Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 2 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!

Faulty vapor barrier leads to flooding

Dear Angie: The previous owner of my home put down a vapor barrier on top of gravel in our 5-foot tall crawlspace. Twice in the last 2 years, the crawlspace has flooded – 4 ½-feet deep in 2008 and recently 8-inches deep. Now, there is water on top of the vapor barrier. My intuition is to remove the plastic vapor barrier, since it does no good when there's water on top of it. If I replaced the vapor barrier, the next time it floods, it would become useless, because the plastic shifts around and leaves half the crawlspace uncovered. What's the best approach, replace it every time it floods, leave it, or try something else? – Rob G., Carol Stream, Ill.

Dear Rob: You're right. Water on top of the vapor barrier (which helps keep ground moisture from entering the home) is a problem. Neither replacing it each time the crawlspace floods – nor leaving it alone – will solve your problem, though. You need to find the source of the water penetration. Correcting the flooding issue will resolve everything else, and it might prevent some issues you don't have yet, but are certain to come if you don't plug your leak.

Standing water in your crawlspace can lead to serious health issues as a result of mold growth, plus it could cause significant damage to the structure of your home. The source of the water could be from the ground sloping toward your home, rather than away; downspouts discharging water too close to the foundation; the absence of a sump pump and perimeter footing drain system, or a malfunction of those; cracks in the foundation; or plumbing leaks.

A qualified home inspector or structural engineer can help determine your problem and offer recommendations on how to correct it. Once you have eliminated the source of the water, you should ensure the area is dry, have any mold growth remediated or other damage repaired, and then replace the vapor barrier. Adding gravel on top of a new barrier can help hold it in place. Be sure to get estimates from at least three different contractors for any repairs and always check references.


More Like This

Basement waterproofing

Water in the basement is no homeowner’s dream; in fact, a flooded basement is more of a nightmare. A waterlogged basement can wreak all kinds of havoc, from property damage to health issues. Many problems can be avoided during the building of a home; nevertheless, even a properly constructed home can experience water problems that will need to be remedied.

Add comment