Tips for Crawl Space Water Proofing
What are tips for crawl space water proofing?
For a lot of homeowners, the crawl space isn't an area of the house that's given much thought. It's not a place that adds square footage, and it's certainly not an area where you can hang out and relax. But if you're not paying careful attention, your crawl space can have a very negative effect on your home and the health of the people that live in it.
Crawl spaces are prone to accumulating moisture because of their proximity to the ground. If you allow your crawl space to become damp, insects and pests will find their way inside, and the crawl space will quickly become a breeding ground for mold.
Tips for crawl space water proofing #1:
How to determine if there is moisture in the crawl space?
Common signs of moisture crawl space issues include wood rot, termite damage to subfloor materials, hardwood flooring "cupping," and visible mold growth on the wood surfaces underneath your home. Many crawl spaces have exposed earthen floors, which can allow ground moisture to seep out from underneath your home and increase the humidity levels - especially if you don't have a dehumidifier for crawl space.
Tips for crawl space water proofing #2:
How to prevent crawl space moisture?
There are several solutions to water proofing your crawl space. The most effective solution for water proofing a crawl space is with a crawl space vapor barrier. A crawl space vapor barrier is made out of a fiber-reinforced polyethylene material that coats the entire crawl space. This method prevents moisture from sticking to surfaces like the wall or flooring. You also want to make sure you close off any crawl space vents; put a dehumidifier in place; and use a meter in the crawl space that will monitor the relative humidity. Relative humidity should be kept below 70%, yet not too dry.
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Tips for crawl space water proofing #3:
What are the benefits of installing a crawl space vapor barrier?
- Having control of the temperature in rooms. When moisture is in your crawl space, it affects the temperature in your house, making it either too hot, too cold, too stuffy, or too dry. This happens because the moisture in your crawl space absorbs al the warmth from your house ... or it keeps it from escaping. A crawl space vapor barrier system seals those spaces, keeping your house at the temperature you decide to set.
- Preventing mold growth and musty odors. One of the more common problems with crawl spaces that do not have a crawl space vapor barrier system is that they create high moisture levels, which may result in mold growth - as dampness creates the ideal environment for mold growth. By installing a crawl space vapor barrier system, you will greatly reduce the moisture levels, preventing mold and foul odors from growing and forming.
- Saving on energy. Because high moisture levels in crawl spaces affects the temperature inside your home, a crawl space vapor barrier system will act as a sealant by controlling the moisture levels, making your home more energy-efficient and lowering your energy costs. Another way to look at it is that moisture making its way into your home makes it very cold, requiring the homeowner to spend more money on energy by installing room heaters. Electricity bills rise steeply because more electricity is being used to keep the heating appliances working. By installing a crawl space vapor barrier system, you'll keep your energy costs down.
- Protecting your crawl space pipes. A crawl space vapor barrier system can help prevent your crawl space pipes from bursting. Your crawl space most likely houses a variety of pipes that supply the water and power to your home. If moisture infiltrates these areas and gets to your pipes, it's likely that they'll start rotting, which can lead to your pipers bursting or breaking. Installing a crawl space vapor barrier system keeps your pipes dry, thus increasing their lifespan - which means fewer repair costs to have to worry about.
More Tips for crawl space water proofing:
- Start off on the right foot by building your house in the right place. If you're building instead of buying a pre-existing home, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation by studying the landscaping and terrain you're considering building on. For instance, if you're looking at just above sea level, you can expect flooding to be fairly common.
- Check for exterior drainage. Your home's exterior drainage piping should make the water run away from your house, not into it. You can also add a water proofing agent to concrete, add a few inches of top soil near the foundation walls to improve drainage, and/or use a perforated plastic tile at the base of your house to prevent water from pooling.
- Consider a sump pump. Sump pumps allow you to remove standing water from your home easily, and help direct the water away from the house.
Need an expert for crawl space water proofing?
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More info? To learn tips for crawl space water proofing, check out our post: Landscaping Problems that Lead to Crawl Space Water Damage.