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Old 01-28-2014, 04:59 PM   #1
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


I have what I believe is a tricky crawl space of an old 1907 home in Richmond, VA with a dirt floor. It is currently slightly vented with a 1" x 2" gap in the brick foundation every 8 feet apart or so.

The hard part is at the front of the home there is about 12" of space between the dirt floor and the floor joists but as you move toward the back of the home this space goes down to about 4" between dirt and floor joists for the last 1/4 or more (we live on a hill so the dirt floor follows the natural grade outside the house).

I would love to encapsulate but am not sure what it would take to be able to seal that last section. On the other hand, there is not much space to properly install insulation between floor joists. I have currently be sealing around the rim joists with rigid foam as much as I can.

I am wondering if sealing as best I can, putting down as much vapor barrier as I can (hopefully 10 mil wouldn't rip with me crawling around on my stomach everywhere), and possibly dehumidifying (it is currently around 73% humidity in there) would be of any benefit or whether that may just cause more problems and I am better to insulate between floor joists with rigid foam where I can and give up the rest as a lost cause.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 01-28-2014, 09:01 PM   #2
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


How far down does the crawlspace stem wall go down into the earth?

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Old 01-28-2014, 09:06 PM   #3
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


Looks to be about 3' at the front. Can't speak for what that may actually be at the back, if it's less than that at all.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:19 PM   #4
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My 4 boys help lower the grade in my crawlspace from 4" under joists to meet minimum code, lol; http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...?bu2=undefined

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Old 01-30-2014, 05:30 AM   #5
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


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My 4 boys help lower the grade in my crawlspace from 4" under joists to meet minimum code, lol; http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...?bu2=undefined

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I am sure they were loving Dad that day.

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Old 01-30-2014, 08:59 AM   #6
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


I have a similar type rental home that doesn't have enough crawl space to get under to do any insulating. What do you do? Pick and shovel underneath there? Lol
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:37 AM   #7
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Excavate down to code and insulate the walls. Covert to conditioned is the way I would go.
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:32 PM   #8
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We had fun under there! Short-handled shovels and bars, not much room for a pick.... have raised flower beds around the yard...lol. If you condition it, check radon/termites first; http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/radon/rnus.html

http://termites101.org/termite-basic...ites-by-region

Code requirements; http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...59026428,d.cGU

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Old 01-30-2014, 09:25 PM   #9
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


Kevin, my first house was a 1903 frame house in Richmond in the same situation. My house was built to be a temporary workers cottage but it stands 100 years later. Mine started out a gut job so it was nave not to pull up the heart pine floors, which had no subfloor, and excavate and insulate. The only thing I can see to do is crawl under and dig. Like the old movie "The Great Escape." It might be good to hire a couple of 15 year olds to dig it this summer and pay them well!
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:40 PM   #10
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


Thanks for the info and suggestions everyone.

Arlo, did you end up insulating between floor joists or encapsulating the crawl space?
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:22 PM   #11
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


No. This was in the early 80's and there was no internet to encourage me. My fear with that particular house would have been to put insulation too close to the ground, have it get wet, and rot the floor joists. The only time it was really cold is that we had a winter that got down to about 5 degrees and I did end up crawling around and insulating pipes as far as I could crawl. My elderly neighbor came by and pointed out that I insulated the gas pipe too. Did I mention it was my first house?
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
We had fun under there! Short-handled shovels and bars, not much room for a pick.... have raised flower beds around the yard...lol. If you condition it, check radon/termites first; http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/radon/rnus.html

http://termites101.org/termite-basic...ites-by-region

Code requirements; http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...59026428,d.cGU

Gary
Gary, radon I inderstand, but what is the impact with termites. Wouldn't a vapor barrier in the crawl space significantly reduce any activity?

I know we have termite activity but we have done a lot of staying and removing wood to ground contact so I think we're in pretty good shape.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:59 AM   #13
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


If you condition the crawl, the joists are inside the warm wall and therefore do not require insulating.

There should always be a continuous and sealed vapor barrier on the floor and sealed at the walls and pillars.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:08 PM   #14
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Crawl Space Help: Tricky Situation


You need to leave the top 2" or so of concrete wall open/uninsulated for annual termite inspection. If you cover the walls and the ground, you won't be able to see their tunnels of mud to the wood joists, they build right through foam board- easy diggin'. lol. Don't forget if conditioning it, you require house air to circulate with an exhaust outlet, as per link I gave last.

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