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Dovetail Greene
Dovetail Greene, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 378
Experience:  Licensed Building Contractor & Certified Building Designer
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Hello. I have a Crawl Space Entrance leak issue. Rain water

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Hello. I have a Crawl Space Entrance leak issue. Rain water and vermin appear to be getting through the areas seen in the attached picture. Any suggestions to stop the water leak and prevent vermin from entering the crawl space?


My name's Kel.


The simplest approach would be to make a lid to fit over the metal enclosure.

Use 3/4" thick pressure treated plywood.

Cut it so it extends 2" beyond the perimeter of the metal.


Attach a piece of 1x4 so that it runs along the edge where the lid will butt up against the siding. This piece will lay on top of the metal causing the lid to be pitched for drainage. Attach a piece of vinyl weather along the edge that butts up against the house. The weight and friction should hold the lid tight enough to the house to prevent leakage.


Attach pressure treated 2x4 to the under side of the lid that's just slightly smaller the the metal. The 2x4 is positioned to follow the shape. This positions the lid over the pit.


Attach a flexible weather stripping next to the 1x4 toward the outside so that the weather stripping rests on top of the metal edge when the lid is in place.


You may need to use either caulk or mortar to seal any gaps between the metal and the foundation. Mortar for large gaps -- say 3/4" or greater. Caulk for less.


If this is beyond your skills you could hire a handy person.


I'm not recommending the clear plastic covers that fit over these type metal enclosures. They won't seal at the house and critters can get between the cover and enclosures.


Have I answered your question?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Although I already have a lid, I will make a new one with your suggestions. My main concern is the inside areas I pointed out in the attached picture. Water keeps seeping through and vermin just under the metal "U" shaped metal enclosure. I used something like "Chicken" wire but the vermin still manage to get in, especially rats and moles. I want to use cinder blocks around the metal enclosure and use water proof cement. Does this sound good to you?

Not quite sure where you're proposing to put the block and cement.

If you're talking around the top --

OK. Will you be able to pitch it away from the house and the metal enclosure?


I wouldn't do it on the bottom because there's be no place for drainage.


Are the rats getting in under the metal?

Is the enclosure only about 12" tall?


You could dig out the bottom of the enclosure. Install galvanized hardware cloth to follow the shape of the inside of the enclosure. Place the hardware cloth against the enclosure. Have it extend about 12" below the bottom of the enclosure. You can get hardware cloth in 1/4" x 1/4" mesh. That should keep the vermin out.


Fill will crushed stone for drainage.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Rats are indeed getting through the bottom of the metal enclosure and water is draining into the floor of the crawl space. I am in the Seattle/Everett area where it rains a lot during the Fall and Spring months. Its the areas around the metal enclosure that seem to need some water and vermin protection.

Two more thoughts.

Can you relocate the crawlspace access point to another place?

Then fill this one in and seal the top with concrete?


Is there anyway you could install a drain at the bottom of the enclosure and have snow melt and rain drain to daylight?

That seems hard because the area around the opening seems to pavers and asphalt.

I'm guessing it would be difficult to trench for a drain.

If you could install a drain then you could cement the bottom to keep the vermin out.


Is there a gutter for the roof above the pit? what can be done to reduce the runoff on to the area around the pit?


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

There is no other opening throughout the foundation for relocating the crawlspace so I'm stuck with this opening. Also what you probably did not see in the photo I attached is a gutter drain spout to the right which seems to get filled with pine needles and debris from the neighboring trees which overflows to the ground. To avoid direct rainfall, there is a bit of a roof overhang about 3-4 feet from the wall that covers the entrance to the crawlspace so rain water does not affect that area directly unless water pools around the entrance due to ground moisture saturation and the nearby gutter when it gets clogged.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you suggest any other method to prevent rain water from seeping in and a way to stop vermin from entering?

The lid I proposed will keep the rain from seeping in.

An additional step would be to add some flashing under the siding that would extend of the lid by 1 1/2".


The lid will also keep any vermin from coming in from the top.


I suggested excavating down in the pit another 12 - 18" and installing hardware cloth around the perimeter and then back filling with crushed stone.

This will keep the vermin from burrowing in.

Hardware cloth is made from galvanized strands that form a mesh. the space between the strands is about a 1/4 x 1/4.


What leads you to believe these strategies won't work.


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