Flooded Crawlspace: What to do?

Treat and Prevent a Flooded Crawlspace

Like most homeowners, chances are you overlook your crawlspace until there’s an issue.  Your crawlspace, or the space between the main floor level of your home and the ground, is a hollow area anywhere from typically 1 to 3 feet high.  You don’t spend any time there – so why would you worry about it?

Crawlspace moisture can quickly become a costly problem when ignored.  A little rainwater isn’t bad, but if you do not dry the crawlspace, a couple of heavy storms or melting snowfall can result in pools of water beneath your home.  The ground naturally absorbs some standing water, but the rest?  It ends up evaporating up into your home. As much as 40% of the air you breath while in your home is coming from your crawlspace, so conditioning this area becomes important to the health of you, your family, and your friends.

The older the home with an unconditioned crawlspace, the higher likelihood of damage.   A damp or wet crawlspace can also cause hazardous mold and mildew to grow, structural wood damage, ductwork damage restricting your home’s airflow, and even sewer line or septic tank ruptures, depending on the severity. All while you can be breathing in this air from your crawlspace.

The greatest defense you have is to prevent moisture damage before it’s too late through crawlspace encapsulation, or a crawlspace vapor barrier.  If you do experience a flooded crawlspace, know what to do to lessen the extent of the damage.

What to Do if Flooding Occurs

When you are experiencing a flooded crawlspace, seek help from a reputable professional.  Encapsulating your crawlspace or installing a vapor barrier, installing a drainage system, installing a sump pump, and redirecting your gutters and downspouts to avoid further damage.

The longer the humidity festers in your crawlspace, the greater the risk of contaminates flowing through of your home.  If your crawlspace floods during a natural disaster, you may be eligible for help from FEMA or be covered under your flood insurance.

How to Prevent Flooding

The simplest step you can take to prevent crawlspace flooding is to keep water away from your home.  There are easy ways to divert water flow away from the foundation of your home and reduce the amount of water that can pool up in your crawlspace.

  • When was the last time you cleaned your gutters? You should be cleaning your gutters regularly, especially after a storm.  Blockage from leaves or other debris is going to prevent drainage.  Even if you have downspouts that are properly installed and pointing away from your foundation, if they’re not working, where is the water going? Downspouts should extend at least 10’ away from your home’s foundation.
  • Do you know which way your lawn slopes? It doesn’t matter if your downspouts are pointing away from the foundation if the lawn is sloping toward your home.  Address the lay of your land and make sure all downspouts flow away from the foundation and with the slope of your lawn.
  • Where does the water collect when It rains? Depending on the slope of the property, rainwater may always collect in the same place after every storm.  If this place is near the foundation of your home, your crawlspace may be flooding.

These changes will not totally eliminate crawlspace flooding but can reduce the severity and frequency.  The best way to protect your crawlspace is to install a sump pump, install a drainage system, and encapsulate it.

Advantage of Vapor Barrier Installation

Installing a vapor barrier, along with a sump pump and drainage system, should eliminate crawlspace flooding further.  A high-quality vapor barrier is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent health hazards and structural damage.  A vapor barrier is installed across a dirt floor to fight moisture evaporation coming into your home.

Before a crawlspace vapor barrier installation, it’s important to assess the existing damage and complete any repairs.  Our mold treatment and prevention coating kills most mold, mildew, and other biological growth that could be poisoning your home’s airflow.  Always use a qualified and experienced contractor when working on your home.

Crawlspace vapor barrier installation prevents water evaporation from rainfall and melting snow, hazardous mold and mildew growth, foundation damage, and sagging floors.  We’ll assess the needs of your specific crawlspace and determine different options based upon your unique situation.

An untreated flooded crawlspace can lead to mold and mildew growth and even severe structural damage, allergies and other breathing related problems.  Adding a vapor barrier now can prevent costly repairs later.  Get a free estimate on our website or give us a call if you’d like to talk about crawlspace solutions for encapsulation, vapor barrier, sump pumps, and crawlspace drainage.

Kelly Kater

Over her twenty year career, Kelly has worked in a wide variety of fields: secondary education, nursing, biology, elder care, the postal service, multicultural development, and academia. She has developed a skill for translating industry-specific jargon into everyday language. Her goal is to share the knowledge and experience of the Acculevel team with homeowners, in a way that is both engaging and informative.

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