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Old 05-08-2010, 05:05 PM   #1
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I live in Nashville. My house is a 1960s brick with block foundation. There is 1200 sq. ft of crawlspace. It is entirely dirt floor with vapor barrier (about 6 mil installed before I purchased five years ago). The crawlspace is vented.
We were fortunate when compared to most but did not completely escape. Water flooded a portion of the crawl space-I'd say about 20%. It entered because of a clog developed in down spout. There is no standing water in the crawlspace now (it came out under exterior stairs in the back of house). No insulation or floor joists etc made contact with water. When I went in to inspect it was muddy under the vapor barrier where it flooded and very wet/damp under many areas I checked away from the flooding (opposite end of crawlspace for example).Do i remove all vapor barrier, dry dirt floor and put in new VB or do I leave alone and let it dry. The reason for my question is I started to remove VB and thought dampness and wetness under it might be normal and removing the VB would release a lot of humidity that would collect on the insulation and floor joist creating a mold problem. I intend to do work myself.

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Old 05-08-2010, 05:14 PM   #2
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i personally would leave it down and get a dehumidifier running. my brother is in sparta tenn and said the water was unbelevable

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Old 05-08-2010, 05:21 PM   #3
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Just my opinion: You state you do have a vented crawlspace, and you have been able to access it enough to evaluate that you have water under your vapor barrier. I would remove the vapor barrier and throw it away. Being as you were under the home, is there any way to place some type of fan at one of the foundation vents? IF SO- I would certainly do this and allow the fan to run 24/7 to help move air through the crawl space to facilitate drying. Once dry enough, install new vapor barrier. I used a circulation (squirrel-cage type) fan from an HVAC unit to mount under my house, on a foundation vent, some years back to help move air through the crawl space. I did have a mold, and mildew smell issue before doing this, now I do not have these issues. The fan is on a timer which runs four (4) hours a day in the evening. Just an idea. David
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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good approach david, just thought since he has no standing water it might dry quick with the dehumidfier
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Last edited by tpolk; 05-08-2010 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:17 PM   #5
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So sorry to hear of all the woes in your area....reminded me of Tulsa in '86 when we had a similar event.

I would tend to agree with the first poster who recommended the use of a dehumidifier. Their is a considerable body of knowledge developed in the last 10 years concerning the problems of open crawl spaces in hot and humid climates, of which surely Nashville is a member.

The problem occurs in the summer when warm and humid air enters the crawl space, where the dewpoint is such that the moisture in the air coming in immediately condenses of framing, insulation, plumbing etc.

I bought a '57 model home here a few years ago and had such a problem. I covered the dirt floor and up the walls with Stego Wrap (a true vapor barrier that is extremely durable), closed my vents with concrete blocks and mortar, and installed a dehumidifier designed for crawl spaces.

The home is much more comfortable during all seasons, and I intend to take the last step detailed in the below documents, added a HVAC vent to crawl space to make it somewhat conditioned.

The summer humidity level in the house has decreased dramatically, and have found that I am just as comfortable with a higher AC setpoint than before the change.

Now of course, with so much water having entered your space, perhaps the poster who suggested taking up all the VB is correct....I don't know. But if you do replace the VB, take a look at Stego Wrap...comes in 15 or 20 ml thicknesses. (I have no financial interest in the product...just found it to be superior)

rod

http://advancedenergy.org/buildings/...0Reference.pdf

Additional articles:

http://advancedenergy.org/buildings/.../crawl_spaces/

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Old 05-08-2010, 06:31 PM   #6
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I never understood the concept of vented crawlspaces, with no proper floor. This is why they have serious moisture problems, I would say.

This is my crawlspace, nice and dry:



I don't know what's involved in pouring a cement slab with walls already there, but I would consider it.

You will always have some moisture in a basement/crawlspace , but not visible water, provided the outside of the foundation is properly setup for irrigation. (weeping tiles)

Once it's all cleaned up and permanently dry, it makes great storage space too.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
I never understood the concept of vented crawlspaces, with no proper floor. This is why they have serious moisture problems, I would say.

This is my crawlspace, nice and dry:



I don't know what's involved in pouring a cement slab with walls already there, but I would consider it.

You will always have some moisture in a basement/crawlspace , but not visible water, provided the outside of the foundation is properly setup for irrigation. (weeping tiles)

Once it's all cleaned up and permanently dry, it makes great storage space too.
An air mattress, six pack, and a pet mouse in that space would be total sanctuary from any chaos above.

Why would you throw away 1200 sf. Of 6 mil. Unless the coons have it all shredded up?
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:04 PM   #8
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That's a real pretty crawl space you have there. The majority of homes built here in middle Tennessee before the 1970s were all brick or stone. Crawl spaces like mine have been in use in one form or another here for about 250 years. I did not mention that we had a 200-300 year flood here-18 inches of rain in about 36 hours. So the water that flooded 20% of my crawl space was unusual and there is no standing water now.

My question really relates to the vapor barrier in the crawl space. Where it flooded it is muddy under the VB-in other spots it is damp to wet under the VB. Before I pull it all out it occured to me tht it might be normal for miosture to collect under it and now there is more because of the torrential rain. Should I just let it dry or pull it all out and dry bare soil with fans and reinstall VB. Looks like there is no authoritative answer but I appreciate the replies I did get.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:39 AM   #9
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For what it's worth in my crawl there's moisture..all the time...on the dirt side of my VB. But I have a very high water table and flat area.

I bet yours will dry out
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:03 PM   #10
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I’d start by checking the local Building Code requirements if you change to a closed system: http://www2.iccsafe.org/cs/committee...E_06_64_07.pdf


“Crawl space wall- R- 25 Crawl space walls are only insulated if the crawl space is unvented and the floor above the crawl space is uninsulated.” From: http://www.ornl.gov/cgi-bin/cgiwrap?...le/ins_fact.pl

You may need to test and vent for any radon: http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/radon/rnus.html

I would leave it be to dry naturally over time. Exposing the insulation to the moisture would not be good. A fan would just spread the water vapor to material that could/would mold, rather than confined under the v.b. as it is now.

Be safe, Gary
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:38 PM   #11
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For your setup you can probably leave the VB there. I'm sure if I make a hole in my concrete floor it will be moist under it. In fact, it is, if I look in my sump pit there's always some standing water draining. It's only dry in winter.

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