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Is It Normal for a Crawl Space to Be Damp or is there an underlying Issue?

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Avoid having a flooded crawl space

Seasonal changes and a host of other factors can make the crawl space of your Columbia, SC, home damp. When this happens, conditions inside your home change. Floors may feel cooler than usual and the air musty. Mold spores may also float into your living room. To keep the indoors comfortable, you may also have to turn your HVAC for longer. All these scenarios are possible whenever your crawl space gets damp.

So what does it really mean when my crawl space gets damp? The answer is simple. Water or moisture is entering the crawl space. And the source could be anything from high humidity in the air during hot summer months to a leaking water pipe that runs below the crawl space. It could also be groundwater from saturated soil adjacent to the crawl space or inside.

Should I be concerned about a wet crawl space?

Yes, you should be concerned about any kind of water or moisture in your crawl space. Dampness often sets the stage for many problems, including mold growth, musty smells, pests, water damage, and structural damage. All these are serious issues that can cost an arm and a leg to remedy in the long run. Only a thorough inspection of your crawl space can reveal the source of moisture or water.

Sources of Water in the Crawl Space

If your crawl space is damp, you might be wondering where all the moisture and water inside came from. Dampness in the crawl space can occur because of a number of factors.

The first is burst pipes that run through the crawl space. When a pipe starts leaking, you may not notice there’s a problem. Water will eventually evaporate and make the air around the crawl space humid, and that’s where problems may start to arise.

Another cause is surface water that flows from your roof whenever it rains. If there’s no gutter or you have grading issues, you can be sure a significant amount of it can end up in your crawl space, which isn’t good.

Hot and humid air from the outside also accounts for a great deal of moisture that enters the crawl space in Columbia, SC. When this air enters and comes into contact with cold air or cold surfaces, it condenses. Humidity is likely going to be high during hot summer months.

The soil surrounding the perimeter of your home can also cause your crawl space to get damp. And this may happen after a downpour or when melting snow seeps into the soil. With time, the moisture-laden soil will cause moisture to evaporate into your crawl space.

Defective or clogged gutters and downspouts can also contribute to a damp crawl space as they channel water into and not away from the external wall of your house.

Regardless of what issues you’re facing, you can remedy all these problems. Just ask your local crawl space contractor to do an inspection and tell you what course of action you should take.

Crawl Space Waterproofing Solutions

When it comes to waterproofing a damp crawl space, you have quite a number of options. Let’s look at the most effective methods.

  • Encapsulation – Few waterproofing solutions are as effective as crawl space encapsulation. With this technique, a local contractor covers your walls and floors with a thick and tear-proof plastic vapor barrier. For the best results, we recommend a 20-mil barrier. This will lock out moisture from the ground and air from the outside.
  • Dehumidification – Moisture-laden air from the outside or moisture from groundwater should be dealt with decisively or they can trigger mold growth and rot. Installing a dehumidifier can help bring down humidity to acceptable levels. Aim for 50% or less.
  • Sump Pumps – During heavy rains, surface water can become a problem as it will flow into your crawl space and cause damage. You can stop surface water from collecting in the lowest point by installing a sump pump with a backup battery to pump this water out.
  • Fix defective gutters — Ask your roofing professional to fix any loose gutters or clear up clogged ones so water can flow without obstruction and go to your drains.
  • Interior drainage – Sometimes, crawl space walls crack and let in water. Internal drains collect any water that seeps through the porous walls outside, and then this water is directed to drain into a sump pump system.

Do you have a damp crawl space? Take action before the situation gets out of hand. Schedule a free crawl space inspection with Mount Valley Foundation Services and find out how we can help you keep the below-ground area of your home dry.

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