What is a Crawl Space–And What Is It There For?

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54% of single-family homes are built on concrete slabs, 30% have a partial basement, 15% have a crawl space, and 1% are built on stilts or pipings. All of these options are essential for protecting and supporting your home, but you may not know anything about them because they’re out of sight.

If you have a crawl space in your home and want to know why, the first step is to compare it to other options. The next is to know what it can do and what it’s used for. It’s also important to know how you should maintain it and protect it from the elements.

Read on to find the answer to that ever-present question, what is a crawl space?

What Is a Crawl Space?

The primary purpose of a crawl space is to provide support for the house and create a buffer between it and the ground below. It’s been used for this purpose for years. but it is no longer the only option on the market.

Crawl Space vs. Basement

If you’re wondering about all the areas of your home that you may not spend a great deal of time in, you may also be wondering “what is a basement?” One of the best ways to answer this is to compare crawl spaces versus basements. This makes it clearer what each one is used for.

Basements and crawl spaces both support the bottom of your home. They keep it steady and prevent it from going directly onto the ground. They differ in terms of height, flooring, usage, and sealing. 

Basements can be up to 8 feet tall. The average crawl space is only 3 feet tall but can reach up to 5.

Basements always have some type of flooring, even if it’s as simple as a concrete slab. The bottom of a crawl space is always dirt.

Basements are sealed airtight to keep water and pests out. Crawls spaces aren’t unless you get them encapsulated.  

Basements are often used as an extra living space. This feature alone can increase the value of your home. A crawl space is too small for this and is much more difficult to move around in due to its lower ceiling.

Basements are more expensive because of their increased size. You’ll have to pay even more if you want to convert them into an extra living space. Crawl spaces are more affordable, but they can’t be converted into anything else. 

Crawl Space vs. Attic

It also helps to know the differences between crawl spaces and attics. It may seem like the opposite of a feature that’s on the bottom of your home, but that’s not entirely true.

Attics have at least one thing in common with crawl spaces; they typically have dirt floors. They also have several differences that you need to know to understand them both.

An attic has both a height and width of at least 7 feet, making it much larger than a crawl space. Most are ventilated and can be converted into another living space like a basement.

Most attics have at least one outlet and light switch so that you can see where you’re going when you walk around in them. Crawl spaces may have them when you buy your home, but you may have to install them yourself.

Uses for a Crawl Space

Many homeowners choose a crawl space over other options because of their lower cost. They can hundreds of dollars less than a basement.

A crawl space also makes it easier for you or a professional to access during repairs or installations. This helps prevent some of the most common home issues.

20.8% of homeowners reported plumbing issues, 14.2% reported problems with their HVAC system, and 2.7% had problems with their lights. These problems are even more common in areas with high moisture or sandy soil because they make homes more prone to water damage. A crawl space makes them easier to remedy. 

An unfinished crawl space can be used to store certain materials. These include moisture-resistant construction items such as bricks, tiles, or piping.

These are only some of the benefits of and reasons for having a crawl space in your home. If you maintain it, you’ll get plenty of years of use out of it.

Protecting and Maintaining a Crawlspace

50% of your home’s air comes through the crawl space. It’s one of the most important factors in determining air quality and risk of damage from pests, water, and other factors. 

This is why you can’t ignore your crawl space if you have one. You’ll need to maintain it and get it encapsulated to prevent damage from the outside and keep clean air inside.

Use sealants in the drainage system to prevent moisture buildup. Keep the crawl space clean to keep your air quality high and prevent mold and mildew buildup. Remove any pests and block off their entry points. Insulate the entire crawl space to regulate its temperature and prevent heat loss. 

Crawl space encapsulation is a process that seals off the area from the outside world. It may also involve installing vents, adding a dehumidifier, and other steps.

Encapsulation provides several benefits, including:

  • Improved air quality
  • Protection from water and structural damage
  • Fewer pests
  • Increased lifespan of insulation
  • Lower energy bills

If you want to get your crawl space encapsulated, you’ll need to find the best possible company to do it for you. Otherwise, your home may be at an even higher risk of damage instead of being protected. 

Where to Get Crawl Space Encapsulation

Homeowners may ask “what is a crawl space” when they find out that their home uses this support method. Knowing the answer helps you understand how to use and maintain them.

Crawl spaces are more than a way to keep your home off the ground; they also provide access to important elements such as wiring and HVAC systems. They’re more affordable than a basement but can’t be used as extra living space.

Armored Basement Waterproofing protects every area of your home from damage, even the ones you may not have realized were there. Contact us today for crawl space encapsulation.