Water damage is one of the most common sources of foundation problems. Standing water in your crawl space can lead to so many foundation problems, such as mold and mildew growth. After all, mold thrives in moist environments and feeds on dead organic materials like wood, paper, and cardboard. The problem with the crawl space is that, if not properly waterproofed, it has lots of moisture as well as wood for mold to grow on. What is even worse, when mold spreads, it releases airborne spores that eventually enter your living space and can compromise your health and the health of your loved ones. Another issue with standing water in the crawl space is higher energy bills. If there are high moisture levels down there, the heating and cooling devices will have to run much longer to keep those levels under control, causing much higher energy bills. Other parasites that thrive in a moist environment are dust mites. These microscopic parasites leave behind droppings that float in the air and can trigger allergies and asthma.
Having mold and dust mites in a regular home is bad enough but having them in a place where sick people go to get well is even worse. When this customer from Westerville, OH, just north of Columbus, OH, called us, we learned that the problem wasn’t in a family home, but in a commercial building where a medical clinic and offices are located. The customer called us about the standing water in the crawl space, and after an initial inspection, we were able to detect the cause of the problem and fix it with several waterproofing solutions. The whole project lasted four days, and our crew made sure to be utterly polite and respectful of the employees and patients, and not disturb their peace.
Meeting the Customer
When the customer called us, he was already familiar with our reputation and the quality of our work. However, it was our inspector’s professionalism that finally tipped the scales and helped in the decision about hiring Ohio Basement Authority specialists. When the customer scheduled a free estimate, our inspector visited the structure and determined the cause of the problems. The member of our team and our customer quickly came to an agreement about what should be done. Since the building was used as a medical facility, time was of the essence. The structure was built in 1981, and it was transformed into an office space in 1987.
Our Initial Inspection
During the estimate, our inspector checked the crawl space. The customer reported that there was an issue with standing water, and when the inspector arrived the crawl space was flooded in some areas. One of the reasons why this tends to happen is the pooling of surface water. When water from roof drainage and overflowing gutters makes it to the unprotected crawl space, it tends to cause a lot of damage. If the soil isn’t properly graded, every time it rains the water will be directed toward the foundation. Since in Ohio it tends to rain approximately 130 days a year, this can be a big issue. In addition, during the storm, the soil around the foundation can become saturated. If the ground in the crawl space is not isolated in any way, the moisture from the soil easily makes its way into the crawl space. During the inspection, our expert concluded that this space wasn’t properly waterproofed or encapsulated, and that the humidity was causing a variety of issues.
Repairing the Damage
It was obvious that several waterproofing measures needed to be installed to keep the crawl space dry and clean. Since the crawl space wasn’t protected against moisture in any way, we needed to address the problem from several different angles.
We installed the CrawlDrain™ interior crawl space drainage system and placed drainage matting on the floor. It was important to the customer that the crawl space stays dry even in the case of heavy rain, which is why we installed a SafeDri™ sump pump with battery backup. This way the sump pump will work even if there is a power outage due to a storm. An exterior buried discharge line was installed to direct excess water from the sump pump away from the building.
In order to further keep this space moisture-free, our crew encapsulated the entire area with a 20-mil vapor barrier. This way the crawl space stopped being a breeding ground for mold. Also, the air quality was improved. Moist spaces are full of mold, mildew, and bacteria that affect the air within. When the air rises, it seeps into the space above the foundation and brings all those contaminants with it. With encapsulation, we managed to prevent such things from happening and protect patients and other people in the building from mold-related illnesses. The moisture in the crawl space had started affecting the floors. With encapsulation, we managed to prevent further problems caused by water, such as rotting wood joists and flooring. Another great thing about encapsulation is that it makes it more difficult for pests to get into the crawl space, which was very important since a medical clinic was located above it.
Finally, we installed a dehumidifier that will regulate the moisture levels in the crawl space at all times. With all these waterproofing measures we managed to ensure that problems such as standing water will not happen again. Although water damage can wreak havoc all over the crawl space, this kind of problem can be easily averted with trustworthy waterproofing measures. If your foundation is prone to water damage, don’t take matters into your own hands. Instead, contact professionals at Ohio Basement Authority to schedule a free inspection and repair quote. After a thorough assessment, our experienced inspector will recommend solutions that will keep your home protected from water damage.