is the south. But in fact, water vapor can be just as serious if not more damaging to your home than the water itself. It’s the moisture from water vapor that causes the rot and mildew that attracts pest and makes your house harder to heat and cool. And these problems don’t stay put. According to experts, as much as 50% of the air upstairs in your home comes from below, carrying with it musty smells, mold, and dust mites.
There are the signs any homeowner can spot that may indicate you have excess moisture in your crawlspace. Standing water or wet soils within your crawlspace after a heavy rain means that your foundation has become oversaturated. If you notice your insulation is wet or sagging, or you have wet floor joists (the wood beaming that runs along your crawlspace’s ceiling), or you notice the growth of mold or mildew along the floor joists, your moisture problem is already at a critical juncture and needs to be immediately addressed by a professional.
The good news is there are great ways to combat extra moisture in your crawlspace. The helpful professionals at Carolina Basement Solutions suggest three different solutions, depending on the severity of your moisture problem.
Because most crawlspaces have dirt floors, those soils naturally contain some extent of moisture. Where there’s water, there’s evaporation, which can lead to the wood floor framing absorbing the moisture released into the air from the soils below. One of the simplest ways to prevent moisture problems inside of a crawlspace with dirt floors is to have a proper vapor barrier installed. A vapor barrier is a system that blocks water vapor, assists with controlling the moisture levels, and helps prevent significant issues like wood rot, mold, and mildew. Carolina Basement Solutions recommends the professional installation of a vapor barrier of at least 14 mil., such as Flexi-Seal, to properly block water vapor and control moisture levels.
Vapor barriers are reasonably effective at managing the moisture in a crawlspace, and in many instances where the moisture and humidity levels inside a crawlspace are minimal, a simple vapor barrier may be all that is needed. But for most homes in the Carolinas, a crawlspace encapsulation system is the ideal solution to efficiently and effectively control the levels of moisture and humidity inside your crawlspace as well as the air throughout the rest of your home. While a vapor barrier covers only the floor of a crawlspace, an encapsulation system is all-encompassing, covering the walls and columns, and completely sealing all seams, vents, holes, and openings throughout the crawlspace.
Carolina Basement Solutions specializes in the installation of crawlspace encapsulation systems which use an antibacterial 20 mil. Flexi-Seal vapor barrier to cover the floors of the crawlspace and the Flexi-Seal material or Flexi-Seal radiant barrier to line the foundation walls. This not only removes unwanted moisture and prevents structural issues, but also increases your home’s energy efficiency, reducing your energy bills by up to 20%.
To optimize your encapsulation system, a dehumidifier is installed and is used to condition the quantity of air and keep the moisture level constant in your crawlspace, regardless of what the conditions are outside. Experts recommend keeping the humidity level below 50% to eliminate the potential for mold growth, which can be accomplished through the encapsulation system and dehumidifier.
Homeowners concerned with the value of their investment often choose a comprehensive waterproofing system as the best way to keep out unwanted water and moisture from a home’s crawlspace or basement. Because water damage and mold can decrease a home’s value by as much as 25%, waterproofing systems add unprecedented value to your home by protecting it from rapid depreciation.
A waterproofing system by Carolina Basement Solutions uses only ICC-ES Certified products, the leading industrial standard for all structures, commercial and residential. A crawlspace waterproofing system incorporates many of the components of a crawlspace encapsulation system along with a drainage system that is installed along the inside perimeter of the crawlspace, accompanied by a sump pump. The complete system is designed to do two things: remove water from the crawlspace and control the overall moisture and humidity levels inside of the crawlspace.
The prevention component of a comprehensive waterproofing system provides a permanent solution to water and moisture issues, and includes a moisture barrier, a diverter, a drainage system, a sump pump, and a backup system to properly divert water out and away from your home. This system provides the peace of mind of healthier indoor air quality, protection for your foundation thereby protecting your home’s value, and future energy cost savings.
If you’ve recently seen any of these signs of water damage or moisture in your crawlspace, it’s best to not wait. Call a professional today like the experts at Carolina Basement Solutions.