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Water in Crawlspace: Where is it Coming From?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Darryl on the line who’s got a question about a leak in a crawlspace. Tell us what’s going on.

    DARRYL: Yeah. I’ve got a house that has a crawlspace. It’s got a cement floor in it and it gets water in the crawlspace. And been trying to figure out how it’s getting in there. I’ve noticed that the vents around the foundation are not very high off of the ground and I’m wondering if maybe that’s how they’re – it’s getting in there and if I can put some window wells around those windows. I mean they’re only about – these vents are only like 12 inches by probably 8 inches. And the window wells I’ve seen are much larger.

    TOM: That’s not the issue, Darryl. Let me ask you this: when does the leaking seem to be worse? Is it consistent with heavy rains and snow melt and that sort of thing?

    DARRYL: Well, yeah, probably. But I really – it’s hard to say because it’s not that easy to access. And I just know that when I have a long dry spell, it does seem to dry up.

    TOM: So, when you have leaks in a crawlspace or even a basement that’s consistent with precipitation, it’s always caused by drainage issues at the foundation perimeter. So, by drainage issues, we’re talking about the gutters. If the gutters are clogged, if there’s not enough gutters, if there’s not enough downspouts, if the downspouts aren’t discharging well enough away from the foundation – you need to go out about 4 to 6 feet if you’re dealing with a water-infiltration issue.

    And aside from the gutters, the grading, the soil around the outside has to slope away. And so what I would do in your case is I would take a really careful look at the gutters. Because I’ve got to tell you, most of the time, that’s going to solve it. If you get – if you make sure the gutters are collecting water and discharging them far away from the foundation, that’s going to solve it.

    The way the water gets in is because when the soil at the foundation perimeter gets saturated, the foundation, being a concrete masonry structure, it’s very hydroscopic. So, literally, it soaks up moisture like a sponge. And that water can show up coming right through the floor. I’ve seen it come up like a little geyser in the middle of the floor. But it will come through that concrete cover on the floor of your crawlspace. So you need to deal with the drainage issues first. And I think that will solve it for you, Darryl.

    And by the way, on our website there is a great article, right on the home page, about how to solve wet-basement and crawlspace-flooding issues. It’s one of the most popular articles on the site. And it will walk you through the step-by-step, tell you exactly what you need to do.

    DARRYL: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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