what is a crawl space

What is a Crawl Space?

Share this now!

One of the most frequent questions I hear from people moving to Huntsville from elsewhere is why homes here are often built on crawl space foundations. What is a crawl space, they ask?

Answer: It’s like a basement that no one ever enters.

It can be a beautiful, clean, dry space beneath the main floor of a home and the ground below, or it can be damn nasty. The former is good. The latter can be harmful.

Can you imagine spending most of your professional life dealing with these immigrants, having to explain this over and over, and still getting excited to answer their questions so they can sleep at night?!!

[Immigrant—person moving to Huntsville.]

We have crawl spaces mainly because we have many shallow restrictions here, like bedrock or fragipans, causing perched water tables in the wintry season, where we get about 40 inches of rainfall between December and March, historically. A crawl space is a cheaper and better alternative for this area. Unfortunately, they are seldom visited, and that’s not good.

A nasty crawl space can mean many things, like a very tight space between the wood-framed floor and the ground below, making exploring the space require arms and legs dragging one’s torso across the ground to get to where you need to go, and if this is in a swamp, where you are crawling through mud, or one like a sauna, with extremely high humidity from vast amounts of surface and/or ground water penetration, or simply condensation dripping from the air conditioning ductwork in the summertime, further blocking access to where you want to go, then and when you finally reach where you want to go, you might happen upon a reptile or horrible situation, where there’s no convenient, rapid escape.

That sucks.

There are other scenarios.

But nasty usually means crawling into a wet or humid area with many creatures humans naturally avoid. Spider webs, snakes, frogs, possums, cats, rats, squirrels—whatever you can imagine, insect/rodent-wise—probably live in a shallow headroom crawl space if you have openings where they can enter.

Anyone owning a home with a crawl space foundation must frequent it often.

So, houses with wood floor framing—in other words, floor joists and beams—platform framing—-close to the ground below will probably have an unpleasant, humid/wet/smelly crawl space due to limited airflow, which makes the environment naturally claustrophobic and scary. This is not good!!!

So, never buy a home with this type of horrible crawl space. Please.

If you own one, I suspect you hate me for this post.

But please call me. Your best bet is to invite a House Mover in.

You go on vacation or temporarily move out, and all public services, like water, sewer, electricity, gas, phone, cable, etc., are disconnected. They lift the house vertically, demolish the old foundation, and build a new one so your wood-frame floor platform is about three to four feet above the ground below.

Modern day!

Reconnect public utilities, make structural repairs to all the moisture and termite damages, if necessary, and then encapsulate or condition it with a thick-mil plastic/vinyl vapor barrier across the ground, perhaps heating and cooling the space or something else, to create frequent fresh air exchanges.

Now, you can frequent this beautiful space or occasionally hang out there!

Family campouts come to mind!

Share this now!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *