Ground Water In Dirt Crawlspace

March 27th 2018
Ground Water In Dirt Crawlspace

Q:  Hello Shell, it’s so nice to hear you back on the radio again with all the answers to our home concerns.  We’ve lived in Ladner for years and have had a problem for many years now, but what really concerns us is it doesn’t happen every year.  Our problem is in our crawl space which is dirt (no concrete) and sometimes there is water pooling in different areas.  The entry to the crawl space is from the garage.  From information I heard on your previous shows, we have insulated the walls and the floor beam ends and laid plastic out on the surface, but it still happens.  I should say, we don’t and haven’t ever stored anything down there because of the potential water.  Are we able to correct this problem or is the house too old?


A:  Your problem is not one with the home you have which is obviously an older home (with a dirt crawl space) but rather the land it sits on.  In Ladner, most of the older homes were built in the town which is close to the water, the reason for the water, the heavier the snow fall and amount of precipitation (rain) and run offs, the ground water rises.  Ground water is caused by the amount of water and hydraulics in the ground, pushing ground water to the surface.  This is what you see on the surface in your crawl space, water being forced up between the footings of your home, which act as water dams.  Allowing the water to pool on the surface, it’s trapped and can’t go anywhere.  Some home owners in the areas of the Lower Mainland have installed catchment sumps with sump pumps to allow the water to be redirected to the catchment sump and then pumped by an electric sump pump to the city storm drain.  Areas like South Delta (Ladner) and Richmond which have similar concerns being right across the river from one another, especially the older homes built over dirt crawl spaces. 

There are companies that deal with this kind of problem and will install a very large diaper system with drainage and dehumidification as part of the option.  This can be very expensive and the potential of your concern happening every year would have to be evaluated by you as to whether you need to do it or not.  We can help you get a quotation on the correction of your problem by using another perimeter drainage company who would replace your drainage pipes around the outside of your footings as well as inside and drain into a collector sump, then pumped to the storm sewer drain or French drain if possible.  Please call us and we will advise you of a drainage contactor.  Keep in mind, it would depend what city sewer system is available to pump the water into.  The ground water is not necessarily going to go away because of the ground water hydraulics.  If you would like to discuss this over the phone, please call me at 604.542.2236 and leave a message if I’m not in and I’ll get back to you.