LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a damp, moldy crawlspace in your house in New York, like Claudette does, why not turn it into a basement. (chuckles) What can we do for you, Claudette?
CLAUDETTE: I’m a novice at home ownership and I have a house that I bought five years ago and it has a crawlspace under it which I knew nothing about crawlspaces before I moved in this house. The point is it’s damp, it’s moldy, it looks like Friday the 13th when you go in there. (Tom and Leslie laugh) I’m terrified of it. So I would love to find out if there’s any way you could turn a part of it into a basement. It’s now 4’5″ deep.
TOM: Well, you could deepen it into a basement but that’s not going to address your problem. Your problem is that you have a moisture problem in that crawlspace and we need to get that under control, Claudette. So let’s talk about that as the first step; because if we can dry it up, then we can talk about what you might want to do with it. You know, creating a basement from a crawlspace is a pretty big project but the first thing you want to do is get that crawlspace as dry as you possibly can.
So, most moisture problems are caused by poor drainage at the outside of your house. This means that you either don’t have a gutter system or your gutter system is clogged or your downspouts are not diverting the water away from the foundation. They’ve got to go out at least four feet.
The second thing is the angle of the soil. You’ve got to have soil that slopes away from the wall on the outside. If you have good drainage at the outside of your house, then you’re not going to have enough humidity getting into that crawlspace to cause trouble.
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