When touring homes, home buyers – and even homeowners – rarely consider what’s beneath their feet. If they’re walking on top of a crawl space, they should. That phrase may appear in real estate listings. Do you, on the other hand, understand what a basement crawl space is? Or do you have any knowledge of crawl space basement conversion and finishing? If you want to become a homeowner, you should have your home inspector inspect the basement crawl space and basement areas before signing on the dotted line.
Are you a current homeowner? Basement crawl space conversion and finishing may rise to the top of your priority list, especially if you have a problem with humidity, standing water, or other water issues. Inquire with a contractor about an encapsulation system that can seal off the area and reduce crawl space problems.
What is a Crawl Space Basement
A basement crawl space is a hollow area between the ground and first floors of some homes. As the name implies, it is usually only high enough for someone to crawl into. A crawl space raises your house off the ground and gives you a place to put the “guts” of the house, like the ductwork for the air conditioner and heater, insulation, plumbing, and electrical wiring.
Crawl Space Basement Construction
The weight of the house is supported by footings and walls (made of cinder blocks, poured concrete, wood, or steel construction) in a basement crawl space. The walls can be up to 5 feet tall, but the average crawl space is 1 to 3 feet high. Crawl spaces are also unfinished, making it simple to access your home’s mechanicals.
The Benefits of a Basement Crawl Space
Warm floors are common in homes with crawl spaces. Because the floors are elevated from the ground, they are easily insulated and warm up quickly when the temperature outside drops. In a flood zone, the crawl space acts as a buffer between the water table and your floors because flood water fills the crawl space before flooding the house.
Crawl spaces are preferable to basements if you live in a damp area that needs to be vented, gets a lot of rain, or is prone to mold or termites. Crawl spaces are best suited for high-moisture areas or coastal areas with sandy soil, where excess water can build pressure against a full basement and seep into cracks.
The Downsides of a Basement Crawl Space
Storms cause thousands of dollars more in property damage to crawlspace homes than basement homes. Crawl spaces are also inconvenient for storage. Crawl spaces are unsuitable for storing anything other than concrete mix and bricks due to the moisture and mold that fill them. If you store any food or clothing down there, it will rot within three years.
In addition, unlike a basement, homeowners cannot count the crawl space as livable space. You also won’t want to use the space as extra storage if you have mold, moisture, or pest problems. If your home is in a flood zone, this is not in your best interests. Wetness can also damage your home’s insulation, causing mold or infestations.
Crawl Space Basement Conversion
A crawl space basement conversion, also known as a “dig out, is a method by which contractors excavate your crawlspace and transform it into something much more useful. A process like this eliminates many of the threats to your home’s health while also leaving a lot of room for change.
How Does it Work?
When performing a basement crawlspace conversion, they excavate to the depth and width of a full basement. This will usually be 7 to 10 feet deep, but it will depend on the current situation and what the customer wants. The goal is to add as much storage or living space as possible for as little money as possible.
After the concrete for the foundation’s floor and walls have been poured and set, we install a waterproofing system in the basement to prevent future water-related issues (mold, leaks, cracks, a weak foundation, etc.).
We understand that the most significant barrier for most homeowners is cost. A basement crawl space dig-out costs a lot of money, but our past customers will tell you that the benefits are worth much more than the initial cost. Dig-outs are faster and less expensive than adding on to or extending your home, and they have many other benefits as well.
What Are the Steps for a Crawl Space Basement Conversion?
As you may have guessed, crawl space basement conversion is not an easy task. Because of this, you need to make sure you know how to do the whole job. This will not only help you get the best quote but will also allow you to decide on some conversion-related details.
So, here are the steps for converting a crawl space into a basement that you should be aware of:
- Discuss your plans with a contractor.
- Locate a structural engineer who can design your conversion plans.
- Obtain a building permit from your local municipality.
- Remove the soil from the crawl space down to the footings.
- Instead of digging, raise the house structure.
- Construct a new basement foundation wall.
- Construct a drainage system.
- Install the concrete slab
- Basement waterproofing
- Complete any interior projects, such as painting and framing.
The Advantages of a Crawl Space Basement Conversion
#1. Expand your living space
Adding a basement to your home instantly increases the amount of living space. In a matter of months, you will have added an entire floor to your home.
Crawlspace conversions have turned basements into home offices, entertainment centers, multi-room living spaces with bathrooms and kitchen appliances, children’s playrooms, and even home gyms.
#2. Boost storage space
Anyone who owns a crawlspace understands how useless they are for practical storage. Crawlspaces are typically small and inaccessible. Furthermore, they can harbor pests and mold and are prone to water damage, putting all of the items in storage at risk. On the other hand, a basement has a lot of easy-to-reach storage space and is a much drier place to keep your things safe.
#3. Improves home value
This is probably the best thing about crawl space dig-outs for homeowners who aren’t sure if they are a good investment. When the time comes to sell your home, you’ll be glad you made an investment that extends its life and increases its resale value.
Houses with basements sell for 20–30% more than houses without basements. Furthermore, they sell 5–10% faster. When it comes to selling your home and recouping your initial investment, everything counts. Most studies show that the return on investment is usually around 130%.
Contact a Professional
Digging beneath your home’s foundation is a dangerous and delicate process. This complicated process should only be done by an experienced engineer and contractor. A homeowner should never try to do it themselves.
Finishing Crawl Space Basement
The two most important issues to address when finishing your crawl space basement are high humidity and standing water. Mold and fungi can grow on your walls, furniture, ceiling, and other surfaces if the humidity is too high. Mold and termite damage can also be caused by standing water.
Crawl Space Basement Finishing Tips
I’m starting with the floor tip waterproofing because it’s never been discussed, and you may be rolling your eyes. We installed tile flooring when we finished our crawl space basement. Other flooring materials in a basement, bathroom, or kitchen do not appeal to me. Tile flooring or possibly waterproof vinyl flooring is the best option in my opinion, but if your budget allows, go with tile. That is not, however, what I mean by waterproofing the floors.
Basement waterproof floor covering
Finally, before installing your flooring, you should install a waterproof dimple floor covering. When putting in tile, you don’t need a waterproof underlayment, but you should use DMX products when putting in carpet, laminate, vinyl, or hardwood. However, as I previously stated, in a crawl space basement finishing project, the tile would be my first choice.
Are crawl space basements dangerous?
Basement crawl spaces, on the other hand, serve some important purposes. Crawl spaces can also hold moisture, which can cause dampness and mold problems. Those with dirt are particularly susceptible to moisture and mold issues. To reduce moisture buildup, a proper crawl space should have a moisture barrier and some gravel or other surface.
Which is preferable, a crawl space or a basement?
Crawl spaces are only good for small amounts of storage, while basements can also be used as living spaces. That means basements are more functional and add significantly more value to a home than crawl spaces. On the other hand, maybe a good option for homeowners in areas where basements aren’t feasible.
Is it possible to have a basement and a crawl space?
Yes, you can have a basement and a crawl space in the same house, though this is unusual. Some people prefer to have both to take advantage of their distinct advantages.
The main advantage of having a crawl space is that it raises the house off the ground. This helps control moisture by using things like crawl space vents that don’t need to be fixed. A basement can be used for storage or as a living space. It also increases the value of your home by increasing the square footage.
While you can have both a basement and a crawl space in your home, some circumstances may prevent you from doing so. The first is living in a humid environment. It can be challenging to keep a basement dry, especially if you live in an area prone to flooding or heavy rain.
You should consult your local realtor because he will be able to give you the best advice on whether your house can accommodate both a basement and a crawl space.
How Much is the Conversion of Crawl Space Into a Basement?
To give you an idea, a basement crawl space conversion can cost six figures, if not more. It costs about $50 per square foot on average. This is just the norm. It can cost as little as $30 per square foot or as much as $70 per square foot. This means that constructing a 1,500-square-foot basement will cost between $45,000 and $112,500.
Is the crawl space the same as the basement?
Crawl spaces are no more than 6 feet tall, whereas basements begin at 8 feet. This is perhaps the most noticeable difference between the two spaces, with crawl spaces ranging from 18 to 6 feet (the majority being around 3 feet tall) and basements ranging from 8 to 10 feet.
Can crawl space be turned into a basement?
Crawlspaces can be converted into full basements with careful site planning and proper drainage. Today’s homeowners are looking for low-cost ways to expand their living space.
What’s the purpose of a crawl space?
A crawl space home absorbs water vapor from the earth and allows it to enter the home. Crawl spaces were constructed to act as a barrier between the house and its occupants and the damp, wet earth beneath.
What are the disadvantages of a crawl space?
Crawl spaces can be difficult to adequately insulate. Poor insulation in humid areas can lead to mold and rodent problems. Crawl-space foundations cannot compete with slab foundations in terms of energy costs. Heating and cooling a home with a crawlspace foundation is significantly more expensive.
What should I do with my crawl space basement?
8 important things you can do to keep your crawl space dry
- Examine and repair any damage.
- Install a vapor barrier in the crawl space.
- Wrap your crawl space in insulation.
- Purchase a dehumidifier.
- Cover the vents.
- Ensure that gutters and downspouts are properly positioned.
- Put in a sump pump.
- Maintain vigilance.
Why are houses built on crawl spaces?
Crawl spaces are used in homes for two reasons: cost and accessibility. Crawl spaces work by allowing outside air to circulate beneath the house. There are several advantages to building a home’s floor off the ground (rather than on a concrete slab-on-grade), including cost-effectiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I worry about my crawl space?
Moisture buildup, humidity inside your home, and higher energy bills are all signs of a crawl space in disrepair. By the time you notice foul odors, floor rot, or foundation problems, it may be too late to save your crawl space without costly repairs.
Does crawl space affect home value?
Encapsulating the crawl space helps to control moisture and, as a result, increases the value of your home. Crawl space encapsulation, while not as glamorous as other home improvements, is critical for your home. Some of the benefits that will accrue from it cannot be quantified.
How long do crawl spaces last?
In general, most companies will provide a warranty of 15 to 20 years for a typical crawlspace encapsulation project. A properly encapsulated crawlspace, on the other hand, can last for more than 20 years if humidity levels are controlled and no catastrophic events, such as flooding, occur.
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