Why Is There Water In Crawl Space And How To Fix It?

More than just an inconvenience, water in crawl space can seriously harm the value of your house. Mold issues can develop when standing water or even constant moisture in the air. 

At worst, moisture in a crawlspace can cause rot and decay that damage structural components and necessitate costly structural repairs. 

Fortunately, you can prevent and cure this problem by concentrating on the causes. You may learn everything you need to know about the causes of water in crawl spaces from this article, including what to do about it.


Normal vs. hazardous water levels 

Water is typically found in the crawl space. After a heavy downpour or storm, you might find a little in a crawl space with a dirt floor, but that’s what the area is meant to accomplish. However, there should be a concern if there are significant pools of standing water. 


These waters support massive mold overgrowths and other microbial growths that harm your home and reduce its value.

Your crawl spaces may show signs of excessive amounts of water, including:

  • Greater than an inch or two, lasting longer than a day
  • Water that has a noticeable mold and mildew odor
  • Transformation of transparent watercolor into green or yellowish hues
  • Water that is viscous and thick

The first step in resolving such issues and averting future costly problems in terms of money and health is to comprehend the causes of standing water that may end up in a crawl space. Look at typical reasons contractors or inspectors find water in crawl spaces.

Water in crawl space: 9 reasons

Preventive techniques are the best way to deal with water in crawl space. Here are some ways water can enter your home and some strategies to prevent it from becoming a short-term or long-term problem.


A poor grade

You should aim for a slope of 6 to 8 inches from the foundation walls and make it a habit to check your grade whenever the ground thaws each year. If the winter washed away any parts of the structure or caused any shifts, you will then be able to fix them.


Gutter and downspout problems

Dirty or blocked gutters and broken downspouts frequently cause crawl space leaks. Make sure to regularly clean your gutters to remove leaves and other debris that can clog them. You should divert your downspouts as far away from your foundation as possible, and they should have a two-foot splash block at the bottom to reroute streams.


To prevent leaks on your property, appropriate grading is essential. To prevent water from collecting around or entering your home, you must ensure the grading surrounding the foundation and crawl space is sufficiently sloped.

Expert evaluation of downspout issues is necessary, as well as the creation of appropriate water rerouting strategies away from your home. Buildings with downspouts facing away from them and those without any are more likely to have standing water problems.


Problems with groundwater

Underground water sources are the root of any difficulties with subterranean water in crawl spaces. Broken city lines are the most typical. If you are certain that this is the water source in crawl space, contact the local government to come to the scene and repair any leaky lines on their end. 

Even though you did not cause the leaks, you are nonetheless responsible for the harm the water did to your house.


Wall problems at the foundation


Foundation walls can build a dam that allows water to seep underneath. Even a minor breach will allow water in crawl space, where it will eventually settle. Over time, the water may erode that gap, causing it to deteriorate more.


Difficulties with underground drainage

Underground drains that were not correctly built may be clogged, broken, or have insufficient slopes. With time, water leaks will become more noticeable and eventually find their way into your crawl space.


Little capacity of the drainage system

A drainage system may not handle the amount of water produced by rainfall. This can cause sizable pools of water to accumulate, eventually leaking into the ground, your basement, and your crawlspace.


Over-irrigation of flowerbeds

Your direct actions may have caused water in crawl space. For instance, if you leave a hose running too long, close to the edge of your foundation, water may collect, pass into your basement, and then flood your crawl space. You’ll want to be on the lookout for this because emergency water damage services are not usually very affordable.

You may quickly fix this by turning off the water or changing the sprinkler. If the water that collects has led to erosion, you should fill the area with compacted dirt and make sure to make a slope that allows water to flow away from the foundation.


Leaking pipe


If a water pipe leaks or bursts, water will spill into places, it shouldn’t, including your crawl space. Have a professional plumber check the entire piping system and rectify any leaks to avoid similar situations.


Crawl space has water because of a busted pipe

Making a routine visual inventory of your home to locate any evident damp areas and their sources is one of the most significant ways to keep it safe. The sooner you address a situation, the less potential for standing water to cause long-term damage. Take crawl space encapsulation into consideration to prevent future issues.

Water in crawl space: Identify the Water’s Source

It’s critical to determine whether standing water on the ground results from groundwater—water seeping up from the earth or flowing in—or is coming from above grade. Water above grade typically results from leaks in plumbing components, drain pipes, or water supply pipes located below the house’s floor.

Find your crawl space’s access opening. It could be a hatch in the floor or an exterior hatchway in the wall surrounding the crawlspace, frequently found in a utility room or closet. Enter the crawl space and investigate every location, both the ground and the structural parts of the home above you. 

Wear durable work clothing, a bright flashlight, and plastic sheeting to protect your clothes as you crawl around. On the wooden pillars, piers, and upper structural parts of the house, look for evidence of standing or puddling water and discoloration brought on by mildew and wood rot.

Water in crawl space: What you’ll require

Having the proper information to do any activity is critical, as is having the right tools and resources to make your work easier and less complicated. Let’s see those essential tools and materials:


Resources / Tools

  • Measure tape, a shovel
  • string and wooden stakes
  • Flashlight


  • Drainage rock in bags
  • Rolls of kraft paper or sheet plastic
  • Flexible drain pipe with holes
  • Vapor-blocking plastic
  • Outlet GFCI Sump pump

As you are now aware of all the necessary tools and materials, ensure that you have them on hand before beginning your task to deal with water in crawl space.

Water in crawl space: Instructions

Setting up a perimeter inside the crawl space and catching any water that tries to infiltrate it are the general steps in controlling water in crawl space. When the water reaches this border, it is channeled into gravel-filled channels and fed to a sump pump pit by gravity. The water is subsequently pumped from the crawl space by the sump pump

Take away the vapor barrier

If there is a plastic vapor barrier in your crawl area already, it needs to be taken out, rolled up, and removed through the access door.

Create a trench

Using the internal foundation as a reference point, dig a trench around it. With an inch of slope per ten feet, a typical trench will be 18 inches deep, 9 to 12 inches broad, and have a slope of one. 

Usually, the trench is between 8 and 24 inches from the foundation. The foundation and the house could be compromised if the trench were closer to the foundation. 

Install the drain pipe

In the ditch, place the perforated drain pipe. This will assist in gathering water and directing it to where the sump pump will operate.

Place gravel in the trench

Drain rock filling in the trench is used to conceal the drain pipe.

Spread the soil

Spread and distribute residual soil from the trench, digging evenly across the crawl area.

Set up a GFCI outlet.

Install a ground-fault-protected outlet in the crawl space, or hire an electrician to do it for you.

Set up a sump pump

A sump pump will be installed at the bottom of the perimeter trench. When water collects in the trench, this pump will automatically engage.

Set up a discharge pipe

The sump pump’s discharge line will be routed to a suitable discharge point outside the crawl space.

Install a new vapor barrier

To prevent vapor migration from the ground, install a new 6 mm vapor barrier over the crawl space’s ground.

Install the ventilation system

Install new vents in the crawl space’s external wall if cross ventilation is insufficient. Electric ventilation fans may be installed in very large spaces to promote cross-ventilation.

You will undoubtedly finish your assignment correctly if you adhere to the instructions above.

Water in crawl space: When should you hire a professional?

Water mitigation is not challenging or sophisticated to understand, but it is back-breaking physical labor. The majority of people choose to hire a contractor. Some factors complicate the process for the do-it-yourself homeowner. 

For starters, a GFCI outlet for the sump pump must be placed in the crawl space. This outlet must already be installed, or you must hire an electrician. You can do the work yourself as a do-it-yourselfer, but you must have an electrical permit and obey the code.

In addition, maneuvering in a crawl space can be challenging. A crawl area 4 to 5 feet high is considered spacious, although even at this size, it is difficult to walk about in. Many subterranean spaces only have two to three feet of vertical space. Hundreds of pounds of bagged drain rock and the perforated pipe must be hauled into the crawl area.

There may be only one little door leading to the crawl area, and it may be in an awkward location, such as a bedroom closet or kitchen pantry.

Wrapping up

Since water in crawl spaces can cause rot and decay, weakening structural components and necessitating major architectural repairs. Moisture can also breed termites, carpenter ants, and other insects that can cause harm to your home. 

Water under the house attracts animals you want to keep away, such as rats and raccoons. However, by considering the causes and performing simple fixes, you can easily resolve the water in the crawl space issue.

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Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is an ambitious entrepreneur who has been in the business of building homes since he was 19. Michael's commitment to honesty, integrity, and high-quality workmanship has earned him a reputation as one of the best in the business.

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