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Question DetailsAsked on 8/14/2013

What is the Best repair option for a flooded crawl space?

I live in S. Jersey Evesham Township area. With recent heavy rains I have had at least 1-2 inches of water in my crawl space. Crawl is not level or pitched. No sump pump but builder did put in the crock for a sump pump in the rear far left corner. Out back I have an EP Henry interlock patio. Never knew these could be sealed against weather and water entering between the bricks so ... it is not sealed! In front I have a little landscaping. In both the front and back the soil is GONE! Disappears every year; refilled to the tune of a few hundred dollars.

Do I need to have multiple jobs done to fix the problem? My thought is to install a sump pump and finish the crawl space with concrete and pitch towards tthe back pump. And outside I was thinking to tear out landscaping, install concrete patios & driveways. Would these possibly remedy the water logged crawl space? We've had a lot of rain recently - my back, knees and total body are tired of pumping out water!!

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1 Answer


Obviously, sight unseen the best one can do is discuss what-ifs, not specific recommnedations.

You state the water problem is related to recent heavy rains, so I am assuming you do not have a problem otherwise.

First, on the crawl space - installing a sump pump would be an initial stopgap measure, but might or might not be needed for the long term, so I would make this the second priority. Depending on your soil permeability and whether the sump pump sits below the rest of the crawl space, it might pretty much solve your crawlspace problem by itself, since it does not sound like you are getting much water inflow to the crawlspace.

The loss of dirt outside indicates one of two things - the backfill around the house was placed around the founcation totally uncompacted so is continually settling, or you have a french drain system that is sucking down the fill material. if the latter, you should have an inspection and cleanout manhole and maybe drywell somewhere near the house.

It is pretty clear the bulk of, or maybe all of your problem, is rainwater getting up against the foundation, and some coming in. Your first action should be to ensure the dirt is at least 4 inches below the siding and the top of the foundation wall, whichever is lower. That reduces the chance of water overflowing the foundation wall, and 4 inches is the recommneded clearance to minimize bug infiltration into your walls.

Then, you need to have a hard or compacted surface away from the house for at least 6-10 feet, leading to surface drainage that does not flow back to the house. With most houses, the 6-10 feet distance is enough to keep the water from making it back into the basement area in bothersome quantities, in others you need to provide a surface swale or ditch to carry the water away further (without dumping it into a neighbors yard in a way that causes flooding).

This slope, which should be at least at a 2% grade (1/4 inch per foot) finish grade away from the house, should be with a compacted fill like a driveway base material like 3/4" minus crusher run, with topsoil over the top optional. if you want to make it even more waerproof, initial build a slope away from the house about 6 inches shy of final desired grade, then put on a 3-4 inch layer of compacted clay or clayey gravel, topped with 2 inches of topsoil except right against the house. It does not require a road roller, and that big a roller should not be used near a house anyway - a small sidewalk sized roller would suffice, or even a plate vibrator compacting as the fill is placed in 4-6 inch lifts. That also makes it so you can do it yourself, if desired. If you can go steeper so much the better, particularly within 3 feet of the house, because it sounds like you will have further settlement there. The idea is to provide a definitive long-term slope away from the house that will drain rainwater.

Do not plant anything but lawn with 3 feet of the house to avoid penetrating your clay layer.

You should also make sure you have gutters with downspouts that work and direct the water away from the house. That might take a shallow clay or plastic liner-lined ditch from the foot of the downspouts to get the water to flow well away from the house.

Those measures are pretty minimal cost, relatively speaking, and should take care of the problem. Initially, I would not worry about the interlock patio other than making sure water can drain off it OK away from the house and not get trapped on it - do the other work first and see how it works; you can always come back and pressure wash out the joints of the patio and seal the joints later with latex concrete joint caulk if you need to, but that may well not be necessary as interlock pavers actually run water off pretty well in heavy rains, assuming it does not slope to the house.

As for concreting the crawlspace, that I would leave to a last measure, and it would not really do anything other than limit water vapor in the crawlspace. Making sure the water can't get to the foundation in the first place is most important, and there is still a problem after that, then grading the soil in the crawlspace toward the sump pump pit and installing a sump pump would be the next measure, but I honestly don't believe that will be needed if your crawl space is normally dry.

Good luck

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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