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Old 10-23-2013, 10:07 AM  
jb1023
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Default Water in crawlspace

Not sure if this is normal or not so I thought I would throw it out there and see what the experts said.

I went into my crawlspace this morning to look for my spare tiles. While poking around I noticed that there was a lot of condensation on the underside of the plastic floor liner. I then notice that the sealed plastic mattress bag that I keep my camping gear in also had a lot of condensation on the inside. I took the gear out and found some of it to be rather damp, no visible mold. I then pulled some of the plastic liner back in a few areas and discovered that there are actually a few small puddles. My question is, is this normal after a very wet late summer/early fall? I am in south/central CO and while my area did not get the floods that northern CO got we did get about 5" in 3-4 days. I can post pics if needed.


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Old 10-23-2013, 10:13 AM  
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Pictures are always helpful. Is this the first time you've noticed this?


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Old 10-23-2013, 10:21 AM  
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Very poor place to store anything.
Working gutters.
No mulch piled up against the foundation.
No flower beds forming ponds.
Grade that runs away from the foundation.
Foundation vents.

If you raise the grade where those low spots are with fill dirt there should not be any standing water.
You may even need a drain tile and a sump pump.
Moisture under the house is not a good thing.
Termites and insects love it, and it will cause mold and fungus which can eat the cellulose holding the wood fibers together.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:35 AM  
jb1023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Very poor place to store anything.
Working gutters.
No mulch piled up against the foundation.
No flower beds forming ponds.
Grade that runs away from the foundation.
Foundation vents.

If you raise the grade where those low spots are with fill dirt there should not be any standing water.
You may even need a drain tile and a sump pump.
Moisture under the house is not a good thing.
Termites and insects love it, and it will cause mold and fungus which can eat the cellulose holding the wood fibers together.
Upon further investigation the puddles are actually on top of the plastic liner, not under it as previously stated. The plastic is clear and it looked like the plastic was lying on top of a puddle, as I started to pulled back the plastic I could see that the water was on top and not underneath. The dirt under the liner is moist but not muddy. Could the water come up through the ground and condense through the plastic to form a puddle in a low spot on the plastic? Seems odd to me but I have no idea. After discovering the water on the plastic I looked for leaking pipes but none show any signs of having leaked, there are only 2 water pipes.

I've not been able to get any decent pics on my phone but will get out the camera this evening if I can. But, I wanted to answer the questions posed thus far, if they even still apply based on new info.

The gutters are working fine, no leaks or clogs.
There is no mulch around the foundation. We do have 12" pavestones lining the foundation. After those is the grass.
The grade is pretty steep, maybe 10 degrees or so. The crawl space is under half the house, the other half is an unfinished walk out basement. No water has been seen in the basement side.
There is one vent in the crawl space, I'm guessing that is what you mean by foundation vent?

The grade in the crawl space is basically 0 degrees but certainly not flat, hope that makes sense.

Last edited by jb1023; 10-24-2013 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:54 AM  
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If I can't figure this out, what type of contractor should I call in to look at it? Would a home inspector, GC, other?
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:22 PM  
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If you have had a summer with high humidy, this could be just condensation, or it could be ground water as Joe suggested. But you always want to check the not so obvious like leeky plumbing and roof leeks. A house that has a real good vapour barrier can move water from the attic to crawlspace without ever doing anything inside the house. Exposed cold water pipe can cause a lot of condensation. When you have a vented crawl space it should be cross vented so wind can help dry stuff out the vents should be something like 1/150 of the square feet of the crawl space.
And welcome to the site.
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:10 PM  
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Default Water on top of plastic sheet.

The temperature and humidity inside a crawl space stays fairly steady.
The temperature and humidity outside goes up and down as days and nights pass.
What you have is warm wet air entering the crawl space and the water vapor condensing on the colder plastic sheet.
This does no harm, the water will turn back into water vapor and disappear.
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:49 AM  
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Unless your crawl space is sealed off and conditioned with a dehumidifier, humidity will infiltrate and then condense on the items sitting on the cold floor. And if the bags are not air tight, the humidity will get inside them as well. The moisture most likely came from the air. The solution is to seal off this space from the outside air and run a dehumidifier - no need for a contractor. And it does not hurt to provide an insulating layer between your items and the cold floor and walls. For example, put items up on pallets. Or if up against the wall, put a board in between. And even if you get moisture through the walls and floor, putting items up off the floor and walls and sealing the space off and dehumidifying will protect your items.
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Last edited by Drywallinfo; 10-26-2013 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:10 PM  
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Default Air tight is not water vapor tight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drywallinfo View Post
Unless your crawl space is sealed off and conditioned with a dehumidifier, humidity will infiltrate and then condense on the items sitting on the cold floor. And if the bags are not air tight, the humidity will get inside them as well. The moisture most likely came from the air. The solution is to seal off this space from the outside air and run a dehumidifier - no need for a contractor. And it does not hurt to provide an insulating layer between your items and the cold floor and walls. For example, put items up on pallets. Or if up against the wall, put a board in between. And even if you get moisture through the walls and floor, putting items up off the floor and walls and sealing the space off and dehumidifying will protect your items.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Molecules of air are much bigger than those of water vapor. Lots of things are air tight, but not water vapor tight.

It is probably true to say that, at this time there is no such thing as a water vapor proof crawl space, or home for that matter.

To have a water vapor proof crawl space, the walls, ceiling and floor would need to be lined with water vapor proof plastic sheet, with welded or taped seams. No one has ever done this. What would be the point?

Crawl space walls, floors and ceilings are made of products that are not water vapor proof.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:56 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jb1023 View Post
If I can't figure this out, what type of contractor should I call in to look at it? Would a home inspector, GC, other?
It's be best to call a "Leaky Squeaky" contractor since it sounds like there is a leak


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