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Old 04-24-2012, 10:05 PM   #1
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


I'm getting read to run electric and an air compressor line to my garage and I need to go through this crawl space. Can anyone tell me if I can remove a few more of the bricks pictured here so I can widen the opening? Thanks.

Jesse
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:10 PM   #2
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


Cut it out with a ciruler saw with a diamond blade on both sides, then knock them out with a brick chisel.

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Old 04-24-2012, 10:25 PM   #3
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


I'm confused. Are those joists bearing on those bricks? Or is there concrete block behind the brick? What is that opening? What's behind that gray board? You're running electric and a compressor line and you need to widen the opening? How large are those lines??? Again...very confused.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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I'm confused. Are those joists bearing on those bricks? Or is there concrete block behind the brick? What is that opening? What's behind that gray board? You're running electric and a compressor line and you need to widen the opening? How large are those lines??? Again...very confused.
I'm not 100% sure if the bricks are supporting the beams, but on the other side of the insulation board is a crawl space. Above the crawl space is my sunroom. My electrician said that he's gonna run the wiring through the crawl space. I just figured it would be easier if I widened it so I could fit in there and to also run the wire. On the other side of the crawl space, on the inside, is the wall, which on the outside, is where the wire and compressor hose will exit and run underground to the garage.

I'm not as worried about the wire as what I am the compressor hose. I want to slope the hose back toward the compressor as much as possible so water doesn't build up in the line. What do you think?

Jesse
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:07 AM   #5
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


My first thought is that those floor joists are likely being supported by the brick. That is why whoever opened the area, probably did not make the opening any wider than it is.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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Originally Posted by jpearson311 View Post
I'm not 100% sure if the bricks are supporting the beams, but on the other side of the insulation board is a crawl space. Above the crawl space is my sunroom. My electrician said that he's gonna run the wiring through the crawl space. I just figured it would be easier if I widened it so I could fit in there and to also run the wire. On the other side of the crawl space, on the inside, is the wall, which on the outside, is where the wire and compressor hose will exit and run underground to the garage.

I'm not as worried about the wire as what I am the compressor hose. I want to slope the hose back toward the compressor as much as possible so water doesn't build up in the line. What do you think?

Jesse
Ah. So, the picture was taken not from the crawl space, but from your basement. That insulation board is an opening into the crawl space.

Critical to answering your question is whether that's a load bearing wall. I.e., are the joists depending on that wall?

If it's a load bearing wall, then I'd be concerned that someone broke an opening in that wall to begin with, and even more nervous about making it bigger. Look at how close the opening is to the left joist in the picture.

Now, if it's not a load bearing wall, technically speaking, those joists don't rely on the wall, and removing a few more bricks is probably OK. One clue to look for is figuring out what's behind that brick? Typically, foundation walls are concrete block, poured concrete or even wood, in some cases. If you could remove that insulation board and take a picture at an angle showing what that wall is made up, that will provide further clues. Also get some light in the crawl space and take a few picture of that area.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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Ah. So, the picture was taken not from the crawl space, but from your basement. That insulation board is an opening into the crawl space.

Critical to answering your question is whether that's a load bearing wall. I.e., are the joists depending on that wall?

If it's a load bearing wall, then I'd be concerned that someone broke an opening in that wall to begin with, and even more nervous about making it bigger. Look at how close the opening is to the left joist in the picture.

Now, if it's not a load bearing wall, technically speaking, those joists don't rely on the wall, and removing a few more bricks is probably OK. One clue to look for is figuring out what's behind that brick? Typically, foundation walls are concrete block, poured concrete or even wood, in some cases. If you could remove that insulation board and take a picture at an angle showing what that wall is made up, that will provide further clues. Also get some light in the crawl space and take a few picture of that area.
Ok. I'll try to snap some pictures tonight when I get off work. More to come...

Jesse
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:57 AM   #8
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


Something else just occurred to me. If I understood you right, you just need to pass a couple of lines through that crawl space. What's the length of that run (i.e., what is the distance to the far wall of the sunroom)? Have you considered snaking the line through? If you use a thick and large enough conduit, you might be able to use it not only to snake the cables but to act as a permanent shield against humidity/condensation and gnawing pests. You would just need to securely fasten the conduit at both walls. You'd have to check with your electrician, but PVC conduit is used all the time to run electrical lines under ground. Surely it's also acceptable above ground, right? Anyway, just a thought to avoid having to physically get yourself into that space, which is really the motivation for widening the opening (not the lines themselves).
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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Originally Posted by cortell View Post
Something else just occurred to me. If I understood you right, you just need to pass a couple of lines through that crawl space. What's the length of that run (i.e., what is the distance to the far wall of the sunroom)? Have you considered snaking the line through? If you use a thick and large enough conduit, you might be able to use it not only to snake the cables but to act as a permanent shield against humidity/condensation and gnawing pests. You would just need to securely fasten the conduit at both walls. You'd have to check with your electrician, but PVC conduit is used all the time to run electrical lines under ground. Surely it's also acceptable above ground, right? Anyway, just a thought to avoid having to physically get yourself into that space, which is really the motivation for widening the opening (not the lines themselves).
The length is about 8-10'. The wire and air hose will both be encased in separate electrical gray conduit lines underground on the outside of the house, but as far as the distance under the sunroom goes, I'm not sure. I suppose it would be a better idea to also encase them in conduit.

I'm concerned about the slope the most because I want the condensation to drip back toward the air compressor so I can drain it from the bottom of the tank. Running the lines under the sunroom is going to be challenging. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to do it.

Jesse
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:20 AM   #10
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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The length is about 8-10'. The wire and air hose will both be encased in separate electrical gray conduit lines underground on the outside of the house, but as far as the distance under the sunroom goes, I'm not sure. I suppose it would be a better idea to also encase them in conduit.

I'm concerned about the slope the most because I want the condensation to drip back toward the air compressor so I can drain it from the bottom of the tank. Running the lines under the sunroom is going to be challenging. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to do it.

Jesse
As for the slope, that's why I recommended using a thick conduit through the crawl space. The thicker it is, the less it will sag. If it sags enough to be a problem...depending on the distance, you could perhaps build some sort of support block out of PT lumber (of an appropriate height to preserve the slope you want) and push it into the crawl space so the conduit rests on that. Anyway, that's all I got. Good luck!
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #11
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


I would first determine whether that brick wall is bearing any weight. If it is, I'd get at least one jack post to support the load and then you can remove whatever bricks you need.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:45 PM   #12
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


Wow. That picture makes me nervous for you. If you take that insulation off and find the joist resting on only that brick, I'd heavily suggest coming back here and asking for more ideas, because in that case you're flirting with real problems even if you don't take additional bricks out.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:30 PM   #13
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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Wow. That picture makes me nervous for you. If you take that insulation off and find the joist resting on only that brick, I'd heavily suggest coming back here and asking for more ideas, because in that case you're flirting with real problems even if you don't take additional bricks out.
The joists run through the wall. Inside the crawl space, above you, is the floor of the sunroom. The sunroom is directly above the crawl space upstairs, and has hardwood floors.

Jesse
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:46 PM   #14
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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The joists run through the wall. Inside the crawl space, above you, is the floor of the sunroom. The sunroom is directly above the crawl space upstairs, and has hardwood floors.

Jesse
This does not mean the wall is not load bearing. The span of the joists may be such that they require support at that wall. Again, if it's just brick, I wouldn't expect that to qualify as load bearing (engineers on this site may provide better advice). If the wall is more substantial (concrete block, poured concrete or wood[1] behind the brick), then it's likely load bearing.

[1] Permanent Wood Foundations. http://www.nachi.org/permanent-wood-foundations.htm
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:00 PM   #15
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Can I widen this crawl space opening?


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Originally Posted by cortell View Post
This does not mean the wall is not load bearing. The span of the joists may be such that they require support at that wall. Again, if it's just brick, I wouldn't expect that to qualify as load bearing (engineers on this site may provide better advice). If the wall is more substantial (concrete block, poured concrete or wood[1] behind the brick), then it's likely load bearing.

[1] Permanent Wood Foundations. http://www.nachi.org/permanent-wood-foundations.htm
It's just brick. No block or poured cement behind them.

Jesse

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