Is It Normal for a Crawl Space to Be Damp?

Is It Normal for a Crawl Space to Be Damp?

It’s not always easy to know what’s normal for a crawl space. One of the most common concerns for homeowners with crawl spaces is moisture. If your crawl space is damp, you’ll want to take action to combat the problem — here is what you need to know.  


What Causes a Damp Crawl Space?  

There are a few different reasons your crawl space might be damp. Depending on the initial cause, the dampness or moisture can be consistent, or it might come and go. Regardless of the frequency of your crawl space dampness, knowing the cause can help you eliminate the problem.   


Plumbing Problems  

Check your crawl space if you notice changes in your water flow or pressure. This is often a sign of a plumbing leak, and if the leak isn’t visible, it might be in a part of your home you don’t regularly inspect. A leaky pipe or a burst pipe in your crawl space can cause significant damage in a very short period of time.  


Heavy Rainfall  

If you don’t have a crawl space door, flood water can easily flow into your crawl space. Once there, it can saturate the soil, foundation, wood frame, and other components beneath your home. Since the sun’s rays can’t reach your crawl space, the area will remain damp for an extended period of time.  


Soil Moisture  

Even with light rainfall or heavy morning dew, the soil can become saturated with moisture. The soil will expand, delivering moisture to the soil in your crawl space. That moisture can spread to the wood beams and planks that make up your home’s frame.  


Why Is Dampness in Your Crawl Space a Problem?  

You can’t overestimate the importance of eliminating dampness in a house since moisture can cause such extensive damage. While you should expect occasional moisture, keep an eye on it to ensure it evaporates.   


It can help to measure humidity since humidity leads to more moisture. Don’t let the humidity level in your crawl space remain at 50% or higher for more than a few days.  


When you install a crawl space door, you can keep outside humidity from entering your crawl space. Closing off the crawl space with a door will also make it possible to use other techniques for addressing a humidity problem. For example, you can install a ventilation fan or dehumidifier to keep your crawl space cool and dry.  


Signs of a Moisture Problem in Your Crawl Space  

Consistent dampness can eventually lead to water damage throughout your home. If you see the signs of a moisture problem, check your crawl space. In many cases, moisture problems originate in the crawl space beneath the home.  


Water Stains  

Look for water stains on your floors and walls. Depending on how long dampness has been an issue in your crawl space, organic materials throughout your home may have absorbed the moisture. Check for stains on drywall, wood flooring, and similar surfaces.  


Soft or Weak Flooring  

As you walk in heavy traffic areas throughout your home, pay attention to how the flooring feels. There shouldn’t be a significant bounce. If you feel a bounce or sagging, the wood beneath the flooring might have suffered rot due to excessive moisture.  


Musty Odors  

You can identify a moisture problem in your crawl space if your home smells musty. Often described as a smell similar to wet cardboard, the odor indicates excessive moisture damage. If the odor is stronger, closer to your floor, check your crawl space for damage.  


How to Prevent Future Dampness in Your Crawl Space  

There are several ways to prevent dampness from becoming an ongoing problem, including:  


Install a Crawl Space Door  

A customizable crawl space door makes it easier to keep rainwater from entering your crawl space. It will also reduce the likelihood of soil moisture spreading to your crawl space.   


After installing the door, you can take additional steps to prevent humidity and moisture from affecting your crawl space.  


Use a Dehumidifier  

A crawl space door limits humidity in this area, but placing a dehumidifier in your crawl space can also be helpful. You will only have to run the dehumidifier when the level exceeds 50%, so it can be beneficial to get a programmable dehumidifier.  


Install a Sump Pump  

When soil moisture rises, it can be enough to cause flooding in your crawl space. Installing a sump pump can help divert excess water out of the area.  

Durable Crawl Space Doors  

Cathmer Crawl Space Doors offers a range of crawl space doors to help you install a barrier over an opening of any size. Manufactured to last, our strong PVC doors can help keep water and moisture out of your crawl space. Shop today to find a door to suit your home’s needs. 

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