Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 by Dan Thrasher
In the last year, especially after the Missouri River flood of 2011, Thrasher has received many questions regarding converting basements into crawlspaces. Many of these questions have been due to the fact that some basements were severely damaged by the flood and fixing the foundation seems to be cost prohibitive. Others have struggled with significant flooding over the years and feel that it would be best to eliminate the basement and thus eliminate the potential for additional flooding in the future.
Converting a basement into a crawlspace is a viable option for those in extreme situations, and those that have severe damage from a flood event. At the same time, each situation should be looked at on an individual basis to see if giving up this valuable living space is absolutely necessary. In cases where basement to crawlspace conversions make sense, Thrasher has the resources to get the job done right and with little disruption to the home and family.
The first step in the conversion process is that all utilities present in the basement need to be moved. Examples include a furnace or water heater. Usually these can be mounted to the floor joists and will be accessible through the crawlspace after the project is complete. Of course, if the appliances were damaged during the flood event, they can be moved during the replacement process for little extra expense.
Next, the crawlspace must be filled. Many people assume that the basement will be filled with sand, but we prefer to use an engineered fill that can be pumped into the basement through a window or down the stairs. This way little to no disturbance to the existing structure occurs, the filling process can be completed in one day, and the new fill permanently supports the foundation walls. The fill material is inorganic and will not promote mold growth.
At this point the homeowner has options. An access from outside the house can be added and the existing stairwell closed up to add additional living space to the main floor, or the existing stairwell can be utilized for access to the crawlspace. Also, the crawlspace can be encapsulated to reduce energy costs, and make the space clean for storage. This process also creates a vapor barrier that reduces overall humidity in the home, making the entire house a healthier environment to live in. Best of all, there is no longer a concern about future flood events destroying the basement and all of the personal belongings stored there.
If you have additional questions about converting your existing basement into a crawlspace feel free to contact Thrasher for information or a free estimate.