Moisture Sources: Outside Sources

standing water

Having consistent excess moisture levels in the home can wreak havoc on your hardwood floors. Because moisture issues are the most common cause of problems to hardwood floors, knowing your home’s moisture sources and how to control them is half the battle in preventing problems with your hardwood flooring.

Drainage Issues: Excessive groundwater exists when rain water collects at a faster rate than what can be fully absorbed back into the ground and naturally carried away. Sometimes this can cause “standing” water and is common after strong downpours or longer than normal storms. These pools of rain runoff or other types of groundwater may seep in through foundation walls or otherwise accumulate in crawl spaces underneath your home.

Some homes may sit on land that absorbs more water than other pieces of land around it. This could be because of the types of water table it sits on, if the home is positioned near a natural body of water or swampy-type of area or if the home is positioned at the base of hill or in the convex of a valley.

Crawl Spaces: Crawl space sizing and positioning varies for each home. Your crawl space is that open space underneath your home that is accessed through a hole in one of your floors, through a wall inside of a closet or through a small opening on the outside of your home. It’s usually just large enough for one or two adults to crawl through.

Moisture problems can be as minimal as dealing with slight dampness in the crawl space to full blown several inches of standing water that accumulates and stays during the rainy months. Moisture can accumulate in crawl spaces if a crawl space was placed on an elevated water table, if the moisture barriers are the wrong types, if the plastic or vinyl sheeting weren’t installed the right way or if there are not enough vent holes in the foundation. Drainage issues, as discussed above, are also a contributing factor.

If you have a partial or full basement, this is your “crawl space.” Most basement walls are constructed with moisture barriers behind the walls. If the construction of this was not done properly, if the moisture barrier has sustained damage or has begun to deteriorate due to age or if your basement floor is considered to be “unfinished” then you may still experience similar moisture issues as a small crawl space.

Natural Springs: Sometimes small springs will form but only during rainy seasons and a homeowner would be unsuspecting of it if the home was purchased during a warmer drier season. Groundwater can naturally rise into a crawl space if the soil is highly absorbent like silt or slow draining like clay. Most of this water evaporates before being absorbed into the floor joists of the house but still can cause moisture issues. Concrete and subflooring can absorb some of this moisture and over time make its way to underneath your hardwood floors.