If you have lived in the Portland area for any length of time than you probably know that we get quite a bit of rain around here. Unfortunately, sometimes all that precipitation outside materializes inside of your crawlspace, which can cause some real problems. Standing water in a crawlspace in Portland, Oregon can quickly cause damages to your home, including structural damages as well as mold growth. To avoid these things, you need to know what to do if you discover water in your crawlspace.
First, it is helpful to know how water gets down there in the first place. Basically, there are two factors that can result in standing water in a crawlspace.
Surface Water in the crawlspace
Surface water is when you have water runoff coming into the crawlspace. Typically this occurs when your home is on a slope and rain water is coming down that slope and resting against the structure. It can also occur when your foundation vents are below grade, allowing water to seep in. Fixing a foundation vent that is below grade is fairly easy and can be accomplished by installing a foundation vent well. When you are on a slope, this is a bit trickier and usually involves the installation of a French drain (see below).
Groundwater in the crawlspace
Groundwater is the water that is present beneath the soils surface and can change as the water table rises and falls. Since the water table is always changing, this means that you could have a dry crawlspace one day and a wet one the next day. Sometimes we see seasonal drainage issues in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area homes where the crawlspace is perfectly dry in the summer and very wet in the rainy season. There is no simple fix for this situation and will need to be dealt with by installing a drainage system in the crawlspace.
Regardless of how the water got into the crawlspace, the solution to the problem could potentially be the same. Generally this consists of some combination of either a French drain, sump pump or both. If you do notice groundwater issues in your crawlspace, the first thing you should do is put in a sump pump. A sump pump will pump water out of the crawlspace when installed at its lowest point. When New Leaf Crawlspace Solutions installs pumps, we will dig out a large hole, place a sump basin with filter fabric and drain rock surrounding it, then the pump will be plumbed to discharge water usually into the exterior gutter rain drains.
A French drain may also be required. A French drain is basically a trench that is sloped towards the sump pump. Inside the trench will be a 3 inch perforated pipe, filter fabric and drain rock.
Ideally, a drainage system in a crawlspace will have a French drain around the perimeter of the crawlspace and a sump pump at its lowest point. This type of drainage system is very simple in design, but very difficult to install. At New Leaf Crawlspace Solutions, we have an experienced staff that can install any drainage system for your home. If you are looking for help on a drainage project, please consider giving us a call and schedule your free inspection and estimate.