Especially old summer houses crawl spaces under old houses are a very disgusting place. Between the floor joists and raw earth they often have only a few inches of clearance. They collect spiders, mice, skunks and other nasty stuff over the years. Repairing wires and pipes is dirty, dangerous and uncomfortable when crawling under the house. Therefore, crawl space excavation takes quite a lot of time though productive and the main advantage is that the job site is almost dust free when using the needed equipment. Additionally, other than jacking up the house or digging under the house with a Bobcat the vacuum excavation system is easier and safer. For safe job environments while working posts can be placed together as the crawl space excavation moves under the building.
It is true that the quest for elbow room has been a part of our culture since the westward expansion of the 18th and 19th centuries although some might argue with the words needs as opposed to wants. Nowadays, for single homes and a booming business in home additions and exterior living space it is manifested in a growing average square footage. Restrictions created by lot sizes, property lines and setbacks make it impractical adding space in their home steads. Relocation is the answer for many while others prefer using creativity to find new living space.
Increasing livable space is the purpose of most renovations. At times this should not be the case because you risk your home’s structural integrity and safety and you also risk your investment. For instance, people want to finish the basement right away when they buy new constructed homes. But according to the general rule of the thumb people should wait for a year or so. To let go through a couple of freeze and thaw cycles to observe if any leaks or cracks show up it is advisable to wait for at least two years. Spending quite a lot of money only to have to rip out the work to fix the problem again is the last thing you should be thinking about. A utility room should not be turned into a livable space with finished flooring and walls since you have to get direct access to the systems available.
The questions mostly asked always revolve around the attics. Turning your attics requires a lot of work, money, engineers and permits since they are not meant to be living spaces and this could lead to a very big issue. Preventing heat from escaping, insulating the house and deterring condensation that could cause rotting and moulding are the jobs of a crawl space. The roof, electrical, HVAC and most importantly the structure are change by turning it into a living space. Meant only to support the roof above and the ceiling below most crawl spaces floor are constructed with 2 by 4s. 2 by 6s reinforcements would be needed to carry load outside the walls since the 2 by 4s are not strong enough to even support people. Ensuring that you also have enough headroom which is safe and legal when constructing your stairs is also important. A ceiling with minimal space between the roof and the finished ceiling known as the cathedral ceiling should also be placed. This is because the space available is usually not enough for proper airflow and insulation.
You can furnace handle heating the additional space since there is work and cost involved in adding the extra ductwork, col-air return and heat registers.to protect your home you should avoid this altogether and use your attic for what is constructed for. Another space that people always aim to finish around the crawl space is for storage purposes. Additionally, they might also aim at keeping the living spaces above warm and reduce heating bills.
In order to completely change a crawl space it calls for these two measures; making it a proper cold zone or turning it into a warm zone. Closing off the exterior venting, insulating the foundation walls, laying down vapor barrier, gravel and rigid form board on the floor and adding a cold-air return or a heating duct are some of the ways that you can convert a crawls space into a warm zone. You will get moisture if you do not add heating and you close off vents since cold-air will return. On the other hand, completing all this requirements could still not guarantee you a warm crawl space, thus making the other option of making it a cold zone. Make sure there is enough ventilation when insulating the floor above and sealing with the vapor barrier. If you properly insulate the floor above you should not have warm air meeting cold although some people say vapor barrier can trap moisture against the floor joists and cause then to rot.
It is a massive job to underpin or bench pin a crawls space and as mentioned earlier if not performed great damages could be foreseen. According to numerous studies it should not be recommended unless you are sure it will be conducted the right and proper way. Your priority is your home’s health and safety no matter what renovation you take on. At times as much as it a strange advice from a contractor it is best not to renovate at all.
We were thinking about extending our living space in Toronto downtown older home. These guys gave us a good option on getting more height in our basement and to finish it properly. Now we have extra bedroom and washroom that can be easily used for guests or as a rental unit.
Underpinnings.ca gave us awesome explanation of how excavation and lowering of the basement is done. They also included step by step video in the email with a quote. All these little details that the go above and beyond with just did it for us and without hesitation we started the permits and work. Such a great experience with all plumbing and waterproofing!
Our idea was to either do extension of the house on the side or do basement lowering. To our surprise home addition was much complicated and expensive. All quotes were at least double the price of what underpinnings.ca quoted us for giving us extra 2 feet of height and full basement finish. We recommend them to all Torontonians.