Crawlspace Maintenance

Ok crawlspace gurus.....
I just bought my first house for a pretty good deal (I think), but the crawl space needs work. It is an older 1968 ranch house located in Atlanta with about a 3 to 4 foot crawlspace. I noticed the crawlspace was kind of moist when I bought it, but I recently did some work on one of my bathrooms and had the complete bathroom floor pulled up down to the joists and noticed that on heavy rains (recent effects of FL hurricanes), water is just flowing in like a slow creek. How did I see the water...b/c I don't have a vapor barrier either. So the water is my first issue, but I don't want to put a vapor barrier before getting the water to stop.
Second issue: Venting? I have some vents that have been blocked off by the previous owners (piece of sheet metal or something). Not all of the vents are blocked though. So, what is the rule of thumb for this. Are there certain vents you block due to the direction they are facing? Should I block them all? Block during certain seasons?
I had a crawlspace "expert" give me an estimate of $10,000 to cover 1000 sq feet of crawlspace. I politely declined his offer....
Any suggestions on steps to improving my crawlspace?
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johnnymo wrote:

Look at the Building Science Corporation web site. It includes researched suggestions for a lot of issues from crawl space to attic. I use it with success for work in and around Charleston SC. Atlanta means you probably have clay soil which doesn't drain well. Look at the surrounding land forms and talk to your neighbors. The standard first steps are to move water from the roof away from the building, and make sure surface drainage is away from the building. It's usual for planting around the building perimeter to raise the ground surface above the crawl space and so cause water to drain into the crawl space and sit. Long term water in the crawl space leads to deterioration of the wood frame as a result of high humidity. Let us know more detail. TB
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You need to install a french drain around or under your home to prevent standing water. hopefully you have a low area to redirect it too.
then cxover crawlspace floor with 10 mil poly overlapped and sealed with tape.
theres disagreement about venting I believe its better and the more vents the better so trapped moistiure does not accumulate.
Its just hard grunt work thik of it as excellent exercise:)
Increase the value of your home!
Make CERTAIN all downspouts direct water well away from your home!
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My former house had a wet crawlspace, but no flowing water.
I covered the dirt with some fairly thick plastic (also called VisQueen for some reason). Any 'joints' were overlapped by at least 2 feet and I did place some loose dirt to hold the plastic down, as I did use the crawl for some limited storage.
Another thing I did was to install foundation vents on the east side, as there were 3 vents existing on the south. That house was near ground level on the front with a partial walk-out basement to the rear. The vents I installed were the thermostatic ones that open and close according to the air temp in the crawl. I should have installed a couple on the north (uphill) side, but the way I had the landscaping prevented that.
All this reduced the moisture in the crawl to pretty good levels.
As my handle suggests, I do heating and air for a living. I am in and out of crawlspaces a lot. I've seen thermostatically and humidistat controlled attic gable vents in crawls. The best thing I can tell you is to make sure the dirt is covered and you have good ventilation. You also need to re-landscape to keep the flowing water out of the crawlspace.

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My home has crawl space and according to my inspector, I'm to leave the vents uncovered in the summer and closed off in the winter.
-crabshell
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Hi there.
Excuse me ... "according to my inspector"? Say what?

advice. Not to mention that it's meaningless as to WHY to leave them open/closed.
Might have something to do with location of insulation/vapor barriers, etc., in reality.
Obviously primary determinant would be avoiding rotting the house. Second would be energy waste. Without mutual exclusion.
J
crabshell wrote:

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I can't help with your question (no knowledge!). However...you said you just bought your house. You *might* have some recourse against the previous owners if this is something they knew about or "should" have known about. I would immediately contact my realtor and perhaps an attorney to see if the previous owners have any liability.
MaryL
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MaryL wrote:

Thanks Mary. I bought the house As-Is from a bank. It was a foreclosure so the previous history of the house was not disclosed to me. I am thinking that is why a "flipper" didn't jump on the deal, b/c it was going to take too much time to address the issue and fix. Just a guess.
I definitely need to check the gutters. There is one gutter that is going into the ground and I have no idea where it is coming out at.
Thanks everyone for thier suggestions.
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