Replace vapor barrier after flood?

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  #1  
Old 02-25-13, 07:07 AM
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Replace vapor barrier after flood?

After several days of heavy rain, our dirt floor crawlspace has flooded (30' diameter, about 6 - 8" deep). There's a sump pump installed, but it died and the water kept coming. We've had pooling down there before, but nothing this bad.

I've replaced the sump pump and removed all standing water. There is a dehumidifier running, but it's still very wet down there.

Here are my questions... What should I do with the existing vapor barrier on the dirt floor? It was saturated and is now pretty muddy. Can I clean and reseal it? Should I remove it to help evaporation (but isn't that what it's there to prevent) and replace?

Also, how concerned should I be about mold? Are there steps I could take now to prevent mold issues?
 
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Old 02-25-13, 07:40 AM
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I see two issues, water and vapor. Vapor will always be trying to move up through that barrier and the soil just below it will become just as moist as the soil a foot down, so it never really dries. But the flood and resulting mud above the plastic need some changes. If you can clean it and re-seal it, fine. But if some drainage paths need to be created and an additional sump or two installed, then some or all may have to come up. Remember, having a back-up for your sump or computer data, as soon as you experience a failure, you no longer have a back-up. My daughter just learned that when both of her sump pumps failed at the same time. They are a small investment for the aggravation and damage they can prevent. Of course, when the power goes out they are a boat anchor.

If you haven't tested for radon and you are going to do some major work down there, you might want to know if there is another problem that needs to be addressed.

Keep the dehumidifier going until it is dry down there to prevent mold. If you have windows and the outside temp and humidity level are better than that space, then open the windows for awhile.

Bud
 
  #3  
Old 02-25-13, 01:34 PM
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Thanks Bud. I'm going to try to clean up and reseal rather than replace. I also plan to keep a close eye on things until I can install a backup pump... Sounds like a wet ground down there is going to be expected. No need to call in a pro or start spraying fungicide... Right?
 
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Old 02-25-13, 03:07 PM
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I'm not there to look, but it sounds like it isn't any worse under the plastic than before the flood. Or at least it will get there all by itself. The important part would be getting the crawl space that is open to the wood framing above as dry as possible as quickly as possible. If it is cool down there, many dehumidifiers do not work well. Make sure it is removing water.

Bud
 
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