LESLIE: Robert in Alaska is on the line with a crawlspace situation. Tell us what’s going on.
ROBERT: Basically, what I’ve got going on is we had a lot of rain this summer, so I had water kind of penetrate the foundation. And I was wondering if there is anything I could do from the inside to maybe stop some of that penetration from coming in and getting on the wood that’s holding up the, I guess, the floor.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. Now, are you talking about concrete-block walls?
TOM: OK. So a couple of things. First of all, we want to make sure that you are doing what you can to slow the collection of water from outside moving inside. So that means looking at your gutter system, making sure you have gutters and that they’re diverting water away from the house, not just a couple of feet from the foundation but well away. And make sure that the angle of the soil around the foundation slopes away and that will do a lot to move the water away from that backfill zone.
Inside the crawlspace, you can add a vapor barrier to the soil and that will stop moisture from evaporating up. And on the blocks themselves, you can apply a product called Ames’ Blue Max, which is a rubber paint. It’s very stretchable and it adheres really well. And when you apply it to the block, it stops any moisture from coming through the block. Ames is spelled A-m-e-s and the product is called Blue Max. You can search for it online. Their website is AmesResearch.com.
ROBERT: OK. Good deal. Yeah, I’ve got a company coming in to, I guess, dig the outside of the foundation and lay some drainage this spring – this coming spring – so …
TOM: OK. Well, let me stop you right there, OK? Because that’s not likely going to help you and it’s not necessary.
ROBERT: Oh, OK.
TOM: If that moisture is consistent with rainfall – in other words, you get a lot of rain, like you mentioned, and then you get leakage – then putting all those drainage pipes and disturbing all that soil is really not the way to go. If you improve your gutter system and you improve the grading – the angle of the soil around the foundation perimeter – that stops the majority of that surface water from getting in.
TOM: The only time we recommend drainage systems, like what you’re describing, is when you have a rising water table which, if you did, you wouldn’t be getting leakage that’s consistent with rainfall.
ROBERT: Ah, OK. Well, good. That’s important to know then.
TOM: Yep. So now there you go; saved you a bunch of money.
ROBERT: Oh, yes, you did.
TOM: You’ve got it, Robert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.