How To Dry Out a Crawl Space [Your Expert Guide]

March 8, 2023

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Not every home will have a crawl space as the foundation. But when it does, you’ll know it because it is an area of the house where someone can crawl underneath it. Since this part of the home is exposed to exterior conditions regularly, some water may get in this area. However, as long as it dries quickly, this area shouldn’t have problems. Unfortunately, some crawl spaces collect too much moisture, causing massive foundation problems. Here is how to dry out a crawl space and protect your foundation’s structural integrity. 

how to dry out a crawl space

What is the Purpose of a Crawl Space?

A lot of homes have slab or basement foundations. The drawback of these types of homes is that these foundations come in direct contact with the soil underneath the home. As a result, these homes can suffer a lot of damage as the soil shifts underneath and around the home’s foundation walls. Crawl spaces provide a buffer between the home and the soil, preventing the soil from touching the home’s foundation. While this does have its advantages, across base can present its own moisture challenges just like other types of foundations. 

How Does Water Get Into a Crawl Space?

Compared to basement foundations and slab foundations, crawl spaces may have more exposure to the elements. Although they are usually accessible through a small hatch, these areas of the house may allow more water than other types of foundations. a well-built crawl space should effectively keep moisture at bay. However, even the best-built crawl spaces may have some trouble during the lifetime of the house, and we’ll need repairs. This is because water may find a way to get into the home and start to cause damage in your crawl space.

What Happens When Moisture Gets Into a Crawl Space

When moisture gets into a crawl space, you can count on damages to start occurring in the foundation of your home. Water is a home’s number one enemy since it causes so much corrosion and wood rot. So, to keep your home’s crawl space safe, it is a good idea to keep moisture out of this area. If water gets into this area, you may experience a pest infestation, toxic mold growth, flooding, or severe structural damage to your foundation. 

How to Dry Out a Wet Crawl Space

If your crawl space has moisture issues, it is a good idea to call a foundation company to resolve these issues before they cause severe damage to your home’s foundation. Here are some ways that a foundation company will eliminate water from the crawl space. However, before they can eliminate the water, they will have first to find out how the water is getting into the house. Here are a few ways water could be getting into your crawl space.

Look For the Source of the Water

Before a foundation contractor fixes the moisture problems in your crawl space, they will discover how water is getting into the crawl space in the first place. Here are some common ways water could be getting in.

wet crawl space

Improper Yard Drainage

One way water may be getting into your house is because of improper yard drainage. If your yard isn’t properly graded, water from rainfall or irrigation may not be moving off your property as fast as it should. As a result, puddles of water may be stagnant on your property for several days after a rainstorm or after you water your grass. Some of this standing water may be leaking into your crawl space, creating a moisture problem.

Gutter Repairs

Another way water could be getting into your crawl space is through a faulty gutter. if you don’t get regular roof cleanings which include gutter cleanings, it’s possible that water isn’t flowing through your gutters properly and away from your home. As a result, water that isn’t channeling away from your home may be spilling water from the gutter into your crawl space. Additionally, if you don’t have extenders on your gutters, water could be back flowing into your crawl space this way.

Cracks or Openings in the Crawl Space 

Crawl spaces typically have enclosures that help protect the area underneath the house from allowing water inside. Occasionally, these can become damaged by cracks or holes, and when it rains, water maybe seep in through these openings. 

Once a contractor locates the source of the water,  the way that it is getting in will have to be resolved before they can fix the foundation. And instances where water is getting in through the gutters, you will have to contact a  pressure washing company to clean the gutters. Or if the gutters are damaged, you will have to contact a roofing company to replace them. If the water is getting in through poor yard grading, you will have to contact a landscaping company to improve the drainage on your lawn. For at least getting in through the base of the foundation, the contractor or handyman may be able to patch these holes.

Make Sure to Replace Water-Damaged Items

Once the source of the water has been located and stopped, a foundation contractor can begin working on keeping water out of the crawl space. But the very next step will be to remove any items destroyed by water damage first. 

Insulation

One thing that may have gotten damaged by water in your crawl space is the insulation. Wet insulation can lead to mold problems, pest infestations, and terrible odors. it will also lessen the effectiveness of the insulation in your home. So the insulation when replacing it before they can proceed with protecting your crawl space from moisture.

Wood Beams

Another thing that may have gotten damaged by water is the wood beams underneath your home. Water-damaged wood framing can eventually lead to wood rot. They can also attract damaging pests such as termites, wood-boring beetles, and carpenter ants. So if there are beams that have been damaged by water, they will need to be replaced before they can proceed with combating the moisture issue. 

damaged insulation in a a crawl space

Crawl Space Encapsulation or Vapor Barriers

A foundation expert will proceed with drying out your crawl space in one of these ways: installing a vapor barrier or crawl space encapsulation. While both of these methods are similar, there is a slight difference. Vapor barriers primarily cover the floor of a crawl space. A foundation expert may lay down a vapor barrier if moisture is not a huge problem but still is significant. Encapsulation is when contractors cover the floor and walls, and other critical parts of the crawl space with a vapor barrier. This is the best way to keep moisture out because it provides far more coverage and protection, but it’s usually for extremely damp conditions in a crawl space. 

Installing a Dehumidifier

In most cases, crawl space encapsulation or laying down a vapor barrier will be enough to remove moisture from a crawl space. However, if you live in an area where humidity is very high, it may be necessary also to install a dehumidifier to help control the humidity level underneath the home. 

According to Forbes, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $30,000 for encapsulation, with the average homeowner paying about $15,750. Keep in mind that getting pressure washing for your gutters, replacing the gutters, and improving your yard drainage can also increase your final costs. Here are some other added charges you may incur for moisture problems in your crawl space not directly related to crawl space encapsulation. 

crawl space encapsulation waterproofing method

Mold Remediation

Unfortunately, one of the casualties that your crawl space may experience is a mold problem. If you have mold growing, you will have to get mold remediation before a foundation company can proceed with encapsulating or installing a vapor barrier in your crawl space. According to Forbes, Abatement could cost between $500 and $4,000. 

Eliminating Pests

The moisture in your crawl space may have created a pest problem. On average, a pest infestation may run between $250 and $600. However, if your pest problem involves termites, you could pay between $2,000 – $8,000. Keep in mind that some pest issues may require more than one treatment. So this can also drive up additional costs. 

Overall, the costs to keep water out of your crawl space may cost you more than you bargained for. With all the extras that you may have to add to your bottom line, you could have a problem that can cost you up to $50,000 to fix. 

To minimize the high costs associated with foundation repairs, it is ideal to start getting regular foundation inspections. The foundation contractors at Bloomington Foundation Repair Experts suggest that you get foundation inspections twice a year, preferably in the fall and in spring, to ensure that your foundation is safe. Call Bloomington Foundation Repair at (309) 220-3907 to schedule your inspection and get a FREE estimate on this service. 

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