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Old 10-02-2012, 08:50 PM   #1
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Michigan basement crawlpace - How to increase to larger height?

So I just purchased a house that has a true Michigan basement. The stone walls with 6 foot ceiling. One section has concrete floor, then there are two crawl spaces which are only three feet in height. Is there anything I can do to this basement to make it more appealing and usable?

I was thinking of using small bricks to make the walls a solid wall instead of rocks, then using some type of laminate material for the ceiling. I also found on YouTube a older gentleman who dug all his crawl spaces to make them 8ft, could this possibly be another option?(a lot more work and money it seems)


Last edited by ares23; 10-02-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:16 AM   #2
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a basement with only 6' of height is limited on its usefulness. it can be used for storage and utilities because of the limited time one would spend in those area.

you cannot turn this area into habitable space because of code requirements for minimum headroom. The 2009 International Residential Code, basis for most local and state building codes requires:


R305.1 Minimum height.
Habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and portions of basements containing these spaces shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).


1. For rooms with sloped ceilings, at least 50 percent of the required floor area of the room must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet (2134 mm) and no portion of the required floor area may have a ceiling height of less than 5 feet (1524 mm).
2. Bathrooms shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) at the center of the front clearance area for fixtures as shown in Figure R307.1. The ceiling height above fixtures shall be such that the fixture is capable of being used for its intended purpose. A shower or tub equipped with a showerhead shall have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm) above a minimum area 30 inches (762 mm) by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.

R305.1.1 Basements.
Portions of
basements that do not contain habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).

Beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.

removal of soil within the crawlspace is an option. you cannot however remove soil unless your existing foundation extends to below the depth you want to excavate to. If your current foundation does not extend to that depth (which normally does not occur with a crawl space foundation) then you would need to have your foundation under pinned (new foundation added).

If you want to go that route I would recommend hiring a professional engineer to evaluate your current conditions and develop a plan for your project.

Hope this helps.

Good luck!



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