Encapsulation Vs. Controlled Ventilation
Downtown Charlotte North Carolina has many old neighborhoods that date back between the 1900’s and the 1940’s. Many of these old houses have basement / cellar areas adjacent to crawl spaces that were used for heating back in the old days. Oil heat and coal were common forms of heating used during the last century. Now, these areas get used for storage and perhaps supplemental living space. Due to the nature of how these structures were built, many of these old cellar areas leak when it rains heavily. We get phone calls from the Plaza Midwood and Elizabeth neighborhoods on a regular basis from homeowners requesting guidance on what to do. It is important to understand that these homes were built like crates. They are constructed of brick and have little to no footings. The water often just pours right in. And they all draft heavily via the stacking effect up to the attic. It is important to understand that this type of foundation is impossible to encapsulate effectively. It is much more practical and cheaper to manage the moisture problem with controlled ventilation and dehumidification. Due to the age of these homes, waterproofing around these old masonry walls can also cause extensive damage if the contractor is not careful. Every situation must be analyzed from multiple levels before making a recommendation on repair. No house is the same as the next, and each inspection must be evaluated on a case by case basis. The attached video shows a recent install checking all of the boxes for a common sense approach to managing moisture as well as reducing water intrusion without damaging the foundation. Give us a call if you have questions and/or require further information about your old house.
Michael P. Masserang