Crawl Space Problem Signs
Your home is a system, and every part of that system plays a role that affects the rest of the structure. If your crawl space begins to rot, grow mold, or experience structural problems, this will extend to every part of your home.
Crawl space mold can damage your home and your health. Learn how to prevent mold growth and find the best solutions for your home.
Wood eating or wood boring insects such as termites and carpenter ants can cause major damage. Learn more about how to protect & repair your crawl space.
There are many signs that indicate crawl space flooding before it happens. Knowing what they are keeps you a step ahead, saving you money from drastic repairs.
As humidity builds in your crawl space, it creates an ideal space for mold and rot to grow. As it does, all organic material in your crawl space will be damaged — including wooden floorboards and support beams.
By encapsulating your crawl space with a high-quality vapor barrier, interior drainage, sump pumps, and a high-volume dehumidifier, you can ensure that moisture stays out and your home is protected. Here at Dry Pro, we have extensive knowledge and training to spot common crawl space problem signs. We know that every home is unique and that’s why we tailor our solutions to your exact needs.
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Crawl Space Encapsulation Solutions
Whatever your issue, we have the products and experience that you need to find the best solution. Crawl space repair will help you avoid unnecessary repairs, create a healthier living space, and save money on your utility bills.
To stop crawl space flooding and protect your home from foundation failure, Dry Pro offers homeowners the SafeDri™ sump pump, the most reliable tool for foundation drainage.
Crawl space humidity is a difficult problem to handle alone. This is why a crawl space dehumidifier is needed if you want to keep your foundation dry.
Charlotte, NC is one of the rainiest cities in the nation. If you don’t have a proper waterproofing solution in place, then your crawl space will be wet and humid.
Discover elite crawl space solutions in Charlotte, NC. Prevent flooding and put an end to drainage problems that affect the quality of your property.
What is Crawl Space Encapsulation & Why Do I Need It?
Most homeowners aren’t aware of the importance their crawl space has for the rest of their home’s structural stability. As crawl spaces are usually connected to your foundation, any damage it suffers will directly affect the rest of your home. Your crawl space is also responsible for 50% of the air that is circulated throughout your home. This means that any toxins in this area such as mold or mildew, pest droppings, and musty odors will come up through the floor and into the air you breathe.
When you have a dirt floor in your crawl space and no waterproofing measures in place, you are susceptible to even more moisture-related damage. This damage can be anything from dry rot to uneven and sagging floors, and crawl space humidity. When you mix dirt floors with crawl space humidity, you’re prone to excessive mold and mildew growth. Mold only needs two things to flourish, a humid environment and organic materials. Since your crawl space is mainly composed of wooden beams, mold is able to rapidly deteriorate the underside of your home. Any damage that happens in your crawl space will eventually extend to the rest of your home.
Your crawl space will always be the most humid part of your home. This is because there are many ways for water to enter a crawl space. Unless your crawl space is fully waterproof, there will always be some way for water to enter the space. A crawl space sump pump is part of the waterproofing solutions you should invest in for your foundation because it’s able to drain out water that enters the crawl space from places such as:
Vents, Doors, and Openings
Crawl spaces are not waterproof, and this is by design. It was once believed that vents and openings could help with the airflow in a crawl space, but now we know that this isn’t the case. Vents and openings do nothing more than allow water and warm air into the crawl space, doing the opposite of what they are meant to do and increasing the humidity levels of the foundation. Even newer houses are still being built with vents due to outdated building codes.
Crawl space doors also are not waterproof. They are simply meant to provide easy access into the crawl space, but they do a poor job of keeping water out, especially if the door is old and made of wood. Some crawl space doors are located inside the house, sometimes in the laundry room. If there’s ever any kind of flooding because of a broken washing machine, then it’s quite easy for water to seep through the door.
The Walls and Soil
The concrete walls that make up your crawl space may seem solid and impenetrable, but if you look closely, you can see that it has pores. Concrete is a porous material, so moisture can very easily permeate through the walls. Charlotte, NC gets around 15 more inches of rain annually than the rest of the United States. More than just water vapor permeating through, crawl spaces in this region see water seepage from the walls, especially during the rainiest months between May and August.
If you have a dirt crawl space, then the water also could come from the soil because of the water table, which is an invisible line that indicates where the zone of saturation starts. The zone of saturation is where the soil is permanently saturated with water. The depth of the water table can vary greatly throughout the same city, and it can even be just a few inches below the surface. Because of how much it rains in Charlotte, NC, the water table can rise to the point where groundwater leaks into the crawl space. Therefore, homeowners with dirt crawl spaces often find standing water in their foundation even though they have vent covers or they’ve patched up any openings along the concrete walls.
Charlotte, NC has an extremely wet climate and a combination type soil. Each aspect on its own already makes crawl space flooding likely; however, together, your crawl space is even more at risk.
Cecil soil is a combination type soil consisting of sandy-loam soil particles on the surface, as well clay-loam soil particles in the lower layers. Sand-based soils not only are smaller in size, but also, they are finer in texture. Although this means that water can drain and filter much more readily with sandy soils, they are still vulnerable to soil erosion by either wind or water—two weather conditions that are common in Charlotte, NC. Soil erosion can decrease the soil levels, making water accumulation more likely.
Clay-based soils are different in that they change size depending on their exposure to water. They swell to sizes twice their size when they absorb any water, but they shrink down to their original size during drier periods. Repeated shrink-swell cycles can cause the soil around it to shift, resulting in less stable soil. Water can then enter the soil with ease and build up in the ground.
The city of Charlotte, NC experiences an average of 43 inches of rain per year, with an average of four inches during the summer. Furthermore, Charlotte, NC also experiences about six to 15 days where the temperatures are below freezing. This is around the amount of days that this city has snowfall, give or take. Wind speeds also average at around 7.1 miles per hour.
As you can see, the soil will always be exposed to some sort of water, whether it be rain or melted snow. This can cause sandy soils to be eroded away and clay soils to weaken the stability of the soil. Additionally, since wind speeds are high enough to sweep sandy soil away, soil erosion is also always likely. With less soil comes more water, therefore, paving the way for water to collect inside your crawl space and for eventual flooding.
Humidity in a crawl space is all about balance. Too much humidity, and mold and insects will run rampant. Too little humidity, however, and you could suffer from some serious health problems.
Why Extremely Dry Air Is Bad
Extremely dry air is just as bad as humid air. Dry air can cause many of the same health problems as mold spores. Dry air can cause bronchitis, nosebleeds, and trigger eczema flare-ups. Because of how cold it can get in Charlotte, many homeowners suffer these health problems during the winter since the dry air.
You definitely don’t want your crawl space air to be too dry. Certain kinds of bacteria actually thrive in dry environments, so too far on the other end of the spectrum will actually cause other kinds of problems. Because the conditions of your crawl space have such a huge impact on your home, it’s important to be conscious of the humidity levels in your crawl space to keep you home safe.
Setting The Humidity Levels
It’s important that you keep the humidity levels in your home between 30 and 60%. Any lower, and the crawl space air will be way too dry. Any higher than that and you will have moisture problems. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your humidity levels at around 55%. You might have to change the settings on your crawl space dehumidifier depending on the season, since the humidity levels rise and fall throughout the year.
If you really want to make sure that the humidity levels in your crawl space are right, then you can always speak to our experts as they install the dehumidifier. They will be able to explain how the unit is set up, how it works, and how you can adjust the settings. You also can get an annual maintenance checkup to make sure that your humidity levels are adequate.
Many of Dry Pro’s solutions can certainly fix crawl space flooding. However, there are a decent selection of products that also can simultaneously work to prevent it from ever happening.
Crawl Space Encapsulation
Crawl space encapsulation is essentially the process of both waterproofing and insulating your crawl space. Both of these processes combined can provide a significantly protected crawl space, keeping it dry, despite the problematic climate of Charlotte, NC. Insulation with DryPro utilizes the ExTremeBloc Wall Insulation, a polystyrene foam that is laced with graphite to further improve its insulation capabilities. Furthermore, the insulation that is used is less likely to soak up moisture—the perfect solution to combat against the rainy and snowy seasons of this city.
Other Crawl Space Protections
DryPro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists also offer several other products for prevention and waterproofing that have not been mentioned. The Crawl Space dehumidifier can keep the air within your crawl space dry, amidst the climate of Charlotte, NC, by effectively controlling the humidity. In addition to this, it can filter the air of your crawl space since it is built with a fabric filter for any unwanted particles and allergens in the air.
For those homes that have crawl spaces with open vents, DryPro offers airtight crawl space vent covers to completely seal it from the outside environment. They can keep out water and wind, while also helping to maintain the temperatures inside.
A dehumidifier is a crucial part of any waterproofing system, especially in Charlotte. However, it is only a part of what is a network of waterproofing devices and solutions that keep your foundation dry and healthy.
Why a Dehumidifier Isn’t Enough
Dehumidifiers absorb the moisture in the air, but they are not drainage systems. They are unable to handle flooding and can do nothing about the groundwater that surrounds your foundation. Humidity in the air isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when you have a crawl space, so handling drainage issues is another thing to consider if you want your crawl space to be structurally sound.
Charlotte’s humid subtropical climate means that summers are rainy and humid. Without the right waterproofing solutions in place, your crawl space will flood. A crawl space with standing water will always have moisture, insect, and mold problems, even with a dehumidifier, which is why other solutions need to be implemented.
Other Waterproofing Solutions
The other waterproofing solutions you may need for your crawl space are a sump pump, an interior drainage system, and a vapor barrier. An interior drainage system will handle the groundwater and any moisture that permeates through the concrete walls. The drain can be connected to the sump pump so that all the water goes out the same way. The sump pump will collect any water that gets inside the crawl space. It converts electricity into hydraulic energy, so it’s able to reliably drain out all the water.
A vapor barrier is a sheet of thick plastic that is used to cover the walls, floor, and support columns of the crawl space. By encapsulating the crawl space, you prevent water from flowing in and out. Not only that, but vapor barriers are impermeable, so by applying them to the walls and floor, water vapor is stopped from entering the foundation and raising the humidity levels.
You may think that a vapor barrier and encapsulation are the same thing. While they often go together, the truth is that they are two distinct things.
A vapor barrier is just one piece of equipment used when you’re encapsulating your crawl space. It’s a particularly crucial factor, to be sure, but it’s not the only step an expert will implement when they waterproof your home.
The possibility of groundwater evaporating in the crawl space is reduced by a vapor barrier. A layer of plastic is placed across the crawl space surface and overlapped at the joints. Moisture can penetrate the vapor barrier and enter the crawl space if vapor barriers are not sealed. That’s why it’s a smart idea to have a professional install them, so there are no accidental gaps.
Encapsulation is the umbrella term used for when waterproofing measures are used to seal your crawl space away from moisture, pests, and other factors. This process involves, as the name suggests, fully encapsulating your crawl space. It reduces the amount of dampness in the area, lowering your risk of mold. Moreover, the expense of heating and cooling a home with a dirt crawl space is higher. This is because wet air requires more energy to cool or heat, and more energy implies higher energy costs.
Encapsulation helps clean the air in your crawl space while improving the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems, lowering energy bills, and providing other advantages. Since it offers a barrier that prevents gas from gathering in the crawl space, an encapsulated crawl space protects against hazardous radon gas. Encapsulation itself often includes a vapor barrier, sump pump, dehumidifier, and other gear to cap it off.
Why Should I Encapsulate My Crawl Space?
If you notice signs of water damage around your home, it may be time for an inspection from one of our certified field inspectors. Things such as open crawl space vents, clogged or malfunctioning sump pumps or plumbing failures can all lead to your crawl space being flooded with water. When your dry and clean crawl space becomes damp and humid, it can kickstart mold and mildew growth and be the perfect environment for unwanted pests and their babies. There also could be signs of dry rot or excess condensation which are directly related to water. If any of these are the issue, it’s important to address the underlying damage and have repairs made before any waterproofing systems are installed.
Like most things, waterproofing systems can also experience deterioration after a significant amount of time. If they are exposed to large amounts of outside damage or constant flooding, chances are they will become less effective. Although the deterioration process is normal, it can lead to considerable damage as it progresses. For this reason, it is important to have routine inspections and maintenance on your systems that lie within your crawl space to ensure they remain in proper working order.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits that encapsulating your crawl space can have for your home, or would like to upgrade your current waterproofing systems, call the experts at Dry Pro. We’ll come to your home and inspect it entirely to make sure that any prior damage is dealt with and repaired correctly.
Steps to Encapsulating Your Crawl Space
Interior Drainage and Sump Pumps
One of the first steps to encapsulating your crawl space is to install perimeter interior drains and a sump pit with a sump pump. By installing both systems, you can have peace of mind whenever a heavy rain or snowmelt occurs and trickles down into your crawl space. The purpose of the interior drain is to collect any water that flows under your home and direct it into the sump pump.
When the water reaches a certain level in the sump pump, a float switch is triggered where it then gets pumped out and away from your home. We recommend installing both of these systems together as they both work to keep water out and away from your crawl space. Another solution that works efficiently with both the interior drain and sump pump is our drainage matting. This specially designed material has raised dimples to effectively direct water towards the interior drain and to the sump pump.
Vapor Barrier Liner
For the most part, crawl spaces are constructed with an open dirt or sand floor underneath. This means that any moisture that collects either in the soil or on top of the sand, will later cause problems in your crawl space. To combat this problem, we recommend installing our high-quality, durable vapor barrier.
The CrawlSeal™ Crawl Space Vapor Barrier is the heart and soul of the CrawlSeal™ system. This heavy-duty crawl space liner is installed on the walls and floors to effectively prevent any water vapor or humidity from getting in. By keeping your crawl space dry, your home’s structure is protected from mold growth and dry rot. Our superior vapor barrier comes with a 25-year warranty against rips and tears, and can also convert your crawl space into a usable storage area. This product also comes with the mold-resistant additive “UltraFresh”, to ensure that mold and mildew growth never happens on its surface.
If you live in an older home, chances are your crawl space has vents that are open or not properly sealed. In the past, when crawl space vents were originally installed, it was believed that by keeping them open they would be able to circulate the air and keep the underside of your home dry. After a few decades, and tons of moisture damage to homes, this was found to be false.
When the outside air comes into your crawl space, it warms up and creates humidity which leads to a slew of problems. Things such as mold and mildew, condensation, and dry rot can all severely damage the support joists in your home. It’s best to seal any open crawl space vents to prevent these things from happening. By installing airtight covers, you can guarantee that no water vapor is able to get in and cause problems in the future. Closed crawl space vents also prevent unwanted pests from coming in.
Along with our other waterproofing solutions and systems, a dehumidifier is one of the last steps to completely encapsulate your crawl space. By installing a dehumidifier, you can rest assured in knowing that the humidity levels are under control and not able to cause any problems. Dehumidifiers also increase the energy efficiency in your home as well as the air quality.
These powerful systems can effectively remove any harmful toxins in the air such as mold or mildew spores before they’re able to reach your family. Although they play an important role in preventing humidity-related damage, these systems shouldn’t stand alone. We recommend other systems be put in place first before a dehumidifier is installed to ensure the root of the problem is addressed.
Our Recommendations for Crawl Space Encapsulation
- Encapsulating your crawl space will save you time and money by preventing water-related damage. It also lowers your home’s energy bills as your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to combat the humidity in the air which happens from the stack effect. When cool air meets the warm air in your crawl space, it creates a phenomenon known as the stack effect. This leads to the toxic, humid air in your crawl space being lifted up through the floors and out through the roof. With a fully encapsulated crawl space, this problem is completely prevented.
- When your crawl space is encapsulated with a vapor barrier, drainage matting, a sump pump system, and sealed crawl space vents, it’s able to reduce the amount of water vapor in the area. When you combine all these systems with a dehumidifier, you can be sure that your crawl space is fully protected from the effects of water vapor and the air quality in your home is clean and free of toxins and mold spores.
- If you’re unsure of whether to encapsulate your crawl space but still have open crawl space vents, it’s best to seal them off. By implementing this small step, it can prevent water-related damage, but it still isn’t a catch-all. It also will reduce the effect of the stack effect in the air your family breathes. Sealed crawl space vents can also prevent unwanted pests from entering and making the underside of your home their habitat.
- Having a sump pump in your home is a great step in dealing with flood water or pooling groundwater. Unfortunately, sump pumps work off your home’s electricity and if a power outage happens, your sump pump may fail. Having a battery-powered backup can ensure that any leftover water gets efficiently pumped out and away from your home. This allows you to rest easy knowing your crawl space is protected during a storm.
- Some homeowners believe that their crawl space only needs a few waterproofing measures in place to prevent damage, unfortunately, this is not the case. Although encapsulation and waterproofing go together, a drainage system or sump pump are just a few of the components needed to ensure a water-free crawl space. Without also installing a high-quality vapor barrier on the walls and floors, your home’s mold and mildew problems, and wood rot are sure to continue.
- In the time and age of DIY home repair projects, many homeowners believe that by doing it themselves they can save time and money. For some things this is true, but for encapsulating your crawl space, it can be detrimental. As this is a complex process, missing any steps or failing to not address the root of the problem can cause even more damage in the future and more money for repairs. This also can lead to the current problems persisting and causing complete structural failure.
Find your service area
Charlotte, located in the Southern Piedmont region, is known for its lovely terrain. As wonderful as it is, clay soils can cause major structural issues.
Hickory’s wet weather combined with its clay soils cause structural issues for many homes. Dry Pro can offer solutions to fix even the most severe problems.