drdiy

Musty Crawlspaces / Weeping Weep Holes / Gutter Guards

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2015 at 10:08 am

Q:

I have crawl spaces with dirt floors that are open to my basement. The crawl spaces smell musty and are humid. I was considering a company to seal or put a concrete slab over the dirt in the crawlspace.

A:

Before you spend a lot of money, do the inexpensive and most effective corrective measures first.

I would still make sure the grade around the exterior is sloped away from the foundation walls.

Install a 6-mil visqueen over the entire crawl space floor. Overlap the vapor retarder and tape them together. Run the visqueen to the three exterior walls and up the walls at least 6 to 12 inches, secure them with mastic or wood strips. If you have heat ducts in the crawl spaces close and seal any exterior vents and thoroughly insulate the perimeter walls with R-19 insulation. Install openings in the ductwork on opposite ends of the crawl the size of floor vents in both the heat supply as well as the return ductwork. Your problem should be solved.

Q:

My weep holes are weeping! Our new house has had an issue with leakage in the chase from our direct vent fireplace resulting in tearing out the beautiful built-in library. The builder had new flashing installed and some of the lower weep holes removed from the exterior brickwork. Once again it leaked, and on my newly installed drywall (thankfully they hadn’t started the woodwork). The contractor who did the repair said the joints from the removal of the weep holes (which the stone mason did) were too large and allowed moisture to seep in from the mortar joints. They did put a sealer around the chase, which turns out to be a temporary fix (6 months to a year sealing effect). There are still some weep holes on the brick and now we hear that removing all the weep holes might even increase the problem of leaking. Our new library is beautiful and I don’t want to have this problem continue. Our builder has the mason coming out later this month and I need some guidance about weep holes. He does plan to have the entire chase re-sealed with an appropriate brick sealer that lasts longer than 6 months. He also placed a plastic tarp in the attic surrounding the chase just in case it did leak before the repairs. Sorry for the long explanation but I’m terrified of having the library wall and shelves ruined again. Any advice you can give me would be very appreciated. I am a faithful reader and have clipped many of your articles.

A:

I don’t necessarily believe the weep holes are the entire problem. I think the house wrap behind the bricks, as well as the flashing behind the weep holes are the cause of the leaking damage.

The weep holes are there to provide drainage of moisture that penetrates the brick and mortar if done properly, they should not leak.

Q:

A few years ago we had a plastic mesh covering installed in our gutters to help keep leaves out. Now I notice that snow tends to sit on top of the mesh obstructing making water flow over and not into the gutter. My husband thinks this is not a problem but I do.

A:

I am a big fan of leaf guards on gutters. I tested numerous types on my house to see which worked effectively. My lot is heavily treed and in the fall I would have to clean my gutters every week just to keep up with the maintenance.

What I discovered during the test surprised me. The screening and mesh that I thought would work did not. They all seemed to get snagged and obstructed with stems, twigs and pine needles, which in turn caused leaves to accumulate and the gutters to become almost ineffective.

The leaf guards that I originally thought could never work because they didn’t appear to have enough openings or slots to allow the rain to get into the gutters, worked great. They work through capillary action and for the most part, the leaves do indeed flow across them and onto the ground. Rarely do I need to hose them out to clean them.

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