A crawl space can be an unused, unfinished, concrete-filled area inside an establishment, between the first floor and the earth. The term ‘crawl space’ is also used for unheated storage rooms, such as basements and attics. The term crawl space has also been used to describe a part of a room that is below grade, usually because it connects two or more other areas, or a part of a building which is below normal constructional levels. The term ‘crawl space’ is often used in connection with the phrase ‘crawlspace,’ which is a common type of term used in the construction industry. Although it might sound strange, crawlspaces are actually used quite often.
The majority of crawl spaces are connected to another part of the building by means of a man-made foundation, known as a crawlspace sill. The sill is placed on the soil so that water and/or soil can seep through and away from the foundation and drainage pipes and vents. The moisture will eventually cause mold and mildew to grow, which is a health risk for anyone living or working in the building. The mold and mildew will create a danger to those who are allergic to mold and mildew, as well as damaging furniture, appliances, ceiling and floor tiles, ceiling and floor materials, and finishes.
A soil or concrete slab will be installed over the finished floor of the crawl space, and a level base poured to fit around the perimeter of the opening. A sloped concrete patio, with a radius of about three feet, will be cut into the opening. A sidewall will be then erected over the patio, and skids will be fitted to the sides of the sidewall to contain the openings in the concrete slab. The openings are designed to allow excess water and soil to drain away from the foundation and to a level beneath the patio.
The soil should be moistened with a light mud or loose soil mix that will retain moisture and prevent mold and mildew from growing. Moisture will also attract ants and other vermin to the crawl space, so it’s important to keep it well watered. After the perimeter has been sealed, a skidwall will be erected to contain all of the openings in the perimeter. The sidewall is constructed from lumber that has been cut into four-foot by four-foot sections and then joined at the corners to make it strong and sturdy. It will be buried between the walls and the concrete, and then the edges will be stapled onto the sidewall.
Once the construction is complete, there will be a space large enough to walk through. A wooden door will be built into the center of the sidewall, and it will be lifted open by a steel frame. The door is designed to swing outward, so that the outside air can flow through the space. Another option for ventilation is a metal door at the top of the slope leading to the interior of the crawl space. Another option is a concrete-lined pit dug into the floor of the basement which can be sealed off with polyethylene sheeting. In this manner, the concrete can be lined with insulation to keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
Crawl spaces are not always dry. Moisture will build up in these spaces from soil and leaking pipes, so it’s important to make sure that the space is properly ventilated to eliminate moisture problems. This will prevent mold and mildew from growing and will make the flooring and walls of these spaces more durable. By following the proper ventilation procedures for crawl spaces, homeowners can help to make sure that they are kept in a comfortable home for as long as possible.