What Is A Crawl Space?

What is a crawl space?

I had never even heard of a crawl space before working at Summit and I don’t think I really understood completely what they were until I went into a few of them to film videos. Maybe you have never heard of a crawl space or seen one, but in some homes they play a critical role and serve a purpose for the home. Crawl spaces are similar to a basement but at the same time they are very different. Crawl spaces are becoming a thing of the past and many newer homes are choosing basements instead of crawl spaces. But why? In this blog, we will answer some questions you might have such as what is the difference between a crawl space and basement? Or what are some of the pros and cons of a crawl space.

Where is a crawl space located?

A crawl space is most often located under the home where there might traditionally be a basement. Sometimes crawl spaces are located in other parts of the home but usually they are on the ground level.

Difference between crawl space and basement

The difference between a crawl space and a basement is pretty simple. Crawl spaces typically have a dirt floor and vents leading outside and a hatch or crawl space door. Basements usually have a cement floor or are finished. They can be above ground or below and are typically completely sealed out meaning there are no vents. Basements are walkable and for the most part, crawl spaces have short clearances and are not meant to be inhabited. Crawl spaces appear in mostly older homes, however some builders still use them in construction projects for their cost effectiveness and convenience. Crawl spaces house HVAC systems, sump pumps and other necessary parts of the home.

Pros and cons of a crawl space

Crawl spaces are cheaper than basements but they might also end up costing you more money in the long run. Crawl spaces often face water issues such as flooding which can lead to mold and mildew and drainage problems. Additionally crawl spaces can experience structural damage such as wood rot, foundation cracking and floor joist problems. Crawl spaces can house pests and even animals which can lead to damage. Insulation can become disrupted and over time will need to be replaced along with the vapor barrier.

Parts of a crawl space

Insulation: Insulated crawl spaces will help to regulate the temperature and humidity. Insulation will seal the crawl space from moisture, help prevent stack effect and impact the energy efficiency. When the crawl space is properly insulated, there is less heat loss during the winter and air conditioning loss during the summer time. Insulation will also help to prevent mold. While insulation is not required for crawl spaces according to Virginia regulations, it is highly suggested.

Crawl space door: A crawl space door is how the crawl space is accessed and sealed from animals or pests getting in. Crawl space doors should be secured and properly insulated to ensure it is sealed correctly.

Vapor barrier: Vapor barriers will help to prevent dust from getting everywhere and will also aid in keeping the crawl space dry. Vapor barriers help regulate the humidity of the crawl space.

Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier will keep the area regulated and will protect the crawl space from structural damages like joist problems. The insulation also acts as an air seal for the crawl space.

Sump pump: Sump pumps play a critical role in crawl spaces because crawl spaces have so many water issues. A sump pump will help prevent flooding in the crawl space by sucking up the water and allowing the water to exit the crawl space. Standing water can cause a lot of issues in the crawl space and it is very important to keep it dry.

Crawl space door and vents: A crawl space door not only allows entry into the crawl space, but it also provides seal out and prevents things such as pests and animals from getting in. Vents are usually required according to building code, but they can be covered to ensure nothing can enter the crawl space. Vents can also help the air circulate which helps to prevent moisture, mold and mildew.

How to prevent crawl space issues

Considering most of the factors for crawl space damage are out of your control and contributed to weather or time but there are certain things you can do to improve the crawl space and potentially prevent issues and damage. The best thing you can do to prevent damages in your crawl space is to have a crawl space encapsulation done. Having your crawl space professionally inspected is also very important and will allow you to better understand what is going on in the crawl space and what can be done to keep it in good shape.

How much does crawl space repair cost?

With crawl space repairs, it really depends on what needs to be done to know how much it is going to cost. One of our crawl space inspectors will determine what exactly is going on in the crawl space and what needs to be done to repair or encapsulate the crawl space to meet the Virginia standards.

Who to hire to fix a crawl space in Northern VA?

Sometimes it can be hard to find a company that can help you solve your crawl space issues. Summit Environmental Solutions is a whole home company that specializes in crawl space repairs and encapsulations. One of our skilled crawl space technicians will conduct a thorough inspection of your crawl space and determine what needs to be fixed and what the best solution is for your crawl space concerns. Our estimates are free and our technicians are efficient, friendly and skilled in what they do. Contact us today at 703-520-5565 to schedule your estimate for a crawl space repair or encapsulation.

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