Crawl Space Conversion
Foundation Experts

Phoenixville, PA

#1 Jan 17, 2013
Foundation Experts LLC has reconstructed dozens of crawlspaces into full basements. Crawl space (as the name suggests) is a type of basement in which one cannot stand up — the height may be as little as one foot, and the surface is often soil. They offer a convenient access to pipes, substructures and a variety of other areas that may be difficult or expensive to access otherwise. While a crawl space cannot be used as living space, it can be used as storage, often for infrequently used items. Care must be taken in doing so, however, as water from the damp ground, water vapor (entering from crawl space vents), and moisture seeping through porous concrete can create a perfect environment for mold/mildew to form on any surface in the crawl space, especially cardboard boxes, wood floors and surfaces, drywall and some types of insulation.

Health and safety issues must be considered when installing a crawl space. As air warms in a home, it rises and leaves through the upper regions of the house, much in the same way that air moves through a chimney. This phenomenon, called the “stack effect,” causes the home to suck air up from the crawl space into the main area of the home. Mold spores, decomposition odors, and fecal material from dust mites in the crawl space can come up with the air, aggravating breathing problems (such as asthma) and creating a variety of health-related problems.

To simplify:

Water enters the home via the basement wall/floor joint, through cracks in the foundation walls and/or holes created by faulty or decaying masonry/brick.

A perimeter trench drain such as a French drain collects the water before it enters into the basement.

Wall vapor barriers/retarders and drip moldings are used and incorporated into the sub-slab perimeter drain to collect water coming from wall cracks and other foundation wall defects, such as pipe protrusions.

The drain directs the water to a sump pump.

The sump pump directs the water out of the house.

Interior basement waterproofing systems should be prepared to work in the case of a power outage, the failure of a sump pump, and in the face of overwhelming torrential rain. A proper sump pump, backup sump and/or battery backup sump pump should be installed in a large sump pit with an airtight lid for safety and to keep humidity from seeping through to the basement environment, where it can promote mold growth. This airtight practice will also reduce the possibility of dangerous radon gases for entering the living space.

Interior Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing inside, using coatings, works well where condensation is the main source of wetness. It is also quite effective if the problem is minor dampness. Major leaks cannot usually be handled by inside coatings. In such cases, if outside waterproofing has been ruled out, your best inside basement waterproofing solution will probably be sheet or tile coverings, which conceal drainage structures to carry the water out and drain it from the home.

Exterior Waterproofing

Exterior waterproofing prevents water from entering foundation walls therefore preventing the



Foundation Experts is a leading construction company integrating engineering expertise with the highest contracting standards. The company is licensed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Always consult and Engineer when considering any work around the foundation of your home.

www.foundationexperts.net

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