Grade Issues: Running Water into Crawl Spaces and Basements

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The Perma-Frost is now melting in Michigan. This means our rivers, streams and ditches are overflowing, the water table is rising, and saturated ground can not absorb the water. The result? Standing water everywhere. If the grade and swale at your home and property’s not moving the water away from your home, and “channeling” (proper slope and swale) chances are, you have wet foundation walls, in many cases this water transfers through the wall, seeps up from underneath and causes havoc. A good working sump pump will help, but you must run the drain as far away from the home as possible. Also make sure your sump drain line has a working check valve, if it is not, or not present, your pump will work overtime, as the water in the drain line can return to the sump pit, thus making the water fill much faster.

Crawl spaces are particularly vulnerable to flooding, dry rot, and spider infestation due to water. The majority of the crawl spaces here in Michigan have dirt floors, and many don’t have an active sump system. Homeowners tend not to go into the crawl (some never do) and therefore have no clue if the crawl is flooded, or worse, has dry rotted wood. here are a few examples of what we have seen in the last few Inspections. Heavy structural damage from dry rot, and sump pumps that have failed, because the homeowner never knew they were there, leaving standing water. Your home can actually drop at the foundation wall (or anywhere for that matter) due to dry rotted beams, joists, plate, or bond.