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Some Wet Crawlspace solutions

Posted by Tom Rawcliffe on May 3rd, 1998 12:12 AM
In reply to WET CRAWL SPACE by CAMILLE on May 2nd, 1998 07:54 PM [Go to top of thread]


A certain amount of dampness in a basement/crawlspace is inevitable. Concrete, whether in cinder block or poured foundation applications, will act as a lantern wick, drawing moisture from the ground, and that can be compounded if you have a high water table in the soil. However, if what you have is actually standing water in your crawlspace, that can be a different issue.

Whether dampness or actual water, the ground around the outside of the foundation should be sloped away from the house. Downspouts should run at least 3 feet away from the house. Consider how your lot slopes, and make sure the water flows around and away from your house when it rains, and does not pool.
And have your gutters cleaned semi-annually, especially if you have big trees that loose leaves in the fall, and drop seeds in the spring.

For a damp crawlspace, ventilation is key. There should be grated vents in various locations around in the foundation perimeter walls. These should be free of debris, and allow air movement for all seasons except winter. If you do not have them, consider adding them. You could also consider a ventilation fan. If your crawlspace is exposed dirt, cover it with a plastic. If the crawlspace floor is concrete, do not paint or otherwise seal with a protectant. The water will still force its way up, blistering the concrete surface.

For a crawlspace with standing water, it is probably due to rainwater running into one of those vents I mentioned above. Or it can be from a gutter not cleaned or properly attached, allowing water to spill over its edge, or a deck improperly attached to the house, causing water to back up into the house. If you do not have gutters, consider their installation. Water simply running off a roof with no gutters will hit the ground at a distance perfect to go right into the foundation.

Good luck - TomR

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