A crawl space is a big asset to your property. It provides you with an insulated space to keep your home protected from the elements, and it also makes foundation inspection and other tasks simple. Of course, while there is an element of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to your crawl space, you still need to make sure it is well-maintained. Otherwise, the structure of your house might be at risk.
This is why crawl space drainage and waterproofing are so important. Keeping the space and everything in it dry and free from water damage is one of your top priorities. Read on to discover more as we explore this in detail.
Crawl Space Waterproofing
Crawl space waterproofing means adding protection to the space to prevent water from entering. It’s certainly much easier to prevent water damage than to have to remedy it after the event, which means waterproofing is your best bet for keeping your crawl space safe and ready for use.
So how exactly do you go about waterproofing your crawl space? There are a number of different strategies you can employ here.
Sealing cracks and other water entry points
The process of waterproofing is a simple one — you are trying to keep water from getting into the space. This means applying polyurethane sealant or another waterproof compound to cracks and fissures in the external wall and in the foundation. Remember, groundwater can swell up from below, so be sure to seal all cracks, even those in the floor.
Doors represent potential weak points in the crawl space, so pay particular attention to these. Make sure no water is seeping through, and apply sealant strips around the edge of the door to prevent the entry of water.
Encapsulating the base of the crawl space
Water can rise through the base of the crawl space, causing structural damage to the property. Encapsulation can prevent this with a waterproof liner that is placed across the base and sealed.
You can extend encapsulation to cover areas such as the walls and beams. This provides extra protection from any water that threatens to seep into the space.
Analyzing the space and repairing the foundation
Spend time analyzing any areas where water could enter, particularly after a period of rain. Look for areas of grit or grime that may have been washed into the property by flowing water, and check for pools that may have formed as a result of rain or heavy weather.
Damage to the foundation may result in weak points where water can enter. This may even begin to wear away and corrupt any encapsulation materials. Make any foundation repairs required to shore up your crawl space’s leak defenses.
Mitigating flooding and excess water around the home
Take a look around your home. Are there any places where water is seeping in? Are there any areas of standing water around the property’s exterior? These could cause flooding in your crawl space.
Take time to mitigate these areas of excess water, and identify the source. This strategy for crawl space waterproofing involves taking a holistic view of the whole property, discovering how stormwater and groundwater are affecting the entire structure.
Crawl Space Drainage
While keeping water out of your crawl space is the key aim, some water in the crawl space after heavy rain is normal. You will need to back up your waterproofing efforts with drainage strategies that remove this water quickly before it causes damage.
Deploying a sump pump
A sump pump will pump water directly out of your crawl space should any of your waterproofing measures fail. Place the sump pump in the lowest area of your crawl space, as this is typically where standing water will flow to.
Utilizing dehumidifier systems
Water may evaporate into the air within your crawl space. This can cause problems with mold, mildew and other potentially damaging effects. During periods of high humidity, or following water leakage, use a dehumidifier system to remove excess moisture from the air.
Using a French drain
A French drain is a small trench that is dug into the floor of the crawl space and filled with aggregate such as rocks or gravel. This is a simple way to ensure good drainage in your crawl space.
French Drain in a Crawl Space: The Key Benefits
We’ve already touched on deploying a French drain in your crawl space above, but let’s take a look at the benefits this strategy offers to your home.
- Cheap and easy to install — No prior engineering knowledge or industry skill is required to deploy a French drain. It simply requires a trench to be dug and then filled with aggregate.
- Effective at directing water away from your crawl space — While the French drain is certainly cheap, it’s also effective. It provides a safe means of keeping water out of your crawl space.
- Easy to maintain in the long-term — As it has no man made components or engineered parts, a French drain is very easy to maintain.
Keeping Water Out of Your Crawl Space Requires a Double Strategy
With the right strategies, you will quickly learn how to keep water out of your crawl space. However, no strategy is perfect, so you will need to back this up with a drainage method. French drains, dehumidifiers and sump pumps can help you drain water out of your crawl space should a leak occur.
To find out more about keeping water out of your crawl space, take a look at our handy resource pages.