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Crawlspace Foundation Gap - To seal or not to seal

Crawlspace Foundation Gap - To seal or not to seal

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  #1  
Old 10-23-17, 07:22 PM
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Crawlspace Foundation Gap - To seal or not to seal

Hi all,

I moved into my first home in the Chicagoland area last year. During our home inspection, our inspector noticed that there was a gap where the crawlspace foundation meets the basement foundation. The house was built in the 50s and over the past year, I havenít experienced any issues with the gap. Nor have I felt any imbalance in the living area above. However, to be safe than sorry, Iím looking to do something about it. Especially, since I plan on encapsulating the crawlspace in the future. My first thought was to close it up with Quikrete Hydraulic Water-Stop cement, but maybe itís supposed to be open for some reason. Another thought I had was that maybe the wood is meant to help absorb moisture from deeper in the foundation walls and allow it to evaporate through the gaps. However, the wood has obviously rotted away on one side and so that system may be done for. Additionally, past ventilation methods donít seem to be the correct way to deal with damp crawlspaces now-a-days.

To be specific, the gap is on both sides in the exact same spot. The area isnít significantly wet, even after heavy rainfall. However, if you reference the photos you can see exposed earth behind it as you would if one were to drill a hole in the foundation. Therefore, there is some moisture. Also, it was difficult to tell on my end and photos wouldnít have done it justice, but it seemed like there may have been additional wood running along the outer edge of the foundation, slightly under the surface and just outside the foundation walls. That makes me think that this is all one type of old school ventilation system. There are also, two ventilation windows at the top of the foundation. One of which I currently have a fan blowing outward and the other is closed off.

Itís tough for me to justify getting a professional to inspect it. My home inspector just said that I might want to get it checked out, but he didnít raise any red flags. The crawlspace is damp, but thatís the case with any exposed crawlspace that hasnít been encapsulated

Iíve attached four images. Two of each side. One of the whole area and another close-up.

Thank you for the help.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-25-17, 06:06 AM
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So this short wall with the bottom gap is an exterior foundation wall? Behind it is dirt that goes on and on...? I ask because it almost looks like there is another crawlspace behind it or else the dirt has just eroded and is no longer packed against it. I'll hold off on my reservations and defer the expertise to the home inspector. Given the information at hand and since you are going to encapsulate the space I'd just pack the area with bricks or pieces of bricks and then encapsulate.

Edit: Looking at the pictures again, where is the basement wall? I originally thought the black sealed wall was basement but then noticed both left and right walls are painted.
 
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Old 10-25-17, 07:51 AM
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The foundation wall painted black is the one facing the basement. I'm assuming that's a black waterproofing sealer to prevent water from entering the basement. The short wall is part of the crawlspace and the crawlspace dips about 4' below surface level and the basement about 7'. Beyond the short wall is just the outside dirt as if you were to break through the foundation. I've attached a sketch for reference of where the gaps are. I too, was thinking of packing the holes with gravel and brick and covering them up. Especially, if I'm going to encapsulate it, I would want any holes, gaps and leaks patched up. The more I look at it, I think this was just some way to ventilate any moisture that was hugging the exterior foundation walls and the wood underneath was one way to pull that moisture into the crawlspace so it could exit through the wood floors or ventilation windows. Since encapsulating crawlspaces is common now and closing up those vents is part of the process then it probably doesn't make sense for these gaps to exist. Hopefully, that's the case and these gaps aren't part of a more serious issue.
 
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Last edited by ThisGuy.; 10-25-17 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 10-25-17, 08:39 AM
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Ah, I see it now - thanks for the drawing. I had the black wall (yep, waterproofing sealer) as two separate walls in my head and couldn't figure out the layout.

The packing would be more to hopefully reduce further erosion into the crawlspace. Sealing it against leaks in that corner would be tougher since the bottom of the foundation is that high but if you don't have standing water after rain or seepage coming in then that would be of less concern.
 
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