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Why Is My Crawl Space Damp? 6 Causes and Solutions for Excessive Moisture Under Your Property

September 20, 2023

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Why is my crawl space damp? If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably asked yourself that question at least once! Damp crawl spaces are not unusual, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore the issues. Trapped dampness can risk wood rot, rusted steel pieces, mold, and other costly damage.

Factors causing a damp crawl space might include:

  1. Poor ventilation
  2. High humidity levels in your area
  3. Groundwater seepage
  4. Plumbing leaks
  5. Poor drainage
  6. Insufficient vapor barrier

These are not the only issues that often cause an overly damp crawl space. For more information about the answer to the question, why is my crawl space damp, keep reading! Also, a foundation repair contractor can assist with your home’s crawl space. Prompt repairs and waterproofing ensure a stable foundation under your home.

why is my crawl space damp

Why Is My Crawl Space Damp? Causes and Solutions

There are many reasons for a damp, musty crawl space, as said. Whatever the cause, it’s also vital that you address the issue promptly! Check out the 6 most common causes of a damp crawl space and their solutions:

1. Poor Ventilation

Inadequate ventilation can trap moisture inside the crawl space. For instance, a homeowner might build a blind or enclosure around the crawl space without adequate vents. Also, you might mistakenly keep those vents closed unnecessarily.

Proper ventilation helps remove excess moisture and maintain a dry environment. Add vents to your blind if they’re not present. Ensure you keep them open as needed, for proper ventilation. Check on items stored in the crawl space and that they’re not blocking the vents and allowing proper air circulation throughout the space.

2. High Humidity

High humidity levels in the surrounding area can lead to moisture infiltration into the crawl space. This can be caused by climate conditions or water sources nearby. In turn, it’s not unusual to see damp crawl spaces in tropical areas!

A foundation repair contractor can typically install a quality dehumidifier in these cases. This removes moisture from the air. Fans and other ventilation solutions can also reduce humidity levels.

3. Groundwater Seepage

If the water table in the area is high, groundwater can seep into the crawl space through the soil. French drains are excellent for redirecting groundwater away from the crawl space. You might also consider grading the property so that soil moisture runs in a different direction.

4. Plumbing Leaks

Leaking pipes or drainage systems within or near the crawl space can introduce moisture into the space. That moisture can then get trapped there, risking damage in several areas.

The obvious solution is to ensure your home’s plumbing is always in good condition! Schedule inspections regularly and understand signs of leaks and other issues. Invest in prompt fixes, to protect the plumbing, your home’s crawl space, and other areas.

5. Poor Drainage

Inadequate grading around the home or improperly functioning gutters and downspouts can lead to water pooling around the foundation. This water can then seep into the crawl space. Have a roofing plumber check your home’s gutters and downspouts regularly.

Also, a landscaping engineer can usually check your property’s grading. Improving grading or adding retaining walls can protect against pooling water. Certain landscape features can also absorb extra ground moisture, keeping the crawl space dry.

6. Insufficient Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier on the crawl space floor and walls can help prevent moisture from entering. If the barrier is damaged or missing, it can contribute to dampness. If you’re unsure about your home’s crawl space vapor barrier, call a foundation repair contractor. They can replace a damaged barrier or install new encapsulation as needed.

encapsulation in a crawl space

How Do I Get Rid of Dampness in My Crawl Space?

Getting rid of dampness in your crawl space involves preventing it as much as possible in the first place. Also, if you find yourself asking why is my crawl space damp, you’ll want to correct the issue at the first sign of trapped moisture. Note some vital steps you can take to address and eliminate dampness in your crawl space:

  • First, inspect the crawl space thoroughly to identify the source of moisture including leaks, standing water, or signs of condensation. Second, fix any plumbing leaks or broken drainage systems within or near the crawl space. Ensure that water is not entering from these sources.
  • Ensure your crawl space has proper ventilation. Install vents to allow air circulation, which helps reduce humidity and moisture buildup.
  • Lay down a high-quality vapor barrier on the crawl space. Covering the ground with thick plastic or heavy-duty tarps blocks condensation and morning dew.
  • Seal any gaps or cracks in the crawl space walls, foundation, and entry points to prevent moisture intrusion. This may also help keep pests out.
  • Grade the area around your home away from the foundation to ensure proper drainage. Install and maintain functional gutters and downspouts to direct rainwater away from the house.
  • In cases of high groundwater levels or frequent flooding, consider installing a sump pump with proper drainage to remove excess water. French drain systems are also excellent for redirecting groundwater away from your structure, as said.
  • Consider using a dehumidifier in the crawl space to maintain the humidity level at an appropriate range, typically between 30% and 50%. This is especially crucial in tropical areas or those with high humidity levels.

Remember that eliminating dampness in a crawl space is crucial for preventing structural damage, mold growth, and other issues that can affect the integrity of your home. When tackling the issues, why is my crawl space damp, tailor your approach to the specific conditions and needs of your crawl space. Also, consider talking to a foundation repair pro for the best results.

Indianapolis Foundation Repair Experts is happy to answer the question, why is my crawl space damp? Hopefully we’ve given you some great information to consider! Also, if you’re in the area, call our Indianapolis foundation repair contractors for expert services. We offer a full line of crawl space fixes and waterproofing solutions including vapor barrier and encapsulation installation. For more information or your FREE inspection, reach out to us today.


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