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The Top Causes of Crawlspace Flooding

Crawlspace homes are uncommon in many parts of the US, but are a very common sight among homes in the Carolinas. In addition to easy accessibility, a crawlspace (or even a basement) can have many advantages over a slab-built home. But homeowners in the Carolinas do face some unique challenges inherent to this home building technique, and one of those is crawlspace flooding. Caused by many factors, crawlspace flooding can lead to serious maintenance issues in your home and even some significant health risks due to mold and mildew. In an effort to educate Nelon-Cole customers across the Carolinas, lets take a look at some of the most common causes of crawlspace flooding, so that you will know what to look for before calling your Nelon-Cole professionals.

basement and crawlspace water management of the Carolinas | Nelon-Cole
even basement homes are not immune to flooding conditions


  • Improper Drainage - Though this one may speak for itself, the more nuanced issue would be 'what to do with heavy rains' in our region. Poor drainage usually means inadequate or malfunctioning drainage systems, such as gutters, downspouts, or French drains, which can result in water pooling around the foundation and water seeping into the crawlspace.

  • Inadequate Grading - Most building contractors will consider this when planning and building the home, but the grade of your land and landscaping around the home can change over the years. If the ground around the house is sloped toward the foundation instead of away from it, water can flow toward the crawlspace, increasing the risk of flooding.

  • High Water Table - A high water table refers to the level of groundwater below the surface. If the water table rises above the level of the crawlspace, water can infiltrate through the foundation walls or floor. This is a common cause of basement flooding as well and can be notoriously difficult to plan for. Before building your home it is advisable to employ an environmental engineer to properly test the ground for water levels before building. Gaining the proper knowledge at this stage may mean that a potential home plot needs to be moved, or other plans can be made for solutions to high water table problems. Though fairly common in the Carolinas, this issue can be much more prevalent in other areas of the country.

basement and crawlspace water management of the Carolinas | Nelon-Cole
a high water table may mean that planning needs to be done either before or during the building phase of your home

  • Plumbing Issues - This issue can often be one of the easier ones to fix, though depending on the specific issue faced it could mean expensive repairs by a plumbing professional. Leaking pipes or plumbing fixtures within or near the crawlspace can introduce water into the area, causing flooding over time. For crawlspace homes, plumbing pipes underneath the home can be quite common, and leaks here can be notoriously hard to be aware of unless you conduct regular inspections underneath your home. The professional technicians at Nelon-Cole make this a routine part of our job, and are often able to spot issues before they lead to major (and costly) problems.

  • Malfunctioning Sump Pump - A sump pump is often installed in a crawlspace to remove water and prevent flooding. If the pump fails due to a power outage, mechanical issues, or improper maintenance, the crawlspace may flood. A periodic test of your sump pump (if you have one) can give peace of mind by making sure this key piece of protection will be working properly when you need it. A sump pump may also be an affordable solution for a crawlspace home with moderate to severe flooding issues, and your Nelon-Cole professional will be happy to recommend sump pump solutions to you.

  • Insufficient or Damaged Vapor Barrier - Not every home has an adequate moisture barrier installed underneath their home, but when properly designed and installed it can be an invaluable asset in protecting your home from water damage. A vapor barrier consists of plastic or foil sheeting installed on the ground in the crawlspace to prevent moisture from seeping through. If the vapor barrier is missing, improperly installed, or damaged, water can infiltrate the crawlspace. Also known as crawlspace encapsulation, these solutions are affordable and offer comprehensive protection against a variety of moisture and water problems in your crawlspace.

  • Undiagnosed Structural Issues: Cracks in the foundation walls or floor can allow water to enter the crawlspace during heavy rains or when the water table is high. Often times this can be spotted by a Nelon-Cole professional during a routine pest or moisture inspection, and if seen we can recommend specific and affordable solutions tailored to your specific problems.

basement and crawlspace water management of the Carolinas | Nelon-Cole
inspecting for plumbing issues in your crawlspace can be difficult, but our professionals will not be deterred from finding any problems in your home that could lead to flooding

  • Poor Ventilation - Inadequate ventilation in the crawlspace can lead to moisture buildup that is exacerbated by flooding and water issues caused by any of the factors listed here. Though some moisture in the crawlspace may be considered normal by many Carolina homeowners, a quality dehumidification system can significantly help a crawlspace that suffers from poor ventilation by cycling captured moisture to outside the home, resulting in a crawlspace that is dry and trouble-free.

  • Natural Disasters - Flooding can occur in a crawlspace due to natural disasters like hurricanes, flash floods, excessively heavy rains, or overflowing rivers. When choosing a home, always consult FEMA flood maps for 100-year flood data. However, even these maps won't tell the whole story. Drastic environmental changes are occurring in our region even now, and we are experiencing much heavier rains than ever before. Insurance companies can deny coverage for flooding in many cases, so it pays to check with your insurance agent on your specific coverage. Your Nelon-Cole professional has the knowledge and experience to plan for extreme weather changes and can engineer solutions that are affordable and effective.

Water and moisture issues can cause just as much (if not more) damage than pest issues in and around your home. When dealing with these issues, it is best to contact your local professionals at Nelon-Cole for solutions tailored to the Carolina region. Our award-winning team of technicians have both the training and experience to know our solutions work, and we back up our work with service you can count on. Call and get a FREE quote with no further obligation - call 1-888-7-TheWeb or use our convenient online form to get a quote FAST. Put your crawlspace flooding and moisture problems behind you with the help of Nelon-Cole! Charlotte Mold and Moisture Control - Gastonia Mold and Moisture Control- Asheville Mold and Moisture Control - Spartanburg Mold and Moisture Control - Hendersonville Mold and Moisture Control - Lincolnton Mold and Moisture Control

Nelon-Cole Pest and Moisture Control of Charlotte and the Carolinas


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