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Old 06-25-2017, 07:24 AM   #1
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Cement in crawl or encapsulation


I've got a partial basement partial crawl in my 1935 home with a stone basement. My radon levels were high and the house is very musty due to water issues. I was going to put a french drain into the crawl and then encapsulate the crawl (plastic) but with the cost I'm wondering if I should just cement it over.

any reason not to cement a crawl ?
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:42 AM   #2
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


The concrete floor with plastic under it would be nice to stop moisture coming from below. If you are in a cold climate the encapsulation air seals and allows that space to be conditioned like the rest of the house. The radon pipes would be installed under the plastic.

A stone foundation presents a challenge for encapsulation. I have seen a few where they spray foam to seal and insulate and the results were great. They also have a protective paint to cover the foam if local codes require.

Give us your climate region so we can best advise on insulation needs.

Bud
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:49 AM   #3
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


Cement in crawl or encapsulation-crawl-pic.jpg
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:52 AM   #4
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


Heres what I'm working with. Its just over 600 sq feet. I was going to encapsulate myself in 20mil plastic but the edges of thee wall (and old coal chute) make it so uneven I have no idea how I could ever get a good seal with t after seeing price I seal with plastic. I got to thinking about spreading 3-4 inches of stone down then doing plastic (maybe 6 mil) over that then cement.
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Old 06-25-2017, 08:10 AM   #5
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


What's your climate region?
In a warm climate the humid air from outside can form moisture and those cool walls thus covering them with insulation (rigid or spray foam) serves both summer and winter. And those walls look flat enough to work with.

Gravel would help with the radon removal and a simple 3" layer of concrete over it would be nice.

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Old 06-25-2017, 08:13 AM   #6
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


Sorry forgot to put that, I live in Philadelphia. Not sure what region that would be considered. Winters for the most part usually stay in mid 30's with occasional (very occasional) snow
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Old 06-25-2017, 08:54 AM   #7
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


With no insulation between house and crawl you will want to insulate the walls or the floor. Philly is cold enough that the insulation will save on energy. Insulating the walls also keeps thos floors inside the conditioned space.

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Old 06-25-2017, 08:58 AM   #8
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Thanks bud my intention is to do the foam insulating board on the walls
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:16 PM   #9
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


final dilemma hopefully. The floor of the crawl is anywhere from 28 inches to 45 inches below grade. We dug down at lowest level and found that the stone wall foundation actually has no true footer per say and the bottom of wall is around 48 inches below grade.

I think I'm going to pour a slab after I level it but now I'm concerned with an old stone wall and no footer how close I can get to the bottom of the wall with the french drain without running the risk of drawing water from under it and causing erosion under the wall.

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Old 06-25-2017, 02:26 PM   #10
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


That would be a judgement call from someone on-site or from an engineer. If the ground under and around the bottom of that wall are getting wet and soft I would disturb as little as possible. The good news is it has been there since 1935 so the test of time ended many decades ago.

The floor you end up with doesn't have to be perfectly flat.

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Old 06-25-2017, 03:14 PM   #11
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


I'm also wondering, at 48 inches down the ground was cold and not exactly wet but maybe moist because the soil did clump a bit. Not sure if its a bad thing to have the soil like this 48 inches down or not
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:48 PM   #12
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


Just a follow-up to Bud's advice ... Are you taking specific radon mitigation steps? You may simply be moving the 'gas-ing' around with a partial slab in your crawl space, not really addressing the issue, and potentially making it worse in some areas of your home (if that is an issue for you). If I recall correctly, Philly (and the better part of PA and southern NY state) is likely in a 'high radon' band -- this may be an issue if you ever move and put your home on the market. It's enough of an issue where I live (western NC) that not only is interior air quality tested, well water is, too.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:33 AM   #13
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Re: Cement in crawl or encapsulation


My radon plans are to pipe under the foundation and have a vent fan draw it out of the stack. I'm also going to run the same tubing out of a second sump pump that's under the actual basement.
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