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Old 10-14-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
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Building Crawl Space Access Covers


The crawl space of our house was "dug out" sometime in the 40's. It's standing height, with terraced concrete walls. I think it was meant to serve as a root cellar or something. I think they also added windows or vents at some point, which were subsequently boarded over (see arrows). Each opening is sort of an irregular size.

The wood framing and cover boards are nearing the end of their useful life, and are a big source of air leaks. I've actually already re-framed the ones on the sides of the porch, and built new covers that seal up tight. I used PT 2x4's for the framing, .5" PT plywood for the boards, and trimmed them out with PT 1x4's. Was planning to paint them to match the foundation, but just realized common recommendations are to wait 3+ months to paint PT projects.

Is PT wood necessary in this application, at least for the cover panels? They are under the eaves of the house and not in contact with the soil, but they do get splashed and blown with rain. Is there something else more readily paint-able that would hold up for 5-10 years?



Last edited by red92s; 10-18-2013 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:46 PM   #2
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Building Crawl Space Access Covers


PT wood or rot resistant wood species (e.g., cedar) should be used when in contact with masonry/concrete. That certainly applies to the frames in your case. As for the door panels, I guess you could use "regular" wood and give it two coats of primer and paint. However, maintenance will be crucial going forward. Failure to keep that wood protected from the weather will eventually lead to it getting wet, which will lead to rot. It will also invite termites (if applicable to your area), and that could turn into bigger problems.

BTW, the eaves are hardly going to protect elements that close to grade...unless of course rain falls completely vertical (no wind) in your neck of the woods.


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Old 10-14-2013, 09:13 PM   #3
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Building Crawl Space Access Covers


Use real foundation doors.
Any box store, real concrete company, lumber yard will stock them.
http://www.hardwareandtools.com/Foun...rs-and-Panels/
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:17 AM   #4
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Use real foundation doors.
Any box store, real concrete company, lumber yard will stock them.
http://www.hardwareandtools.com/Foun...rs-and-Panels/
I looked at these awhile ago, but they are really cost prohibitive considering I don't actually need them to provide access, and have 7 of them to do. There is a large access door to get in and out (visible in the corner in my photo from the first post). I'm just rebuilding them to make them more air-tight, secure, and aesthetically pleasing.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:35 AM   #5
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Not sure how things work in your area but anyplace I've ever worked there needs to be one of two things under there.
Ventilation, or seal and make it conditioned. (heated and cooled)
When's the last time anyone's been under there to check for fungus, and insect infestation?
If this is a dirt floor there needs to be a vapor barrier on the ground.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:43 AM   #6
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If this is a dirt floor there needs to be a vapor barrier on the ground.
Historically, base code has required ventilation in the amount of 1/150 of the crawlspace square footage, but can be reduced to 1/1500 if there is a vapor barrier. But, this has been highly debated. It's seen as arbitrary and not generally applicable. Ventilation often does more harm than good in hot, humid regions and indeed closing-and-conditioning is either required or recommended. This is something you would definitely want to check with the local building dept. That said, properly closing in and conditioning a crawlspace is no small job. Costs can easily run in the thousands.

Last edited by cortell; 10-15-2013 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Not sure how things work in your area but anyplace I've ever worked there needs to be one of two things under there.
Ventilation, or seal and make it conditioned. (heated and cooled)
When's the last time anyone's been under there to check for fungus, and insect infestation?
If this is a dirt floor there needs to be a vapor barrier on the ground.
This is a hot, humid climate. Foundation vents have been sealed and a vapor barrier was put in over the exposed dirt floor areas when the house was renovated last year. Rebuilding these panels is an attempt to further reduce air leaks. We have regraded around the house extensively, run downspouts underground, and added catchbasins in low lying areas to prevent water intrusion. There is a stand alone dehumidifier, and we are adding conditioned air from above. I go down there several times per week, as the "dug-out" area is where I store yard tools (it's all concrete, even the floor).

I'm not looking for a lesson on crawl space science at the moment. I'm just asking if there is some outdoor capable, panel product that is more readily paintable than PT plywood.

Last edited by red92s; 10-15-2013 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:44 PM   #8
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I replaced the wood fascia boards on my garage years ago and used pressure treated 1x6's. As soon as I got home I put on two coats of primer followed by two coats of paint over the course of a couple days. The fascia boards are rained on, snowed on, and exposed to direct sunlight on the southern side all the time and have held up with absolutely no issues. If I were you I would go with the pressure treated wood, prime it and paint it and forget about it.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:05 PM   #9
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I made a few doors that lasted a while and still in good shape,one out of the tongue and grove flooring wood ,glued ay each grove/tongue,glued then applied atop of a piece of plywood ,looks nice too.also used the 4 by 8 sheet of t1-11 for another one..both looked better than plain plywood and were thicker and less likely to warp.can use insulation inside of it at edges also.

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