Is water in a crawl space after heavy rain normal? It depends on what you mean by “normal.” If by “normal” you mean something you don’t need to worry about, then no. Water in a crawl space after heavy rain is not normal. It’s a sign of an immediate problem with possible long-term effects that you need to worry about it.
This article will go over what you need to know about water in crawl space after heavy rain, water in a crawl space in general, ways water gets into a crawl space, how to prevent water from getting into your home’s crawl space, and more.
If your home sits atop a crawl space foundation, it sits from 1.5 to 3 feet off the ground. This creates an empty area underneath the foundation known as the “crawl space.” The crawl space is just big enough for an adult to crawl around in. Crawl space foundations have been popular for decades because they offer easy access to the home’s plumbing and electrical wiring. If a crawl space is encapsulated (more on this below), it can even be used for storage.
Homes in the Greater Hampton Roads area are primarily built on crawl space foundations.
Water in a crawl space after heavy rain means you have a problem with drainage around your home’s foundation. Is it normal? Let’s say it’s pretty common. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Water in a crawl space can cause a lot of trouble for your home’s foundation because it causes mold to form, which will rot away at the wood structures in your crawl space and attract wood-eating pests, which will cause even more damage. (We’re going to talk more about this in just a bit.)
If the soil around your home’s foundation is prone to erosion, water in a crawl space can cause damage simply by washing away the soil around and under the foundation. This exposes more of the foundation wall than should be exposed and destabilizes the piers in the crawl space as well.
Your crawl space can get wet via:
When there’s excess moisture in the soil around the foundation, hydrostatic pressure builds up and pushes against the foundation walls. If there are tiny cracks in the wall, hydrostatic pressure will force the water through the cracks and into the crawl space. Hydrostatic pressure can even cause cracks in foundation walls.
Once the soil inside the crawl space is moist, condensation will form, leading to mold and mildew. For more information, see Don’t DIY. Hire a professional to inspect your crawl space.
Signs you might have water in your crawl space include:
Water in a crawl space can negatively affect your home in the following ways:
Preventing a wet crawl space is easier than repairing the damage caused by a wet crawl space.
You can prevent water and moisture in a crawl space by getting groundwater under control. The best way to do that is to install a drain tile system along with a sump pit and sump pump.
A drain tile system works by collecting excess water in the soil and channeling it into the sump pit. When the pit fills with water, the sump pump turns on and releases the water away from the foundation.
If you want to kick it up a notch, you can also have your crawl space encapsulated. Crawl space encapsulation involves covering the walls and floor of the crawl space with a thick vapor barrier, effectively sealing off the crawl space from the dirt floor. A dehumidifier is commonly added along with encapsulation. The result is a crawl space that’s clean and dry enough to use for storage.
Other ways to control groundwater around your home’s foundation include:
While we understand the desire to save money, it’s best to call an experienced, licensed crawl space repair and waterproofing professional unless you like crawling around dark, damp, claustrophobic spaces. Whatever you do, don’t enter your crawl space without breathing protection and heavy protective clothing.
Your home’s crawl space may be out of sight, but that doesn’t mean it should be out of mind. Contact us today for a free inspection and repair estimate if you have water in your crawl space and you’re in our service area – Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas in Virginia.