Discovering you have a flooded crawl space, or not even knowing about it, is never a good thing. You can rest easy, though, knowing that it is not only possible to repair a damaged crawl space but to use one again after it’s flooded.
Why Has My Crawl Space Flooded?
Your crawl space is most likely to flood after it has been forced to endure intense hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure, or the influence of water on the materials supporting your home, forces the particles making up your crawl space’s walls and structural supports to rapidly change in size. To compensate for the amount of stress that they’re under, those materials can crack, thereby allowing water into your home. As more moisture makes its way into your crawl space, your structural supports may begin to fail, meaning that it’s possible for additional cracks and leaks to break out.
That said, there are more threats to your crawl space than just your area groundwater. Tree roots can negatively impact the integrity of your crawl space. While these roots will never attack your home directly, they can grow in such a way that they force your crawl space to sink into gaps they’ve left in the soil.
Animals can cause problems in this way. Groundhogs, rabbits, and other burrowing creatures can dig up to 45 feet of burrows beneath your home, creating the perfect environment to trigger early foundation and crawl space sinkage and settlement.
Signs of Crawl Space Damage
It’s not always easy to tell when you may be contending with crawl space damage. Floods tend to give themselves away quite readily, but the signs that indicate your crawl space may be vulnerable to that kind of damage don’t always.
Some of the most common signs of water damage that you’ll want to be on the lookout for before a heavy rain include:
- Pre-existing seepage
- Cooler temperatures throughout your crawl space
- High levels of humidity in your home
- Damaged belongings
- Lowered water pressure
Fixing Your Crawl Space
As soon as you spot water in your crawl space, you’re going to want to act. It is in your best interest to try and find the leak that’s letting water into your home as soon as you can. This way, you can work with professionals to temporarily patch said leak and, from there, bail out your crawl space.
The temporary seal will give you the time you need to move any belongings out of your crawl space and into a safer environment. Once you’re satisfied with your work there, you can discuss more permanent repair measures with area professionals. Note that the damage your home is facing may not be in your crawl space at all but rather in your foundation. In turn, you can discuss piering, floor joist stabilization, and any other means you may need to invest in to get your crawl space back up to snuff.
Preventing Future Damage
After you’ve repaired your crawl space, it is in your best interest to invest in those waterproofing measures that will help you prevent similar damage in the future. It’s usually best, in these circumstances, to work with a professional to determine what home waterproofing measures might suit your home best. Trying to DIY a home waterproofing solution for your crawl space can often be both costly and ineffective.
With that in mind, some of the most effective waterproofing measures for your crawl space include:
- Interior drainage
- Sump pumps
- Full encapsulation with a vapor barrier
- Waterproof insulation
If you’re not sure where to start when repairing or protecting your crawl space, don’t worry. The professional contractors serving Orlando, FL, like Florida Foundation Authority can help with a free home inspection and quote on repair services you might be interested in.
Can You Use a Crawl Space After It Floods?
With all of that in mind, is it possible to take advantage of a crawl space after it floods? If you invest in repairs and preventative measures, yes. A professionally repaired crawl space can help you restore the overall health of your home, not to mention the home’s economic value.
If you leave your crawl space without repairs, however, it will be dangerous to try and store anything in it. Likewise, your home may begin to suffer from additional signs of water damage, with floors and walls at greater risk for bowing.