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Old 09-10-2008, 04:23 PM   #1
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Crawl space dig-out

My crawl space is very tiny, and difficult for people who come in to do work to move around in. I was wondering what people thought about trying to dig it out versus putting in a basement (I guess that would mean jacking up the house?) Are there companies that dig-out crawl spaces? If I were to do it on my own, how would I do that?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:26 PM   #2
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You can usually get away with removing a few inches of dirt. How deep are your footings below the floor of the crawlspace? The challenge is that you have to leave the soil that your footings bear on alone. Loads transfer from the footing straight down and at 45 degree angles to the sides. So, you cannot remove the soil that falls in that 45 degree line from the underside of the footing...Unless you have a foundation contractor pour additional footings or take measures to stabilize the soil beneath them.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:05 PM   #3
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Waaay back once upon a time, I did exactly this.

We (my parents) bought a house and my brother and I, as teenagers, wanted some extra room. The yard had enough of a slope that the back, where the crawl space door was, was about five feet high. Just enough to have to duck a little. We went under there, with shovels and a wheelbarrow, and dug it out. We left enough where you first went in to make a ramp for the wheelbarrow and left about two feet of dirt around the piers.

Just consider that you had two teenagers, two buddies next door, and out of school for the summer.

A co-worker told me about ten years ago that his parents had had someone come in and make a basement for them because they wanted extra storage room (I think). Anyway, this company dug out the crawlspace, poured the floors, did the proper supports, finished the walls and everything. He told me that it cost them around $8-10,000 I think, or maybe it was a little less than that. Anyway, they got a complete dried in basement for less than what adding one small room would have cost.
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. If you wouldn't put your name on it, it ain't done right!
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:04 PM   #4
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Crawl space

If you live in an area that is subject to frost heave, be careful.
If the crawl space is unheated, frost can easily penetrate under excavated footings and cause them to heave.
The footing that are covered by 3 or 4 feet of earth are protected. But,if you remove this protection, the earth under the footings will be vulnerable!
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basement , crawl space , dig-out

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