Many homes in Charlotte, NC, or homes throughout North Carolina in general, tend to have crawl spaces: a small unoccupied area of space between the ground and the first floor of your home. The purpose of most crawl spaces is to allow space between any damp earth beneath the first floor of your home, which promotes air circulation. It also provides additional space for any excess plumbing and electrical wiring in your home. While this does seem beneficial for your living conditions, it also has its downfalls, especially when considering the soil conditions and the climate type that is common to Charlotte, NC.
Cecil soil is the state soil of North Carolina, a soil that is described to have a sandy loam surface soil but clay loam sub-soil particles. In fact, Cecil soil expands more than 1.6 million acres of land throughout the state of North Carolina, based on a study done by the Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCA). Furthermore, the city of Charlotte, NC, more specifically, experiences freezing, wet winters and hot and muggy summers, with frequent rain that falls all sporadically throughout the year. Unfortunately, the soil that is dominant in this region, as well as the climate, makes crawl space flooding much more likely since they do not work very well together.
Fortunately, Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists services the city of Charlotte, NC and any surrounding areas. You can rely on professionals to provide you with quality service and a long-lasting solution to your flooding crawl space and any other related issues.
What Are the Problem Signs of Crawl Space Flooding?
Luckily, the problem signs of crawl space flooding manifest themselves well before disastrous flooding takes place. Additionally, they also are easy to spot, once you know what you are looking for. Once you learn what warning signs to watch out for, you will be able to stop crawl space flooding in its tracks with the appropriate solutions.
Mold and Mildew Growth
One of the more subtle warning signs that you may have crawl space flooding is finding mold growth or mildew. Both mold and mildew are types of fungi that thrive in damp or wet environments. They also grow very well in porous environments, which your crawl space provides. Crawl spaces are often built from wood, an extremely fibrous and porous material. Therefore, if you have any standing water in your crawl space, then there will be some sort of mold or mildew growth.
Although mold and mildew are both fungi, there is one main difference between the two. Mold typically has a spotty or blotchy pattern and is usually black or grey in color. It also can appear streaked if it has grown on concrete. On the other hand, mildew has a powdery appearance and is often white in color. Some even can appear fluffy.
Since your crawl space is constantly exposed to the outside weather conditions, water can easily enter your crawl space, making the growth of mold and mildew extremely likely. While rain is the more obvious exposure of water, snow can also be a problem, particularly when it melts during the onset of spring.
Excess moisture can also attract pests. The most common kind are as follows:
If the moisture conditions are left unattended in your crawl space, then these pests can easily enter your home. Any pest infestations inside your home may, therefore, indicate that you have some flooding problem in your crawl space.
Finding any sort of leaks around your crawl space is the most obvious problem sign of crawl space flooding. Your crawl space houses many of the pipes and other connections that are important for your home’s water supply. As such, if any of these pipes or connections become loose or damaged in any way, then leaks in your crawl space are likely to happen. You want to address this issue as soon as you can because leaks mean that flooding is not far behind.
Most, if not all, crawl spaces in Charlotte, NC are constructed from wooden frames or support posts. Wood is, indeed, a sturdy material for these areas of your home; however, they are incredibly vulnerable to wood rot.
Wood rot is a phenomenon caused by a specific type of fungi that feeds on the starches that hold the wooden planks together. Wood rot manifests itself in many ways. Homeowners can find if there is wood rot in their crawl space if they find any darker or softer pieces of wood, as well as any broken pieces. However, there is also what is known as “white rot”, where wooden planks can look white or pale yellow and often feel soft or spongy.
Altered Air Quality
Your crawl space is responsible for controlling much of the air quality within your household. In fact, the air within your crawl space makes up an average of 30 to 50% of the air inside your home. If you have any problems with leaks or flooding in your crawl space, then it will quickly become reflected in the air quality of your home.
There are several ways that homeowners can notice this. The first is if they notice any signs of increased humidity levels inside the home. If you notice that the inside of your house, specifically the first floor of your home, is significantly muggier during the already humid summer, then you may have an increased amount of moisture collecting in your crawl space.
The second is if you notice an increased amount of coughing or sneezing while inside. This can indicate that you have mold in your crawl space, because allergens can also make their way into your home from your crawl space. Those who are more sensitive to particles in the air should be wary of this.
The final way you can notice altered air quality is if you are noticing the presence of musty odors in and around your household. The combination of standing water, mold, mildew, and damp wood can create unpleasant smells in your crawl space. These odors can waft into your home, causing your house to smell.
What Causes Crawl Space Flooding
So, what leads to these problem signs? How can they be prevented?
Climate and Soil Conditions
The climate and the soil conditions that are typical of Charlotte, NC do not pair well together, making it bad news for your crawl space. For instance, this city experiences a decent amount of wind, rain, and snow during the winter, and the rain continues to persist during the hot summers, making it extremely muggy. Since your crawl space is constantly exposed to the outside, this water and wind can easily enter your crawl space.
Cecil soil has a sandy surface layer, which is vulnerable to soil erosion by either wind or water (from rain or melted snow). The clay-based lower levels also experience swelling when they absorb water and shrink when this water evaporates out from soil particles. Both phenomena can mean bad things for your crawl space.
Soil erosion means less soil levels. Under continuous shrinking and swelling cycles, surrounding soil particles can become moved around, making them weaker over time. This can leave a significant amount of space between soil particles. Both lower soil levels and more space between soil particles invite more water to enter the ground. This can help water to accumulate in the soil and, thus, cause flooding since there is a constant presence of water from rain or snow.
Having fully functional drainage systems is important in keeping your crawl space from flooding. If any of them become damaged or malfunction, then this puts your crawl space at risk of leaks and eventual flooding. Any excess water that is not being properly drained out of your crawl space is likely to develop into pools of water and flood.
Not all crawl spaces are built with open vents; however, it is not uncommon that some houses do have them. The primary purpose of these open vents was to provide your crawl space with an adequate amount of air circulation, which, in turn, help to prevent air stagnation, mold growth, and any other related problems. However, this only holds true if the homeowner is extremely vigilant in maintaining the crawl space every day, as well as making sure that these vents are closed during any rainy or snowy period.
Open vents can have the opposite impact on your crawl space because they allow for more water to enter. Less experienced homeowners may not even know to keep these closed during the wetter seasons, which can pave the way for flooding.
How Can I Fix Crawl Space Flooding?
It may be daunting trying to figure out which works best for your crawl space, but our experts at Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists can help you choose from the wide range of products that suits you best. We will always be transparent with prices as well, so homeowners need not to worry about dishonest quotes.
CrawlDrain Crawl Space Drain
The CrawlDrain is an innovative drain that scales both the surface of your crawl space floor, as well as beneath the soil so that it can maximize the amount of water it drains from your crawl space. Since water can easily collect inside your crawl space and underneath the soil, the CrawlDrain is the perfect solution to counter overaccumulation of water. In this way, it can repair, as well as prevent, crawl space flooding.
An added feature of the CrawlDrain is that it is resistant to clogging. This is because the drain is equipped with a fabric filter inside so that only water is drained away without dirt or debris being washed away with it.
CrawlSeal Drainage Matting
The CrawlSeal Drainage Matting is suited for those homes that typically have water that sinks into the soil of their crawl space, preventing their fully functional drainage systems from ever receiving that water. The CrawlSeal Drainage Matting can solve that problem by providing a raised platform up off your crawl space floor for any excess water to collect in. The Drainage Matting can provide a channel for this water to exit through and enter any perimeter drainage systems that you already have.
Homeowners also have the option to install the CrawlSeal Drainage Matting XL, for larger scale crawl space floods and rougher terrain. The XL is not only larger, but also it is more durable and able to resist damage against rougher surfaces. It also has more channels for even more water to drain through.
SafeDri Crawl Space Sump Pump
Sump pumps are often installed inside one’s basement; however, the experts at Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists provide a more compact version of this for your crawl space. The SafeDri Crawl Space Sump Pump can fit in any crawl space, without giving up any of the sump pump’s beneficial features.
Dry Pro’s Crawl Space Sump Pump is equipped with a cast-iron pump, which makes it relatively resistant to corrosion so that it can pump and drain gallons and gallons of water out of your crawl space. It also comes with a sump pump alarm, which alerts you of any power outages, when the sump pump is not working, if it is damaged, or if the sump pump basin is close to overflowing. It also has an airtight and waterproof seal, allowing it to work for much longer.
Crawl Space Flooding
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.
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.
Fortunately, crawl space damages are also repairable by DryPro. There are several services for this that are offered.
Crawl Space Cleanup
DryPro offers crawl space cleanup services—from basic to the most detail oriented. This can be paired with annual maintenance to ensure your home is kept in its best form. The most basic includes removal of unwanted material, such as debris or rotted wood or insulation. Insulation and waterproofing are also included if you so choose.
Broken material can accumulate allergens and clog up space, which also hinders air circulation. Cleaning your crawl space alone not only can improve further damage, but also it can improve the air quality—in your crawl space and in your home as well.
The IntelliJack is able not only to stabilize sinking crawl spaces, but also may potentially raise them back to their original heights as well. Do not be fooled that just because the IntelliJack can squeeze into the smallest of crawl spaces that it is not strong. You can rest easy knowing that these durable support jacks can support more than 60,000 pounds of weight!
Trust Us For Quality Service
The specialists at Dry Pro are your local experts not only for your crawl space needs but also for anything in between, such as your basement or foundation. Contact us through phone or our online contact form to schedule a free inspection, no obligation inspection today!