A crawl space is basically an unoccupied, unfinished, shallow ground area in a building, right below the upper level. The term ‘crawl space’ is also used when talking about unoccupied garages, storage buildings, attics and warehouses. The term ‘crawl space’ is usually reserved for this area and is not used elsewhere in the building. Crawl spaces are extremely useful in industrial settings, as they provide an efficient and safe working environment. They are also used for residential homes as a result of their small size, yet they can make any home safer and more secure.
There are a lot of different reasons why a crawl space could become moist. Usually it’s because the home or business is located in a place that experiences high levels of humidity or rain. In addition to the normal causes of moisture on the outside of the building (such as plumbing leaks, roof leaks, or burst pipes), water from rain or snow can cause the ground in the crawl space to swell, creating a wet basement environment. The moisture from the soil also can seep in from basements, above-ground pools or even from drainage pipes on the outside of the house. Any of these sources can lead to the formation of mold and mildew – both of which are very serious concerns that should be addressed as soon as possible.
If the walls in the crawl space have not been properly insulated or contain insulation that is not rated for basement environments, the walls can absorb a great deal of heat and even freeze, which can create dangerous situations. Even if the walls are adequately insulated, the insulation may be missing entirely, which will allow a lot of heat to escape and can make a space uncomfortable to live in for a long time. If the heating and cooling systems are operating correctly, it is relatively easy to eliminate most (if not all) moisture problems in a basement by simply sealing off the area with a vapor barrier. It is important to note, however, that if this step is not taken, moisture will continue to seep into the walls, leading to a potential fire hazard in case of a ruptured pipe or leak. A vapor barrier is also an excellent method of controlling the amount of heat that escapes from the home, which can be a problem during the winter months when the heat escapes through windows and walls.
When considering the safety of a crawl space, there are a number of other things to consider besides moisture issues and mold and mildew growth. For instance, space heaters can be installed in these spaces without any additional insulation, leading to a situation where the space can rapidly become very warm when winter temperatures are in the single digits (or even lower). If the space becomes too warm, it can encourage people to stay longer indoors, which can create health risks (including rises in blood pressure and heart rate) for all of the occupants. Additionally, spaces that are left unventilated can lead to a lack of ventilation (which can lead to an increased risk of developing mold and mildew) and a building collapse due to high humidity.
As you can see, there are a number of safety factors to consider when designing and implementing a complete crawl space waterproofing strategy. Not only do these spaces eliminate the health risks associated with ventilated and poorly ventilated spaces, they also help prevent the structural integrity of the home. Many basements are located below grade concrete slab on the surface, and this slab can severely limit the amount of concrete that can be used to build a finished basement.
In order to seal off the interior of the crawl space and keep it dry, the foundation must be thoroughly waterproofed. This includes the footer drains and main sewer line, which must be sealed to prevent sewage backups and water damage to the foundation. Once this line is properly sealed, the floor slab and walls will need to be given additional water resistant materials to prevent rot and moisture penetration. If the foundation is not properly waterproofed, it will lead to the cracking of interior concrete slab floor slab. All in all, proper planning for an effective waterproofing of a crawl space should be initiated prior to construction.