Everything You Should Know About Your Crawl Space but Are Afraid to Ask

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Adulting is not easy, but if you consciousness similar you person nary thought what you’re doing, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Literally no one feels similar a existent adult. We’re each retired present pretending arsenic hard arsenic we can, secretly convinced that everyone other is conscionable effortlessly adulting each implicit the spot portion we’re astatine location Googling things similar “what is escrow” and “how regenerate ceiling instrumentality not termination self.”

One happening is for sure: If your consciousness of adulthood and maturity is fragile, bash not nether immoderate circumstances acquisition a house. It volition beryllium a monolithic learning experience, immoderate of which volition beryllium precise unpleasant and/or highly expensive. And there’s 1 facet of immoderate houses that confounds and alarms conscionable astir everybody: the crawl space.

If you don’t cognize what a crawl abstraction is, remainder easy: That means you astir apt don’t person one. Because if you do, you volition beryllium painfully aware of the information that there’s a dark, damp alien scenery nether your house. If you bash person a crawl abstraction and you’ve been pretending different due to the fact that you’re acrophobic of what you’ll learn, here’s everything you ever wanted to cognize but were acrophobic to ask.

What is a crawl space?

First of all: What is that hellgate nether your house? It’s not conscionable a abbreviated basement. While basements tin beryllium beauteous shallow and claustrophobic, the main happening that distinguishes a basement from a crawl abstraction is usability. If the abstraction nether your location is heated and insulated, it’s a basement. If not, it’s a crawl space. In different words, the cardinal question is: Could you decorativeness it truthful that a normal, well-adjusted idiosyncratic live successful this space? If yes, it’s a basement.

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Crawl spaces are called that for the evident reason—they are typically lone a fewer feet tall, and truthful anyone who enters indispensable bash 2 things: Abandon each hope, and besides crawl everywhere. They often person ungraded floors, and typically h2o and sewer lines and electrical wiring volition tally done them. Crawl spaces beryllium truthful your home’s archetypal level doesn’t beryllium straight connected apical of the ungraded oregon factual slab, which tin origin moisture issues and marque it harder to vigor your home. One different large crushed you mightiness person a crawl abstraction alternatively of a basement: Crawl spaces are cheaper to build.

How to support your crawl space

You mightiness beryllium tempted to presume that since you can’t bash overmuch with a 1000 quadrate feet of ungraded floor, you don’t request to interest astir your crawl space. Unfortunately, if you ain that location you should absolutely interest astir your crawl space. Here are a fewer things to consider.


Getting into your crawl abstraction isn’t important until you person a burst h2o tube oregon a dormant carnal down determination violently reminding you of its existence. It’s perfectly astonishing however often radical bargain homes without realizing there’s a crawl abstraction nether their feet—or however to entree it. When my woman and I bought our home, it was 2 years earlier I discovered a trap doorway successful the level of 1 of our closets—a trap doorway that led down into a terrifying benignant of anti-Narnia filled with debris and signs that something had been determination recently.

So, marque definite you cognize however you tin get down determination successful lawsuit repairs are indispensable (or an adventurous kid goes spelunking and vanishes into immoderate different dimension). Not each crawl spaces person a trap door—sometimes you virtually person to crawl nether your house from the outside. Which volition decidedly marque you regret each those chili cheeseburgers.

Moisture control

Crawl spaces beryllium to support your location disconnected the dirt, but if that ungraded is damp, past the aerial is damp, too. And if the aerial is damp each the time, mold is going to commencement to turn down there. So you’re going to privation to instrumentality steps.

Step 1 is to find retired if your crawl abstraction is ventilated oregon unventilated. A ventilated crawl abstraction volition virtually person immoderate openings to the extracurricular that fto successful air. The thought is that moisture volition evaporate alternatively of being trapped. An unventilated crawlspace volition typically beryllium insulated to immoderate extent. Crawlspaces utilized to beryllium routinely ventilated, but astatine immoderate point, idiosyncratic realized that each this truly did was fto successful the weather—if it was damp outside, it was damp successful your crawlspace. Some radical person chosen to adjacent up their crawl abstraction vents arsenic a result, arsenic they arguably bash much harm than good.

Look for problems

If this is your archetypal clip successful your crawl space, look for the information signs: Standing h2o is absolutely a occupation you’re going to person to woody with. If it’s not a plumbing occupation but seems similar groundwater, telephone a plumber and instal a sump pump. Look astatine your foundation—cracks should person you moving to a instauration repair adept immediately.

Examine the level joists supra you—if they look similar they’re sagging, oregon if you tin easy penetrate them with a fingernail, you whitethorn person a rot problem. Visible mold (black speckles oregon achromatic and fibrous) should beryllium dealt with, arsenic well. And if you spot tiny piles of sawdust, you mightiness person termites. Are we enjoying our crawl abstraction acquisition yet?

Vapor barriers

If the level of the crawl abstraction is dirt, you’ll privation a vapor barrier. A vapor obstruction sits connected apical of the level and blocks moisture rising from the dirt, trapping it beneath earlier it tin provender each those mold spores. A vapor obstruction tin beryllium arsenic elemental arsenic a heavy expanse of integrative draped implicit the ungraded oregon it tin beryllium an full encapsulation, which typically uses a drainage mat and a heavy integrative sheeting that wraps up onto the walls. Having immoderate benignant of vapor obstruction is indispensable to keeping your crawl abstraction comparatively dry—the level of disbursal and effort needed is determined by however damp and humid your crawl abstraction really is. If the reply is “pretty humid” (you tin bargain monitors to support track) you mightiness besides see installing a dehumidifier down there.

You tin besides encapsulate utilizing thing similar Neutocrete, which seals the ungraded level into thing resembling a factual slab. It tin instrumentality immoderate clip to cure, but erstwhile it does, you tin much easy and safely usage your crawl abstraction for storage.


Your crawl abstraction is, of course, the lowest portion of your house. If the h2o array successful your country rises, the archetypal spot it’s going to participate is your crawl space. Installing a sump pump is ever a bully thought if there’s immoderate accidental of that happening (and a simple h2o alarm tin enactment arsenic a informing successful lawsuit that happens). You should besides see however you’ll pump retired your crawl abstraction if the powerfulness goes retired since disastrous flooding and blackouts are often connected. Battery-powered backup pumps exist, arsenic bash hydropumps, which tally disconnected of your h2o unit and frankincense request nary electricity.

How to marque a crawl abstraction functional

If you’re thinking, gosh, I don’t person enough dark, damp abstraction nether my house, bully news! You tin often transform your crawl abstraction into a usable basement. It’s not cheap, and it’s beauteous disruptive, but if you perfectly request a antheral cave oregon abstraction for your postulation of Beanie Babies, it tin beryllium done. But proceed carefully: Digging retired a crawl abstraction mightiness exposure the footings of your home’s foundation, which tin pb to immense problems, truthful consult with a wide assortment of experts earlier adjacent reasoning astir it.

If you get a grip connected your crawl space’s moisture and humidity—and you’re reasonably definite determination is nary menace of flooding—you could also use your crawl abstraction for storage. Measure however heavy the abstraction is, past look for sealable integrative containers that volition acceptable down determination (and volition acceptable done immoderate entree you have). Think of it similar the retention boxes you person nether your furniture oregon sofa, but nether your house.

Depending connected however overmuch clearance you have, you mightiness beryllium capable to instal shelving suspended from the level joists successful a crawl space. Again, entree volition beryllium a concern, but this has the vantage of keeping everything disconnected the damp floor.

One happening to see is that entree is ne'er casual successful a crawl space, and retrieving your precious things mightiness beryllium a pain. Your champion stake is to store the worldly you request to entree lone very, precise rarely. Also, instal immoderate benignant of airy source—it could conscionable beryllium a elemental clamp bulb that you connect to a joist, but spot me: Being capable to spot is essential, particularly if you observe that your crawl abstraction is immoderate benignant of House of Leaves concern and is really overmuch larger than is physically imaginable and you’ve been down determination for six days and can’t find your mode back.

Every location is simply a strategy of interconnected spaces, and your crawl abstraction is an indispensable component. Better to get acquainted with it present alternatively than during an emergency.