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Question DetailsAsked on 5/13/2013

contractor Aurora Colorado remediate water in crawl space

Wet crawl space open to basement. Bad odor.

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Your situation is similar (though not identical) to another recent question. Perhaps my answer there will help you sort it out - copy and paste following Angie's web link in your browser.

Sounds like you have what one of our earlier houses had - a crawl space under the family room, full basement under the rest of the house, with no wall between. First, make sure you do not have a leaking water or sewer pipe in the crawl space.

For your specific case, once you figure out the source of the water, if you are stuck with a high water table the normal solution is directing surface water away from the house (per previous referenced answer), then a sump and pump below the basement slab right next to the half-wall stepping up to the crawl space to drop the water level 3 feet or so, then installation of a waterproof surface in the crawl space.

Your area is susceptible to expansive clay, so you need to be sure to get the sump pump water discharged well away from the foundation area, or if legal, discharge it into the sewer.

Personally I favor installing a heavy plastic (10 mil) visqueen liner bonded to the foundation walls, topped by a 2 inch sprayed or pumped and floated concrete overlay (floating is not mandatory, but makes it a LOT more comfortable to crawl into than on rough sprayed concrete). If the visqueen is sealed to the foundation walls right the concrete is not mandatory, but it cuts down soil moisture access to the basement better, and avoids the inevitable tears in the visqueen every time someone has to crawl in under the crawl space, and also makes it suitable (with blocking or pallets to avoid direct contact) for storage of scrap wood and inorganic supplies (unless well ventilated, usually still too damp for storing boxes, old clothing, etc, though I did get away with storing wood in racks suspended from the joists above).

Concrete alone will NOT dramatically reduce the moisture problem - it is too permeable, and moisture preferentially diffuses through it from the wet side to the dryer inside air. Also, concrete without first lowering the water table will not solve your problem.

Do NOT put a wall between the basement and the crawl space unless the crawl space is fully ventilated, and if you do remember to provide a roomy access hatch for maintenance needs. In Aurora I would guess the reason your crawl space is connected to the basement is to keep the floor above from getting too cold in the winter, so your crawl space probably has no outside screened air vents as would normally be used for a crawl space in a warmer clime.

Since you are in a known expansive clay area, talk to your building department first for guidance (I know the cities of Denver and Aurora used to have handouts on this subject when I worked there about 30 years ago), because by lowering the water table too much you can create a new problem - drying out of the surficial clay around the house and under the foundation, causing foundation and slab cracking and loss of support. In expansive soil areas the general rule is to try to not change the moisture regime much, so as to avoid expansion or shrinkage.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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