The short answer is to treat it like a basement. A really short basement you can’t play ping pong in.
If the house you just bought was built before 1960, chances are the crawl space was built to standards that are far behind current guidelines and hasn’t been thought of since. It’s not as glamourous to layout 20 to 50K to upgrade a crawlspace when you will actually use and enjoy the new kitchen cabinets and appliances you were planning on. That said, the lowly crawlspace should get more consideration than it does. For reasons, you can’t see, but you can feel.
Hopefully, your crawlspace doesn’t look like this, if it does, hundreds of litres of unwanted water vapour are moving upward into your house along with nasty radon gas, your floors are cold, your heating bills are higher, and no one likes you. Your house isn’t as comfy as it could be.
When I was building homes, air quality and long-term comfort were at the forefront of every site decision. Crawlspace and basement envelope performance contributed greatly to the liveability of a home and the quality of the air inside it.
How can we improve on the above photo? Here are some ideas. From “It’s the least you should do” To “I’m a Crawlspace Star” complete with your own Deep Purple theme music every time you open the hatch to get the Christmas decorations. This is assuming your 1958 house has a functional Perimeter drainage system (That’ll be my next blog)
Let us delve!
The next best place to insulate is on the interior, indeed there are some advantages to insulating here. there is no better way to insulate this area of the house than spray foam insulation. The reason being, it can cover very uneven surfaces such as where the foundation transitions up into the wood frame in between the joists. The spray foam insulation can act as both insulation and a vapour barrier and be sprayed right against your shiny new slab all the way up into the joist bays, providing virtually airtight seals where rigid or batt insulation can’t compete. In the words of MC Hammer…’Proper!’
If you have other types of heating systems, it is a simple matter to install an electric baseboard heater or two in the crawl space with a thermostat in the living space of the house to tune.
Et Voila! A highly functioning crawl-space the whole family can enjoy, like those Kraft Deserts they used to show in the Charlie Brown Specials on TV in the ’70s. Your crawlspace will be the envy of the neighbourhood! Seriously, it can greatly improve your quality of life. Contact a quality builder or renovator to give you more info!
Thanks for reading!