Building An Addition: A Homeowner's Guide

4 Signs You Need To Waterproof Your Crawlspace

by Toni Richards

Owning a home can be challenging. From the actual purchase process and moving in to decorating and maintenance, it is likely that you will feel a good amount of stress while living in a house. Mowing the lawn and vacuuming your floors may be priorities, but you should also place time and energy into your crawlspace. Considering a small amount of humidity or moisture in your crawlspace can lead to unhealthy and costly problems, inspecting this space under your home periodically is imperative. If you are noticing one or more of the following signs, your home and your health is in distress.

Sagging Floors

If you live in an older home, you may think floors that are sagging in certain areas is normal. However, that is not the case. Sagging floors, whether in an older house or a new construction home, is a sure sign that you have an excessive amount of moisture in your crawlspace or basement.

Moisture and humidity can build up inside your crawlspace or basement, increasing your risk of rot and decay. This wood damage not only affects your floors, but it can also reduce the structural integrity of walls and support beams.

Floors that feel soft or bouncy while walking on them should also be replaced after eradicating the moisture under your home.

Foundation Cracks

If you have cracks in your foundation, moisture will infiltrate your crawlspace, increasing your risk of structural damage. Over time, this small amount of moisture will soak into the dirt floor of your crawlspace, increasing humidity levels in your home. This excessive amount of humidity will cause even more cracks in your foundation.

Walk around your home's exterior and check the foundation for small cracks and fissures. Be sure to seal these cracks and repair any damaged stone or brick. This will reduce the moisture content inside your crawlspace. If you do not have a vapor barrier, install one on the floor of your crawlspace immediately. This simple sheet of plastic will prevent moisture from soaking into the underlying dirt and soil.

Visible Mold

One of the most obvious signs that you have a moisture issue in your crawlspace or basement is visible mold growth.

Mold may appear as green, dark brown, or black patches of growth. It may stick to the interior walls of your foundation or the ceiling of your crawlspace. The growth is not only unattractive, but it is also very hazardous to your health.

Mold can irritate your skin and eyes, but it can also deeply affect your lungs, reducing your ability to breathe properly. Constant exposure to mold can also cause chronic allergy symptoms, such as itchy and red eyes, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and uncomfortable rashes on the skin.

A complete mold remediation by a licensed professional is essential before repairing any structural damage.

Pest Infestations

Pests are attracted to moisture. If you have standing water or high levels of humidity in your crawlspace or basement, you will most likely have some sort of pest infestation.

Damp crawlspaces are not only ideal spaces for rodents and insects, but they also make excellent feeding grounds for termites. Termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage each year in the United States, so preventing these pests from your home is smart.

You may not think about your crawlspace, but maintaining this area is important for the structure and health of your home. Reduce moisture in and around your home by sealing your crawlspace for the ultimate in protection against wood rot, mold growth, and pest infestation. With this guide, you will know if your crawlspace or basement has high levels of humidity or excess moisture that can lead to expensive and unhealthy issues. 

For more information and help, contact a professional crawlspace waterproofing company in your area.