A wet crawlspace in Portland, Oregon is something that I see often. Sure, it is my job to inspect homes and provide estimates for all things crawlspace related, but still, water is common. We live in an area that experiences a lot of rain (you know this) and the amount of water that pools and accumulates underneath a home can be substantial. So, the question is, how bad is it for a home to have water in a crawlspace?
First, it is important to understand why homes often have water pooling underneath. Water in the crawlspace is usually from either Surface water or groundwater. Surface water gets into the crawlspace usually as a result of the slope or grade of the property. If the property slopes towards the home, water can often get into the crawlspace via the foundation vent screens. In situations where surface water is getting into the home, we generally will do exterior drainage work and address the grade to prevent water from getting in.
Groundwater is different. This is water that gets into the crawlspace because of a rising water table. This can effect homes on a perfectly flat lot, a sloped lot or anything in between. Some homes can have groundwater all year long, while others just have it seasonally. Either way, it is something that should be addressed.
Homes with groundwater issues are generally in areas where the soil has a high clay content. In our area, we have noticed that homes in Beaverton, Northwest Portland and Battle Ground, Washington are notoriously high in clay and have a higher likelihood of having water. However, there are all kinds of pockets throughout Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington where crawlspace drainage issues exist.
So, is it bad to have water in my crawlspace?
The short answer is “yes”, but it is a matter of degree. A little bit of pooling in your crawlspace seasonally is not going to cause significant damages to your home over a short period of time. Over a long period of time, it is possible for the moisture in the crawlspace to cause mold growth on your wood posts and joists.
Significant water pooling in the crawlspace (anything over a couple of inches) is a different story. Once water levels rise above the concrete post pads and reach the structural posts, this can cause significant problems that might include the replacement of posts or other structural supports. Obviously, the high level of moisture greatly increases the chances of mold growth as well.
How do I get rid of water in my crawlspace?
Getting water out of a crawlspace usually involves a sump pump and french drains. This kind of project is very difficult work and not easy for the DIY weekend warrior to take on themselves. However, New Leaf Crawlspace Solutions is glad to help. We can provide a free inspection and estimate to let you know how we can address your drainage issue. We also offer financing options as well. Please call us today to see how we can help.