Water damage in a crawl space affects your home and your health. The damage can also be costly to repair, especially if you wait for a while after discovering it. Follow these five steps to repair water damage in a crawl space and prevent it from recurring.
1. Find an Experienced Company
When it comes to fixing water damage in a crawl space, it's important to find the best company for the job. Not all contractors are experienced with crawl spaces and their complexities. To find the best company to fix your crawl space, look for one with experience. Check references, licensing and insurance. It's always a good idea to get a few opinions and estimates and get them in writing. You may also need to work with a structural engineer or a soil scientist to perform an environmental study on your property to identify possible underground streams or a high water table that could affect your crawl space.
2. Extract the Water
The first step to correcting water damage in a crawl space is getting rid of any standing water, condensation or dampness. This is usually done with a dehumidifier. However, if there's a lot of water, you may need a sump pump installed in the crawl space. This piece of equipment pumps water out of an area and into a pipe that drains it some distance away from the structure.
3. Locate Leaks
You'll also need a crawl space repair company that's experienced with leak detection. A leaking water or sewer pipe could be the cause of the water damage in your crawl space. Damage to a flue or condensate line could also allow moisture to seep into the crawl space. Any cracked, corroded or otherwise damaged pipes will need to be replaced in order to stop the leak.
4. Repair Grading, Downspout and Gutter Problems
Water damage in a crawl space may result from poor grading. If the soil slopes toward your home, rainwater will flow toward the crawlspace and into it. An ideal grade slopes one inch down per one foot of distance away from your home. A leaky or damaged gutter or downspout could funnel all the rainwater that falls onto your roof directly toward or even into the crawlspace. If downspouts or gutters are the cause of the water intrusion, you'll also need to hire a roofer to correct those issues.
5. Install a Vapor Shield
Install a vapor shield on the soil surface of your crawl space. This creates a barrier against moisture that comes up through the ground. You may also benefit from installing air inducer in the crawl space. This blows 50 CFM of conditioned air into the crawlspace whenever the HVAC kicks on. A good plan of action is to use a dehumidifier if the relative humidity level in your crawl space is still too high.