Is gravel acceptable in a crawl space as a moisture barrier

What about a moisture barrier ? This cellar or crawl space has no moisture barrier down (house built in 1900). I guess maybe because its easier for water to drain through the gravel, attached pictures of the sump pump. Should I call this out as missing moisture barrier ? I would say YES

Gravel that water can pass through as a moisture barrier? I think you answered you own question. :slight_smile:


No, but dig down sometimes the vapor barrier will be under the gravel


We have that a lot up here, Randy.


A submersible pump installed on top of the gravel is an indication to me that this crawlspace takes in water. looking around the crawlspace tells me it definitely takes on some water.


indoor coy pond drained for routine maitenance…You only see that in really hi end properties around here…


There is no sump pit!
No vapour barrier.
Visible efflorescence stains on the poured concrete foundation.

P3007.1 Building Subdrains

Building subdrains that cannot be discharged to the sewer by gravity flow shall be discharged into a tightly covered and vented sump from which the liquid shall be lifted and discharged into the building gravity drainage system by automatic pumping equipment or other approved method. In other than existing structures, the sump shall not receive drainage from any piping within the building capable of being discharged by gravity to the building sewer.

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Since it is a very old home, you could rely on the “performance” of the space. I see many moisture issues, including evidence of elevated humidity…such as this suspected microbial growth. It appears a vapor barrier is only one of their problems.


Morning, Sam.
Hope this post finds you well.

Sam, this building has undergone large structural and mechanical renovations. This is not a century building construction which I have seen before, which would be structural masonry and steel.
Cylindrical Galvanized steel column with no visible footing. No Steel Column connected to a steel beam.
Look at the dimensional lumber. Those joists are clear and engineered, not rough-cut true dimensional lumber.
Look at the brick masonry. Running bond, Portland mortar, not full masonry brick units with lime based mortar.
Everything screams poor suspect workmanship.


I don’t see that.
I agree that the framing is not the typical rough-cut dimensional lumber that is common with the age of the house. However, the foundation looks like it is performing. Water migration and the resulting efflorescence is so common that it is practically a boilerplate comment in reports. The foundation does not show displacement. There may be some recommendations such as adding a vapor barrier or mold evaluation, but I am not seeing a structural concern in the OP’s photo.


I agree. Just looking at this a bit further, I am not sure the CMU wall is technically a foundation but more of a retaining wall to accommodate for the dug-out crawl. Certainly if you were to remove the CMU wall, the bearing soil would be compromised. I see a couple of issues such as the leaning support post and one CMU block on it’s side which may be jammed under the beam. But ultimately, water/moisture management just needs some attention. No need for engineer or alarming narratives.

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I like the covering over the sump pump. someone is missing a Rubbermaid trash cover.

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I’ve been looking for that thing,