Most homeowners understand that preventing basement water problems helps to protect not only their foundations but also their entire home from the effects of water damage. In the Milwaukee area, whether the foundation is constructed of the more common concrete block or poured concrete, homeowners wisely take precautions and perform needed repairs to keep their homes dry and healthy.
However, some homeowners who may not have full basements or basements at all think their homes are immune from water seepage and the problems it can cause. These homes typically have crawl spaces that are every bit as exposed to seepage problems as are full-depth basements.
When you think about it, a crawl space is simply a miniature basement. It’s not deep enough to stand up in and it may not be usable for much besides storage but it’s still an open, underground space within the walls of a foundation. As such, it’s subject to all the seepage problems of a full basement:
Water can seep in through porous concrete block, deteriorated mortar joints or cracks in poured concrete.
Seepage can occur in the cove joint or over the top of the foundation wall.
Water can enter around windows or spots where pipe or vents penetrate the wall.
Also, because many crawl spaces have only floors of gravel or dirt, ground water can seep in from below.
If a crawl space with seepage problems is neglected, even if the crawlspace is never used for anything, serious problems can result, including high humidity in the living space above and the growth of mold that can lead to poor air quality in the home and various illnesses.
Of course, all of the remedies for basement water problems can be applied to crawl spaces, including interior or exterior drain tile, exterior waterproofing membrane, crack injection and installing a sump pump. Also, concrete floors can be poured to eliminate seepage or dampness from below. However, there is one repair method unique to crawl spaces that can be a solution to almost every seepage problem – crawl space encapsulation.
In crawl space encapsulation, modern plastics are used to cover and seal the floor and wall surfaces of the crawl space. A heavyweight semi-rigid plastic barrier is placed over the existing gravel or dirt floor. This barrier is 3- to 6-times thicker than typical vapor barriers. Then, a waterproof insulating barrier is applied all the way to the top of the walls, which not only seals the space against seepage but increases energy efficiency and inhibits the growth of mold as well.
Other advantages of crawl space encapsulation for the Milwaukee homeowner include protection against insect infiltration, better air quality in the home and the use of a clean, bright space for storage.
So, if your home has a crawl space, either in place of or as part of a basement, please don’t think you are free from water seepage through your foundation. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve helped homeowners in southeastern Wisconsin for more than 30 years and our experience and capabilities can also ensure that your home will be a dry and healthy one. Why not schedule a free consultation?
Have thoughts of your own about the importance of crawl spaces? We’d love to hear them in the Comments box below.