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Old 01-28-2011, 11:45 AM   #1
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Finishing crawl space


Hi. My cape cod style house was built circa 1970. We have a crawl space that I'd like to finish as a play area for kids. I'm concerned, however, about air quality (e.g., asbestos, airborne fiberglass, etc). It appears to be fiberglass insulation - can I rule out asbestos? What's the best way to finish and seal the space? Right now there are bare joists on the floor with insulation in the spaces and nails sticking straight down through the roof into the ceiling. I was thinking of covering the floor joists with plywood base board, putting wallboard on the wall and canted ceiling, and then carpeting the floor. Any precautions I should observe? Any suggestions from folks who have done this already? Among other things, do I need to get my fiberglass insulation tested for asbestos? Thanks!

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Old 01-28-2011, 01:24 PM   #2
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Hi. My cape cod style house was built circa 1970. We have a crawl space that I'd like to finish as a play area for kids. I'm concerned, however, about air quality (e.g., asbestos, airborne fiberglass, etc). It appears to be fiberglass insulation - can I rule out asbestos? What's the best way to finish and seal the space? Right now there are bare joists on the floor with insulation in the spaces and nails sticking straight down through the roof into the ceiling. I was thinking of covering the floor joists with plywood base board, putting wallboard on the wall and canted ceiling, and then carpeting the floor. Any precautions I should observe? Any suggestions from folks who have done this already? Among other things, do I need to get my fiberglass insulation tested for asbestos? Thanks!
This smacks of child abuse. Does your wife know you want to imprison the young'uns in the crawl space?
Ron

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Old 01-28-2011, 01:29 PM   #3
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Finishing crawl space


Pictures would be good, how tall is the crawl space?

I am sure Ron6519 was just kidding, at least I hope he was.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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This smacks of child abuse. Does your wife know you want to imprison the young'uns in the crawl space?
Ron
Disturbing thought!

Actually, the idea came when we were playing hide and seek and I used the attic crawl space to hide. Realizing that if it were cleaned up properly, it would be a fun "fort", I thought I would look into this. We have some friends who did something similar and their kids love it.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:43 PM   #5
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I imagine they would, hence the question, how much head room is there, is the space already insulated, sounds like there is a concrete floor already.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:46 PM   #6
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Pictures would be good, how tall is the crawl space?

I am sure Ron6519 was just kidding, at least I hope he was.
Me too!

I'll try to post a photo later today. It is about 60" tall. The floor, wall, and ceiling form a right triangle. So wall is 60" tall, floor is 60" wide, and ceiling is about 84" (from top of wall down to floor at 45 degree angle). The length of the crawlspace is about 8 feet. Even if we ended up using it for storage, it seems like a lot of space to not utilize in some way.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:48 PM   #7
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I imagine they would, hence the question, how much head room is there, is the space already insulated, sounds like there is a concrete floor already.
No concrete floor. Maybe I erred by calling it a "crawlspace". This is not at the foundation level, it's more like an attic crawlspace I guess.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:59 PM   #8
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No concrete floor. Maybe I erred by calling it a "crawlspace". This is not at the foundation level, it's more like an attic crawlspace I guess.
That is a horse of a different color.

I would be more concerned with structure at this point. What size are the joists that you refer to in the original post that I misinterpreted.

Was the area ever intended for occupation, ie, designed to carry a load.

I know you said you neihbor did this but is this just an accident waiting to happen?
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #9
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Jack, I'm probably not going to be around the computer much more today, or over the weekend, so if you don't mind, I'll also just plant a seed about air flow, particularly if he had planned to insulate between the rafters; not knowing all of the details, that sounds like it would likely present a problem. Then, the next thing would be the added weight of sheathing on the bottom of the rafters.
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:21 PM   #10
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Jack, I'm probably not going to be around the computer much more today, or over the weekend, so if you don't mind, I'll also just plant a seed about air flow, particularly if he had planned to insulate between the rafters; not knowing all of the details, that sounds like it would likely present a problem. Then, the next thing would be the added weight of sheathing on the bottom of the rafters.
I am confused last post by Dexter original post by Neofite?
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:26 PM   #11
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I imagine they would, hence the question, how much head room is there, is the space already insulated, sounds like there is a concrete floor already.
Please see attached photos.
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Finishing crawl space-dscf5603.jpg   Finishing crawl space-dscf5604.jpg   Finishing crawl space-dscf5605.jpg  
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:36 PM   #12
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That is a horse of a different color.

I would be more concerned with structure at this point. What size are the joists that you refer to in the original post that I misinterpreted.

Was the area ever intended for occupation, ie, designed to carry a load.

I know you said you neihbor did this but is this just an accident waiting to happen?
Thanks for your ongoing correspondence. As far as I can tell the joists are the same as the ones supporting the adjacent floor. What is the risk here?
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:37 PM   #13
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Jack, I'm probably not going to be around the computer much more today, or over the weekend, so if you don't mind, I'll also just plant a seed about air flow, particularly if he had planned to insulate between the rafters; not knowing all of the details, that sounds like it would likely present a problem. Then, the next thing would be the added weight of sheathing on the bottom of the rafters.
Not sure I understand the airflow issue, but I'm open to learning more about it. Thanks.
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:41 PM   #14
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If that is the case then you should be good structurally, the next thing is, insulating the roof side if you are thinking of covering the rafters.

It looks as if you have this area open to the house already. Is it not cold where you are, that being said how hot will it get in the summer?
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:45 PM   #15
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Sorry; I didn't mean to confuse anything. Neo, it sounds like you may be describing an attic space behind a knee wall, possibly off of an upstairs bedroom? Assuming this is correct, I believe that there are a couple of other things that you need to consider. First of all is venting, and if you look down at the lower corner of your triangle, where the rafters set on the first floor walls, I believe that you can probably see light through you soffit vents. Air needs to be able to flow through these vents, up between your rafters, and out your roof vents. Maybe I am reading the situation wrong, but if this appears to be the case, you need to ensure that whatever you do does not impede this flow of air, i.e., you can't extend your flooring out too far, and you can't insulate between your rafters, without making other provisions for venting. Secondly, by attaching drywall, plywood, or whatever you decide to the bottom of your rafters, you are affecting your roof load. Sounds like a nice area, and I played in similar areas in my parents and grandparents homes, 50 some years ago, but some things to think about.

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