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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Concrete Crawl Space?

A concrete crawl space can keep out moisture and bugs.
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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2014
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A concrete crawl space is located directly beneath a home or building. There are several different types of crawl space designs, but the concrete one is preferred in many areas. As the name implies, this area is only large enough to permit crawling through the space under the structure. The pros to having a concrete crawl space include ease of maintenance, having a firm surface to crawl upon as well as elimination of a habitat attractive to rodents and reptiles beneath the building. Cons to having a concrete crawl space include the moisture retention that concrete has, the difficulty in expanding the space should the need arise as well as the initial cost factor.

In many areas of the world, digging a basement when building a home is not prudent. Rocks, soft terrain and seasonal rainfall often make the decision to install a concrete crawl space a wise and natural choice. As with any building project, there are pros and cons to this decision. Home builders should consider both sides of the situation before committing to any building plan.

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Having a clean and firm area in which to gain access to the plumbing and other features underneath the home is just one plus to choosing a concrete crawl space. In some areas, small rodents and reptiles often burrow under structures seeking relief from the elements. Having a crawl space made of concrete maintains a solid barrier between the house and the pests. Placing a structure over top of such a firm and permanent base eliminates much of the sagging and uneven settling that often occurs to any structure through the years.

There are, however, legitimate arguments against a concrete crawl space. A primary argument against this approach is based on concrete's tendency to hold water. Many times a concrete slab will remain damp year-round if no sunlight is present. This moisture can cause damage to the structure as well as to plumbing and heating components that run under the building. Floors have a tendency of rotting from the bottom up when placed over a consistently damp area.

Another consideration in deciding to install a crawl space made of concrete is how difficult it will be to remove the concrete crawl space should the desire to add more space below the building ever arise. Often an addition such as a larger furnace requires that additional room be made by digging out the area under a structure. This is more easily accomplished without a concrete barrier needing to first be removed.

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