What does the rain mean for my crawlspace?

Rain! Rain! Rain!  What does this mean in my crawlspace?

Moisture seems to have its eye focused on us here in the South. The shorter winter days have been filled with washout type rainfall, more so than most can remember in past years. Warmer temperatures have accompanied the massive amounts of rainfall and cloudy days. As the soil hits saturation limits, our rivers swell, roads become damaged and that moisture looks for areas to spread.  

The dry dirt under your home can be one of the targets. The mortar joints and waterproofing (or lack thereof) around the foundation walls may also be a highway for the water to gain access into the crawlspace.  Another possibility is that the foundation vents could be allowing too much humid air into your crawlspace. The list goes on!

But what can you, the homeowner, do about this?

  1. Look up! During the next rainfall, walk around your home with an umbrella in hand, to access the gutters and downspouts ability to shed the water properly away from your home.  
    • Are there areas where the existing gutters cannot handle the flow of water off the roof and cause the water to flow over the gutters, splashing against the foundation wall?
    • Is there a downspout that empties onto the ground, that then drains back towards the house?  
    • Does the downspout simply empty its contents directly against the foundation wall?
  2. Look in! Take a peek in your crawlspace. Bigfoot does not live under there. We promise!
    • Is there evidence of standing water or areas in the foundation where you can see light coming through? This would indicate a failure in the mortar joints of the foundation.
    • The “M” word…. Is there a sign of fungal growth or mold on the wood members in the crawlspace?
    • Is the insulation hanging down or sagging from the ceiling of the crawlspace?  This is caused by moisture weighing the fiberglass down.
    • Does the crawlspace smell musty or wet?
  3. Look around! Survey your yard during the next rain and observe the flow of moisture to or from your home. You know your home better than anyone! If there is evidence of moisture in certain areas, take note and take action! Typically, allowing the moisture more time to do damage will not make the problem disappear.  

Based on your findings, the protocols for remediating the issue will be different. If water intrusion is the issue (water coming through the foundation wall), the water can be directed around the structure with perforated drain pipe. Or, piping the downspout runoff can be directed around the structure versus dumping all that watershed from the roof, directly against the foundation wall. A drain system and sump pump may be needed along the interior walls of the crawlspace.

This link provides an example of water penetrating a foundation wall from the crawlspace view.
Maybe your issue is puddling water in the crawlspace and you just can’t figure out how it is making its way into the crawlspace. This could be caused by the moisture moving under the footing and soaking into the dry soil in the crawlspace/basement as the water table rises.  This is known as hydrostatic pressure. See image below:

Rain in crawlspace - hydrostatic pressure

Another issue may be caused by the humid air becoming trapped in the crawlspace, causing the insulation to absorb the moisture. The humid air outside enters the crawlspace through the foundation vents. These vents were once thought of as the solution to wet crawlspaces.  We now know that they cause more problems than they solve. The longer humid periods throughout the year and the condensation from the duct work under our homes, causes condensation and blocking air flow, which magnify the challenge. In this case, a dehumidifier system may be needed to regulate the relative humidity in the crawlspace.

The bottom line is there are solutions are out there! Proper diagnosis is paramount.  Implementing the solution correctly is close behind in importance.

Whether gutters need to be added/adjusted, proper drainage installed around the exterior foundation walls or installing a dehumidifier in the crawlspace, Noosa Pest Management can get your home back on track to a long healthy life!

Call Noosa Pest today for a complimentary crawlspace encapsulation inspection (704-499-9922)! Our passion is to serve!