Water in crawl spaces and wet crawl spaces
Water in crawl spaces and wet crawl spaces are common problems found during home inspections. If corrective actions are not taken, water in crawl spaces should be expected to continue to occur as will damages.
Frequently water in crawl spaces and wet crawl spaces are common problems that are easily cured.
Prior to expiration of your inspection contingency, you should obtain a sworn statement from the sellers detailing the frequency and severity of water in the crawl space that have occurred in the past. Although past water seepage and leakage are not absolute signs of future leakage the odds are about 100% if a problem existed in the past that it will not get better.
The vast majority of water in crawl space problems are the result of insufficient control of stormwater at the surface. Allowing water to pond around a home is one sure way to allow surface water to do damage. The ground around the house must be sloped so water flows away from the foundations. Make sure the gutters and downspouts should act to collect roof water and drain the water at least five (5) feet from the foundation, or into a functional storm sewer.
Surface water is frequently found right near where water in crawl space problems exists on the outside. Downspouts that are clogged or broken below grade level, or that discharge too close to the foundation, are the most common sources of basement leakage. In the event that crawl space water infiltration occurs, lot and roof drainage improvements should be undertaken as a first step.
DRAINAGE NEAR BUILDING QUESTIONABLE: In arid climates, many structures have been built with little consideration given to drainage and when it rains (which is seldom) problems may surface.
Water in the basement and water in crawl spaces are problems frequently found during a New Jersey home inspection.
In areas where rain is more common, homeowner modifications, fences, outbuildings, and other add-ons increase the potential for drainage problems, wet basements and other deterioration.
Sidewalks, patios or driveways, which hold water against foundations, are often major contributors to this problem In newer construction most municipalities require proper grading away from the structure, usually a 2% slope for at least 5 feet, but anything can happen during initial landscaping and after the first owner takes possession.
In parts of the country where stucco is used as exterior siding high alkaline soil–especially when wet-may cause it to spall and flake away or cause the foundations themselves to effloresce and disintegrate.
Buildings with slab floors partly or totally below ground level and those with basements may experience water soaking through foundations and exterior walls.
A hillside property with a long driveway going down to the house may experience water running down the driveway into the house or pooling water against the foundation.
If the inspector describes the problem as typical or minor you probably need only restrict the amount of water allowed next to the building foundation If it is necessary to pursue the problem further the first step is to find where the water is coming from.
Is it coming from yard sprinklers, rainwater from the roof, down the driveway, from underground, etc.?
A roof collects a lot of water and is the source of water infiltration into the basement and water in crawl space, problems frequently found during a New Jersey home inspection. Problems and water problems associated with the foundation, yard grading or the neighbors yard might be the source. It is rarely possible for the inspector to be certain what the total source of the water is. The owner’s observations are the primary clues to the possible nature of any water problem If the problem is severe, the water should be “collected.”
In many cases, this starts with roof gutters and downspouts. Water usually should not be allowed to run off the roof anywhere it wants. It should be brought down where it can be handled. Gutters then need to be inspected and cleaned periodically; they have a way of being plugged up when they are needed the most. Catch basins located at low “swampy” spots in the yard are good collectors. Paved gutters are sometimes helpful but only for surface runoff.
Sometimes the source of water problems is in water moving beneath the ground and out of sight. This water can be collected by means of a french drain, weep drain, or subterranean drain. This drain intercepts the water below the ground. The difficulty with this type of drain is in deciding where to put it and how deep. Since no one can see what is going on beneath the ground some uncertain judgments have to be made. Probably, almost any drainage problem could be solved by a large enough system. However, as a french drain goes deeper, the cost goes up more than proportionately.
Finally, the water collected has to be conducted away to a safe point of discharge. It may be necessary, in some more advanced cases, to provide yard drains to the street. These are really quite simple to install and very inexpensive but do require a weekend or two of your time. Trench digging will be required and should be attempted only by those with strength and stamina.
Simple yard drains will, of course, only be possible if your yard is above the street. If your property is below the street or other proper discharge points, then use of a sump pump, to pump the water to a higher level, may be necessary.
Water in a basement, or water in a crawl space, are problems frequently found during a New Jersey home inspection.
The above information was provided by TWI Systems Copyright 1995-2005 1-800-553-5660