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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    43

    Default What type of pro for crawlspace isues?

    We have a damp crawlspace. Our house is 14 years old. The musty/moldy odor can be smelled on our first floor now. The insulation also has what one vendor called "powdered sugar mold" on it. We've had various companies recommend various solutions. Some have said trench work to add French drains plus power vents and a de-humidifier. Others have recommended encapsulation. The termite company said don't encapsulate because it prevents them from seeing tunneling during their annual inspection. Since the solutions vary, we don't know which way to go.

    Is there some kind of engineering specialty or professional of another kind (who doesn't have a stake in selling anything) that could give us an un-biased opinion on a solution?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    7,243

    Default Re: What type of pro for crawlspace isues?

    You need to start by figuring out where the water is coming from and then you can choose a course of action to take. 99% of sub-area moisture is due to improper grade and downspout issues. If you can't regrade, then a perimeter drainage system will be in order, again, depending on where the water is coming from and how you can discharge the drain will determine the type of drainage system you install.

    Encapsulation has never made sense to me because you aren't really encapsulating anything, all you're doing is stretching plastic everywhere that is perforated with seams and holes around footings as well as no perimeter seal. All this does is put a layer of plastic on the ground, without it being sealed, there is no encapsulation and no stoppage of moisture into the area. Worse still, you still have the problem of the water gathering under the house, which will eventually affect footings and foundations.

    Determine the cause of the water and correct those issues, do not "bandaid" them.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    2,203

    Default Re: What type of pro for crawlspace isues?

    Unless you can identify external causes that are significant, all you may need is the usual poly vapor barrier laid over the ground. The concept of this is not to stop or redirect water or moisture, but rather to reduce the ground surface area evaporating that moisture to the structure above. With adequate crawl-space ventilation this is usually enough to remedy this problem. It should be held 6" away from all walls and pier footings so that moisture build-up there can evaporate while the covered area will hopefully be absorbed by the ground. This also allows for structural and termite inspection. It always helps to eliminate water issues outside of the structure, a facet of building that often goes overlooked until a problem arises which now may be expensive or tough to solve. If you're not certain what you need, start with this- it's cheap and easy and can be left intact as part of a 'system' along with anything else you might need to do.

    Phil

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: What type of pro for crawlspace isues?

    Thanks to you both for your replies. I agree that there is an excessive amount of moisture (the existing vapor barrier isn't helping much). What type of pro do we call to address whether re-grading is the answer, trenching is the answer, etc.??

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: What type of pro for crawlspace isues?

    Who to call is a tough question. You would think that finding the cause of a drainage issue would be pretty easy, that your typical landscaper or even general contractor would be able to figure it out. Sadly, this is not the case, many just throw time and money at a problem in hopes that whatever they do fixes the issue.

    You might start with grading contractors, people familiar with drainage issues, while they may not specialize in the work specific to your needs, they would at least be able to tell you whether or not it is a grading issue and how to go about rectifying the problem if it is a grade issue. Other than that, it's going to be a matter of calling a whole bunch of contractors (general and landscaping ) until you start getting a consensus of what the issue is, then choose the person you feel most comfortable with and confident in to do the work.

    A couple things you can do now, yourself. Check your downspouts, do they drain along the foundation or do they project out at least 3 feet from the structure? The further you can get the discharge from the house, the better. The ground within 5 feet of the house, does it slope away or towards the structure? It needs to slop away or water is going to collect along the house and sub-area. What is your water table like?
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: What type of pro for crawlspace isues?

    One other thing to watch for is to be sure the crawlspace ground is not lower than the adjacent exterior ground. Over time a lot of people create this situation adding soil to make the yard 'look better' or to create gardening beds next to the house. Some older houses where built like this from the start (which codes no longer allow unless the affected walls are waterproofed). You need to have at least 16" between the soil and any part of the wood floor framing above it but within that limit you can add soil in the crawlspace to correct this, and it will alleviate at least some of the moisture.

    Agreed with A. Spruce on who to call. You'd think landscape contractors would be expert here but most of them really only know lawns and plantings, not site drainage. You'll just have to feel your way through finding the right people for that.

    Phil

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