Crawl Space Drainage Problems

Crawl space drainage problems can cause many unpleasant dangers to your home such as mold, mildew and wood rot. Many of these drainage problems are easy and inexpensive to correct if you know what to look for.

Our Client's Drainage Problem

I will share with you one of our client's crawl space water problems. This client called a couple of weeks ago.

Judy A. called to inquire about our expertise in hydrology. She had found us on our website. She was seeking a solution to her wet crawl space of her home. She said her crawl space had begun to have an odor and that she had noticed it was wet most all the time. This was the first time in 12 years that she had ever known of her crawl space being wet.

Judy asked, "Elvin, what can I do? Can you help me? Every time it looks like it is going to rain, I panic and get very upset"

I assured her that we have solved numerous problems for others that had similar storm water drainage issues. We are certified forensic hydrologist.

My "learned lesson" is that it is better to prevent water from entering your crawl space than it is to remove the water after it is in the crawl space.

Rainy Days

The reason Judy was having this crawl space drainage problem was because of the excessive rain we have been experiencing during the spring and summer.

Our local weather has been basically dry for the past 7 or 8 years. And when it did rain, the rains were light. Most of the water would soak into the ground by the thirsty soil. So Judy had never had a crawl space drainage problem.

Grass Swales Used to Divert Storm Water

Judy's property sloped from the rear of her lot to the street. Water had always flowed to each side of her home. Water never got into her crawl space and she never had a crawl space drainage problem.

When July's house was constructed many years ago, a grass swale was constructed around the rear and sides of her home. Initially, the grass swales performed as designed and constructed. During the many years of relatively dry weather, the swales gradually filled with silt, sand and grass clippings. The swale had lost its ability to divert storm water.

Then along comes this year with frequent heavy rain showers. Now, the heavens open up and the rain pours. The partially filled grass swale no longer functions as it should. Which was to intercept storm water and divert it around the house.

Grass Swales Must Be Maintained

I suggested she hire a landscape contractor to come out and remove the silt from the grass swale. She did. The contractor removed the silt from the swale and replaced the grass sod. The work was minimum expense and now her crawl space is dry again.

She told me that she remembered the little shallow ditch along the rear of her house. But she had forgotten it was there. It had gradually disappeared. Judy said, "I never thought much about it and I never really knew what it was for."

Peace of Mind - Let It Rain!

Now, Judy does not get uptight and concerned when the weather report calls for rain. Her crawl space drainage protection is back in place and is working just fine.

Further Reading about Hydrology

From Who Needs Flood Insurance to Common Drainage Problems

Atlanta Engineering Services Home Page

Forensic hydrology basics

Common drainage problems

Erosion control and property damage

Creating a successful erosion control plan

How storm water can lead to erosion

Solving drainage problems with grass swales