I was talking to the foundation guy who will be doing my foundation for my house. He said that a crawl space would be best in my situation considering the grade of the land. Do any of you have a crawl space under your house? How is it with moisture/mildew and how do you access it? I would like to keep the access hidden. Also is the floor concrete or dirt? It's going to be a block foundation, any pro's cons to having a crawl space? Thanks Chris
I don't know about your particular engineering situation but the people I know who built a new home with a crawl space instead of a basement regretted it. After living in the house a while they started wishing they had a basement.
I know I considered it as a cost saving measure. Once I started figuring it though it didn't make much sense. It wasn't something I could easily do later or add on. I was already having to bring in excavators, cement trucks, forms and everything so it wasn't that big of a deal to just spring for the full basement. Besides I was more or less doubling the square footage of my house for a couple of grand or something . When I worked it out on paper it ended up being a no brainer.
I'll add the first time I had to go down into the basement to do some work on the systems of the house and didn't have to crawl around in a cramped space and bash my head on floor joists or impale my head on nails poking through from the floor above was money well spent too.
If it can be done engineering wise and can be done sensibly form an economic standpoint then I'd go with the basement. I don't think you'd ever be sorry. After all here are some words I don't think you'll ever hear a homeowner say:
"I love this house but I wish it didn't have a basement"
"This house has just too much storage space "
"I wish this house didn't have so much closet space"
"I love this house but the garage is just far too big"
It has a lot to do with locality as well as costs.If your lot is sloping, I would go with crawl space. If using a slab, on a slope, there is much sand to be packed WELL to prevent slab from breaking later. I HAVE SEEN this. It is a disaster!!Most ALL homes in my native state of S.C. have crawl spaces. It is by far the most common building method, & only in the last 10 years, or so, have you seen many new slab foundations .
I lived in many houses with crawl spaces.
Possible extra storage space, according to height, etc.Even small workshop may be possible on a sloping foundation.
Easy access to plumbing, wiring, etc., for any changes/ repairs, etc.
Ability to really insulate well under floor better than concrete
Moisture/condensation if not built properly. While building,have plenty of foundation vents & have heavy plastic sheeting applied & weighted to dirt floor as vapor barrier. Will solve 90% of problems.
In some areas, mice, etc., may try to get in.
BE SURE to set up a contract with exterminator for termite inspection/spraying, etc.
Each method can cause problems if poorly constructed.
CRACKING if not done well or poor concrete mix.
NO access to broken pipes, wiring, etc.
Usually a crawl space is very often that - you can't do anything more than crawl into & out of it, & while working in it. Unless you're in great shape & don't have any bad days, it may be of very limited use for storage. Honestly, if you've got the option to have a basement, I really would, mainly because it will give you good space for storage, root cellering, pantry, rec room, storm shelter, or whatever you need it to be. When I buy or build, it'd have to be a huge house to not have a basement, and very well laid out at that.
My folks have had one under their house for years, and my dad doesn't go underneath there unless he has to, becuase it's very uncomfortable to work in.
No one mentioned this, being a woman it's important to US. Snakes and mice...both habituate crawl spaces. Since it's not a basement you don't enter the crawl space unless you NEED to. In other words , the area is left undisturbed for long periods. I've lived in homes with crawl spaces, the wild imaginings of what lurked there SEEMED to be all out of whack with reality till I had a 6'6" electrician working under there that came out in a hurry. He didn't like snakes either and said there was a blacksnake under there bigger than he was. CREEPY. Don't forget, blacksnakes eat mice. See what I mean??? We built and I have a basement now. if I get mice (living in the boonies it's a given) I KNOW they're there and take care of it. Only had one snake, found the shed skin not the snake, while we were still in construction.
No (creepy) crawl (ly) space for ME, thank you.
Even if you don't use the basement for storage, it is a lot easier to get in and manuever, carry tools, and repair things standing up than in a horizontal position. You'll be more apt to go in and check things out if you have a basement than a spider and vermin hideaway.
If you can afford it, build a basement. AND it is a great storm shelter.
I've lived in houses on crawls, slab, and basement. My findings: If I had a crawl it would have at least 3 feet or more of clearance, grade to floor joists. You can put a furnace down there and have enough room to work. I would NEVER build on a slab because if you have problems with pipes and sewer they are buried in the slab. A basement is your best choice unless you have ground water problems. If I look at a house to buy a sump pump or signs of water nixs the deal.
If you go with a crawl space, make sure it is easy to get in and out of. Make sure critters can't get into it. I've lived in houses on slab, on crawl, and with basement. Slab is the worst, basement the best.
Why can't you have a basement? If the property is sloped you can have a nice walkout basement. A basement will increase the value of your home (a walkout even more so). If the water table is high, build a high basement. That is, build it four feet above ground instead of two feet. I've seen them six feet above ground because of high water table. You would want every precaution taken to divert water from the foundation, but you should do that anyway. As long as the design is well thought out, it won't look odd.
__________________ Nothing is as strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength - St. Francis de Sales
I hated crawl spaces..
Mold, mice, snakes, and Lord knows what else called that place "home. If you seal it up tightly against vermin, you have a problem with mold and mildew from condensation on the pipes..if you use latticework to permit ventilation, then you'll still have some mold and mildew depending upon where you live, AND those critters ..Nothing quite like accessing a crawl space and finding a 6 foot snake skin and wondering if that snake is around the next bend or has left..
If I can help it, I'd never again have a crawl space..I want a place where I can store food without having to compete with wildlife for it...microscopic or otherwise.
"In order to receive happiness, you must first give it away."
I don't have a basement because I couldn't afford it when I built the house. Given a choice I would choose a basement. My crawlspace is tall enough that I can bend at the waist and walk. It was vented but in Illinois you can't dry anything out in August. So I sealed the vents and put a dehumidifier down there. Big improvement. I have a trap door to get down there in a closet. I built some steep steps to make it easier to get in and out. I also have a light switch in the closet that will turn on a couple lights down there. Plenty of room to work. No spiders or snakes, have had a couple mice. Works here!
I am in crawl spaces all the time working. Some are very nice and some are terrible. As someone posted, have at least 3 foot clearance. Also put down heavy plastic and cover it with a layer of pea gravel. When they wire your house, have some porcelin outlets put around the crawl area on the floor joists and wired to a on/off switch by the entrance. You can flip the switch and work in the crawl area without a flashlight. Termites are much easier and less expensive to treat in a house with a crawl space as compared to a slab. I have to get under 3 different houses tomorrow. I hope the crawl spaces are as I described above. LOL
We have a crawl space and its great. Would have cost about $15,000 more for a full basement and then with the ground water level it would be a swimming pool. In our area of south NJ the people that have basements all have to pump water out of them -- can't use them for much of anything unless you want stuff to be wet all the time. A crawl space is much better than building on slab. You can also build on pilings or piers and avoid a lot of problems.
My daughter bought a modular set on a crawl space. The people who set it up put concrete on the ground in the crawl space. This makes it posible to lay on a creeper and move anywhere under the house you need to be without crawling and squirming around like crippled billy goat. Still not as good as a basement.
It has a lot to do with locality as well as costs.If your lot is sloping, I would go with crawl space. .
My place is on a slope I guess that explains it I wish I had a basement atleast there is a root cellar built under the house with cement block about 9 by 12. The rest of it is only around 3ft off the ground so of no use to me, it is not visible as they put siding up around it. The cellar gets a few inches of water in it in the spring and if we have a carpet on the wood floors in are bedroom it will get wet under it, But that is only for that brieft time their is water there and the rest of the house is dry as it was built over the natural slope and their is no water collecting under it.Sometimes animals get under the house that is one negative.
I have all three a basement and a crawl space and built on slab in another section of my house. The crawl space has a cement floor and we use it for storage. Given a second chance it'd be a full basement. The slab is the biggest pain in the butt going. Heck if the lot absolutely can not have a full basement............ sell the place!
Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........
We have a block foundation/crawl space. We went up 4 blocks at the minimum and because of the slope of our land, we were able to get a small walk-out basement area. In the "basement" we did a concrete slab, but in the rest of the crawl space we put down a vapor barrier and then put pea gravel in pretty thick. We also did not do any vents----very controversal, but read an article in Fine Homebuilding that it is the new thing and we have not been sorry. We don't have a problem with bugs or moisture and the pea gravel is so nice down there instead of just dirt. We made sure that we have gutters on the house and that the land slopes away from the block foundation properly. Be sure you add footings for your piers also. We spaced our piers 5 ft apart. We have lights down there and a plug just in case.
We have a crawl space because the house is on a hillside. The front is about 2 feet above the ground, & the back is almost high enough to stand up under it. We store things under it in the winter, such as tiller attachments & garden hoses. The chickens love to go under there in the summer to hide from hawks & take dust baths in the cool dirt.
The house is underpenned with native rocks, but we built a large door in the highest corner for easy access. It has air vents on the south & east sides, & it isn't moldy or scary at all.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Mt.35:24
The crawl space under this house isn't so bad. It's a little musty,that's all. Never had any snakes or mice under there that I know of...but,I haven't seen a snake near the house since the cats have been around,definitely no mice either. Without the cats,it would probably be different.
There was only one time that something strange happened(nearly forgot this). The opening to under the house was open and two coon dogs got lost from their owner that night. They came down here and for some unknown reason,they went under the house! It was like 2am and the dogs are under the house,can't find their way out....they started howling and were bumping their heads on the floor above them. You can just imagine the noises...I was out there with a flash light,calling for them to come out,took about an hour to get them out and tied up...it was just an uproar that could have been avoided if I had made sure the opening was kept closed. So,make sure you keep it closed,anything can possibly get under there.