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A Home Owner’s Guide to Crawl Spaces

A crawl space is like a basement; however, it has vents to allow outside air. Some crawl spaces can be as high as a basement, whereas others can be as low as two feet tall, so you need to crawl on your belly to access.

There are three major types of house foundations in the USA. More than half of the foundations are concrete slabs, around 30% are full or partial basements, and about 15% have crawl spaces.

Why do homes have crawl spaces?

The most concise answer is a crawl space creates a barrier between the flooring of your residence and the ground beneath. It’s an alternative to a more traditional basement. Nevertheless, the two primary reasons homes have crawl spaces are – cost-effectiveness and convenience.

Crawl spaces are more cost-effective to build than basements since it negates the need to move the dirt to level the slope for a concrete pad. You can conveniently mount water and sewer lines, gas hook-ups, HVAC units, and piping on the convenience aspect. This configuration permits easier upkeep of utility units and pipes.

Two Types of Crawl Spaces

  • Ventilated – have several air vents usually located at the top of the foundation wall. The air streams freely throughout the room; however, it does even more harm than good given that the air is uncontrolled and unconditioned. Because whether the air is hot or cool, it might be loaded with moisture. With all the wires and pipes, and other obstructions, insulating a ventilated crawl space is possible but very tough.
  • Conditioned – has insulated walls and a tight vapor barrier on the floor. The barrier is typically connected to the HVAC system, and it doesn’t need insulation between the floor joists. The vapor barrier maintains the temperature control the whole year round and removes dampness from entering the crawl spaces.

The Drawbacks

  • Humidity – excessive moisture threatens the integrity of wood structures and components. Excessive moisture could cause the wood to rot and increase termite activity.
  • Fungus, mildew, and mold – if there’s a water issue combined with air circulating, it makes the place suitable for dangerous microorganisms to multiply. Residents of the home, including pets, will be prone to health hazards such as allergens and respiratory issues brought about by mold and mildew. You can resolve any water restoration issues by getting the service of credible restoration companies.
  • Pest infestations – bugs, rats, snakes, and some small animals are attracted to the heat and moisture of crawl spaces. Pest intrusion may adversely affect the air quality of your house due to their dander, fur, or droppings.
  • Floods – if you reside in a disaster area, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to take care of water problems in the crawl space at some time. Flood damage can compromise the structural integrity of your residence, and infected water is a potential source of plenty of water-borne diseases. Floods should not be ignored; you need to call dependable contractors for water mitigation and repairs right away. Click here if you’re looking for a restoration company.


As long as your crawl space has been correctly built and preserved well, all the drawbacks should not be your worry. Make sure no holes in the ground can be an access point for rats and other small animals. Any vents should have a screen to prevent pests from getting in.

A crawl space makes access more accessible to various systems in your home should something need to be repaired. Although a crawl space is not a livable area, some homeowners could store small items. A well-maintained crawl space can serve a lot of purposes in your house.


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