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5 Crawlspace Waterproofing Mistakes (And How to Fix Them!)



Crawlspace waterproofing is much more than throwing down some plastic and hoping your water problems are solved. Today we are highlighting a few of the biggest crawlspace waterproofing mistakes and how to remedy them. Proper crawl space waterproofing involves humidity control, soil vapor control, mold prevention and/or removal, removing water, preventing future flooding, and air quality treatment. When done properly, all of these problems should be addressed. When not done properly, you will find recurring water issues in your crawl space and ultimately the home you live in!


Crawlspace Waterproofing Mistake #1: No Sump Pump/Gravity Fed Drainage Only

Many crawl spaces have some sort of drainage system installed. When we find a crawl space that relies solely on gravity to divert the water, we usually find some water problems. Unless your home is intentionally built on an unlevel foundation with a natural slope, gravity-fed only drainage systems usually do not get the job done. A sump pump ensures that the water is properly diverted away from the crawlspace instead of sitting stagnant on the crawlspace earth encouraging mold, mildew, pests, and more. 


Crawlspace Waterproofing Mistake #2: No Basin with Your Sump Pump

A basin keeps mud and debris from entering the sump pump and causing problems. The sump pump should not be in a dirt hole or just sitting on the ground. If a large piece of debris (such as larger rocks or other debris from the mud around the pump) gets into the sump pump, it can become stuck in the on position and run indefinitely, causing damage or even failure of the pump altogether. Some mud or fine particles will be in the water but you want to avoid the larger debris and using a basin does just that. 


Install your sump pump with a basin under it. You don’t want to have to repair or worse, replace the sump pump because of a simple mistake like a missing basin! 


Crawlspace Waterproofing Mistake #3: The Basin is Not Installed Deep Enough

The basin under your sump pump should be dug deep enough into the ground so the top of the basin is level with the floor of your crawlspace.  Depending on the size of the basin (most are around 15 gallons) the hole depth should be around 2-3 ft deep. Water will follow the path of least resistance. We want the least resistant path to be towards the basin and sump pump so that water is properly diverted away. When the basin is above ground level you are leaving the chance of pooling water around it. When the basin is dug too deep erosion of the ground around the basin can occur even with the plastic vapor barrier in place which could cause problems in the future. 

Bury the basin deep enough so that the rim is even with your floor to eliminate these issues. 


Crawlspace Waterproofing Mistake #4: Sump Pump Pipes are not Secured to Floor Joists

As your sump pump works to move the water from your crawlspace, it does so powerfully! Its strong movement of water can cause the pipes coming from it to rock back and forth. While this problem does not usually happen immediately, over time this rocking motion can cause stress on the pvc pipes or the glue connecting them and cause them to disconnect or crack. This means the water it is supposed to be pumping out from under your home is falling right back to its undesired location- your crawlspace! 

To remedy this problem, secure the PVC pipes that are coming from your sump pump to a floor joist nearby. Give them an anchor and rest easy knowing they will do their job properly and keep your crawl space dry! 


Crawlspace Waterproofing Mistake #5: The Drain Pipe is Not Buried Throughout the Crawlspace

A drain pipe, also known as a drain tile, is a pipe used to divert water that enters your crawl space away from the crawlspace. Used often with French drains, these pipes need to be buried at the proper depth throughout your crawlspace. 


 If the drain pipe is buried too shallow or only partially buried you have a problem. Some waterproofers will only bury the drain pipe as far as the eye can see into the crawlspace. Further back the drain pipe is setting on the ground and this inhibits the flow of water. 

If the drain pipe is buried too deep it will impact how much water can enter into it quickly. Drain pipes are used all over professional sports fields because they can remove large amounts of water very quickly. If your drain pipe is buried too deep, it is unable to remove the water quickly and problems can develop. 


One more note on drain pipes- make sure the water exiting the pipe is exiting your home at a safe distance. It should not be dumping water right outside your home’s foundation but should be exiting far enough away from your home that there is no chance for it to pool or sog around your foundation. 


Aqua-Guard Waterproofing Can Correct These Crawlspace Waterproofing Mistakes!

If your crawlspace already has some waterproofing work done but it does not seem to be getting the job done, contact our experienced waterproofers for a free evaluation and estimate. We know how to correct faulty waterproofing work and even offer a “Life of the Structure” Guarantee with our work. This means that our work is guaranteed no matter who owns the home in the future!  Contact us today to have your water problems solved!


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