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Old 07-13-2009, 09:25 PM   #1
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


I was thinking of ways to make my crawlspace cleaner, and at the same time add a bit of low heat, then I had the great idea of putting tiles, and adding a perimeter heating pad (not the whole thing, would probably be way too expensive to run 24/7). The crawlspace is rough cement so I'd have to lay new tile cement and find a way to ensure everything is level before starting. Probably lay a small thickness of normal cement, let it dry, then do the tiles.

I never did tile before but I have a basic understanding of what is involved and I'd read up more when the time comes.

I'm just wondering if tiling such a large area would work well, and how much it would cost to run the heat pad all around. I'm guessing the crawlspace is about 600 square feet, maybe a bit more.

This is a picture of it for comparison.

This would also work as a nice way to practice installing tile as if I screw up here it would not be as big of an issue, so when I come to do a real job I'd know how to do it.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:01 AM   #2
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


How tall is your crawl space? Are you planning to transform it into a living area or just clean it up and maybe use for some storage?

If it is only about cleaning and organizing the space, I think encapsulation would be much more affordable and much better option for you.

Encapsulation is a relatively new way to treat crawl spaces and it consists in completely isolating the crawl space from the ground and outside air, by lining it with a very sturdy and multi-layered 20mil poly sheet (looks like a pool liner), sealing the seams air tight and the installing either a dehumidifier or a crawl space conditioning system, which is basically a fan that blows air from upstairs into the crawl space.

This process includes the crawlspace into the internal envelope of the building, and for that reason, the thermal and moisture variations in the crawl space are not so drastic. You can optionally insulate the encapsulated crawl space walls but in the vast majority of the cases that is not even necessary.

Studies conducted by Advanced Energy, Building Science Corp. and Habitat for Humanity show that encapsulated crawl spaces make the home in average 18% more energy efficient and fully protect floor joists and wooden structures from moisture, mold and rot.

It is recommended by the US Dept of Energy's Building America initiative as "best practice" for crawl spaces.

Personally I think it makes more sense than installing ceramic and running a heating pad, as the heat will most likely dissipate.

I am adding some links on the subject:
http://www.crawlspaces.org
http://www.dirt-crawl-spaces.com
http://www.basement-repair.com/crawl-space.html
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:07 AM   #3
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


This is a low enough crawlspace but hooks up to a higher basement. The crawlspace is not in bad condition like some of the ones I've seen on those sites, just a little damp and rough. Can't believe some people have sand and mud. :o There was lot of spider webs but cleaned them up.

I will be using it mostly for storage. I'll probably put shelves all around, and I may even put studs/insulation/drywall. (Need to research this further, been told I can insulate all the way to ground, but also been told I should not)
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:46 AM   #4
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


Just a tip:

Beware of drywall, wood studs and fiberglass insulation if the crawl space is damp. Those materials are either organic of made with organic compounds (fiberglass is held together by a urea based adhesive). Mix with moisture and you will have a huge mold problem.
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Old 07-20-2009, 03:16 AM   #5
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


can't believe anyone would even consider tiling a crawl space
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:37 PM   #6
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


Yeah it's a low priority project but it would accomplish two things, 1: I would learn how to tile and get plenty of practice, and 2: it would make it cleaner looking. I plan to eventually drywall the walls as well to help keep the bugs and dampness out. For now all I'll do is paint though.

The ceiling I will leave open as I like the idea of open access if I want to do any kind of cable runs. For the basement portion I'm even debating on removing the drywall and putting drop ceiling, later on. I'll have to do a bunch of holes once I go to run my network stuff anyway.

The only way I'd ever do this though is with really really cheap tiles, like if they have some overstock sale on a certain type or something. My kitchen costed me $100 in tiles as they had a super good deal, so I'm sure I'll find deals like that later on as well.

I'm debating on putting some self leveling cement now then paint over that, as at least for now I'll have a smooth surface.

Last edited by Red Squirrel; 07-20-2009 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:01 AM   #7
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


Quote:
Yeah it's a low priority project
As it should be.

Quote:
I plan to eventually drywall the walls as well to help keep the bugs and dampness out.
Say what? Are you misinformed or what?


Quote:
I'll have to do a bunch of holes once I go to run my network stuff anyway.
You aren't planning on making "a bunch of holes" in the floor joists I hope.

Quote:
I'm debating on putting some self leveling cement now
What the heck for? You must have won a Power Ball or something.


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then paint over that
Big mistake if you really intend to add tile later.

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at least for now I'll have a smooth surface.
What is there now?

I see you have aptly named yourself.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:04 PM   #8
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


Now it's just very rough so I'd like it smoother and cleaner. Won't use it much, but I just want it clean and relatively bug free. I think the drywall would help a lot but I need to do more research on this subject. Need to ensure I do it properly with a vapor barrier and such.

I'll use it mostly for storage, and I'm sure my cat will wander in there a lot. The holes would go in the joists, where else would they go? I try to avoid making holes if I can pass a wire through an existing one though, but electricians and plumbers do this all the time so it must be ok just don't want to overdo it or it makes the joist become weak.

Data cables might be tricky as I don't want to run them next to power cables unless it's passing by at 90 degrees.

And yeah if I paint, and later on do put tiles I'd have to strip all the paint which would be a nightmare, but tiling would probably only happen in years from now if I even go ahead with that. Might just put carpet.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:15 PM   #9
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


Probably just go for one of those garage epoxy flooring kits. I think they run for about $80 at the local home center... That would make the floor at least smoother for you (if the cement isn't good enough). It's that or you can rent a cement grinder / polisher and just clean up the flooring that's already there...
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


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I try to avoid making holes if I can pass a wire through an existing one though, but electricians and plumbers do this all the time so it must be ok
Are ya kiddin' me??? Electricians and plumbers are the worst offenders, Their wholesale butchering of floor joists have caused more floor failures than anything else. It's not all of them but a lot of them have no brains when it comes to cutting structural members.

You could use "loops" or even troughs if there's a lot of cables to run but I doubt that's the case.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:54 PM   #11
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Are ya kiddin' me??? Electricians and plumbers are the worst offenders, Their wholesale butchering of floor joists have caused more floor failures than anything else. It's not all of them but a lot of them have no brains when it comes to cutting structural members.

You could use "loops" or even troughs if there's a lot of cables to run but I doubt that's the case.
Hmm really, I would have figured there was some kind of codes like maximum number of holes per square feet or something like that and that they were smart enough not to affect structure. I just kind of play it by eye, if I see two holes in one area one on top of each other, I don't go and put another one right in the center.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:06 PM   #12
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Would installing ceramic tile in a crawlspace work well?


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Hmm really, I would have figured there was some kind of codes like maximum number of holes per square feet or something like that...
You are exactly correct, there are such codes and limitations but that doesn't stop some of those guys. The I-Joist companies have even gone as far as to provide dimpled knockouts for the trades to use. You use a hammer and knockout the designated dimples, it's a piece-o-cake. Or you would think it would be a piece-o-cake. Another problem with the knockouts is that the builder has to be smart enough to align all the knockouts during assembly. Do you think that is done all the time? Nope!

I'm sure the whole country thinks all structures are built with some plan in mind and built by experienced tradesmen but the truth is there are a lot of times it doesn't happen. THEN, the next issue is the inspections. Most new structures come under some kind of inspection requirement. Well, don't think for a minute that some of the inspectors aren't either idiots or having their back scratched in other ways.
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