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How To Change Your Crawlspace Into A Basement


Eugene Kushmarak

Eugene Kushmarak

Please meet Eugene, one of our basement flood experts. He started his career from the bottom, digging trenches, working his way up to contractor and supervisor. Learn More About Eugene Kushmarak

What is a Crawl Space in a Basement?

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A crawl space is a type of foundation that creates a gap between the bottom of a home and the ground. Here are key points to understand about crawl spaces:

  • Limited Height: Unlike full basements, crawl spaces typically offer just enough height for someone to crawl, hence the name, ranging from one to three feet in height.
  • Ventilation: They are usually ventilated to the outside air, which can help to prevent moisture buildup that leads to mold and mildew.
  • Access Point: Often used as an access area for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, making it easier to service and repair these systems without disturbing the main living area.
  • Insulation: Crawl spaces can be insulated and vapor-barriered to enhance a home’s overall energy efficiency and protect against moisture and pests.

What Can I Do with My Crawl Space Basement?

Your crawl space, while not a full-size basement, can be quite versatile. Consider the following uses:

  • Storage: With proper insulation and moisture control, your crawl space can be used for storing items that are not affected by temperature fluctuations or occasional dampness.
  • Work Area: For hobbyists or those needing a workshop space, the crawl space can be adapted with lighting and power to create a functional work area for projects that don’t require standing height.
  • Utilities and Systems Hub: The crawl space is ideal for housing your HVAC system, water heater, or for running plumbing and electrical systems, as it allows for easy access for maintenance.
How To Change Your Crawlspace Into A Basement
  • Additional Insulation: By adding insulation, you can reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs, as a well-insulated crawl space helps to maintain a more consistent temperature in the home above.
  • Pest Control: Sealing and safeguarding against pests can prevent damage and maintain the structural integrity of your home. It’s also a prime space for installing pest control measures like bait stations or traps.

Remember, before repurposing your crawl space, consider the need for adequate
moisture control measures, such as a vapor barrier or dehumidifier, to keep the area dry and protect stored items or equipment.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Converting A Crawl Space Into A Basement

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Step 1: Consultation and Planning

  • Start with a consultation from a trusted contractor to discuss costs and expectations.
  • Engage a structural engineer to produce detailed plans for the crawl space conversion.


Step 2: Permits and Design

Step 3: Exterior Excavation

  • Begin with excavating the foundation’s exterior, tailored to your property’s layout and topography.
  • Following the construction, use ¾″ gravel for backfill to facilitate water drainage away from the foundation.

Step 4: House Lifting

  • Employ specialized equipment to carefully lift and temporarily support the house while working on the foundation.
  • This is a critical process and requires precision and professional expertise.
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Step 5: Foundation Work

  • Construct a new foundation wall, either by laying down a new concrete foundation or building with cinder blocks.
  • For concrete foundations, set up plywood forms, insert rebar, and pour concrete. For block walls, layer the cinder blocks to the required height.

Step 6: Basement Flooring

  • After evacuating the soil, pour concrete to create a strong, level floor, framing it with sturdy wall enclosures.

Step 7: Drainage and Waterproofing

  • Implement a comprehensive drainage system to manage water effectively and prevent any future leakage.
  • Pour a concrete slab to form a robust and waterproof basement floor.

Step 8: Interior Setup

  • Proceed to the interior to install stairs, lighting, and other necessities, verifying that all elements are functional.

Step 9: Interior Finishing

  • Finalize your new basement space by installing drywall, painting the walls, and laying down flooring of your choice.

Each step of transforming your crawl space into a waterproofed basement requires meticulous attention to detail, adherence to Toronto’s building standards, and a commitment to high-quality workmanship.

How Much Does It Cost To Turn A Crawl Space Into A Basement

Transforming a crawl space into a fully functional basement typically ranges from $20,000 for a simple dig-out to upwards of $90,000 for a comprehensive job including excavation, underpinning, and interior finishing. Costs vary depending on location, size, and the specific requirements of the project. It’s a complex renovation that necessitates expert evaluation for a precise quote.

Pros & Cons Of A Basement Crawl Space

Here are pros & cons of a basement crawl space:
Pros of a Basement Crawl SpaceCons of a Basement Crawl Space
Easy Access to Utilities: Provides convenient access for repairs to plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.Limited Space: Often too low for regular activities, restricting usage to storage or utility access.
Cost-Effective: Generally less expensive to build than a full basement due to reduced excavation and material costs.Moisture Control: Can be prone to moisture issues, requiring vapor barriers, insulation, and potentially a sump pump.
Energy Efficiency: Can be insulated to reduce energy costs, though to a lesser degree than a full basement.Pest Risk: The dark and damp environment can attract pests if not properly sealed and maintained.
Flood Prevention: Elevated from the ground, reducing the risk of flooding compared to full basements.Comfort Issues: May contribute to colder floors above and can be drafty if not well-insulated.
Ventilation: Designed to be ventilated to the outside, which can help prevent the build-up of harmful gases.Access Difficulty: May be hard to move large equipment in and out due to limited height and entry points.
Maintenance: Easier and potentially cheaper to maintain than a full basement, especially in terms of waterproofing efforts.Resale Value: Less appealing to buyers compared to full basements, potentially affecting home value.

Ventilated Crawl Spaces

Ventilated crawl spaces use exterior vents to promote air circulation, preventing moisture accumulation foundational to mold and wood decay. Economical and practical, they can minimize humidity with proper insulation but may need added moisture barriers in damp climates.

Conditioned Crawl Spaces

A conditioned crawl space is sealed and climate-managed like the main house, enhancing energy efficiency and air quality. It’s a proactive solution against moisture problems, though it requires an initial investment for thorough insulation and HVAC integration.

What is a basement crawl space vapor barrier?

A basement crawl space vapor barrier is a specialized material used to block moisture from seeping into the crawl space from the ground or through walls. Typically made of polyethylene or similar heavy-duty plastic, it’s laid across the crawl space floor and often up the walls, effectively sealing out dampness. This barrier helps to reduce humidity, protect the structural integrity of the home, and improve overall indoor air quality by preventing mold and mildew growth.

Why Wait? Contact Aquatech Waterproofing today!

How To Change Your Crawlspace Into A Basement

Don’t hesitate—Aquatech Waterproofing is just a call away, bringing their impeccable 5-star service to your doorstep. Not only do we offer price-matching guarantees and a lifetime transferable warranty, but our swift turnaround time ensures your project starts within 4-5 days of locates. Choose Aquatech for dependable protection and unbeatable quality. Contact us today!

FAQs About Basement Crawl Space

Converting a crawl space into a basement is challenging and involves extensive digging, underpinning, and possible structural reinforcement. It’s labor-intensive and must comply with building codes, often requiring professional engineering and construction services.

A crawl space basement can be used for storage, as a utility area for HVAC and plumbing, or potentially converted into additional living space if properly finished and compliant with local building standards.

Yes, a process known as “digging out” can make a crawl space deeper, but it requires structural support for the home during excavation and expertise to ensure the foundation remains stable.

Replacing a crawl space foundation is possible but complex, requiring jacking up the house to remove the old foundation and construct a new one. This job should only be undertaken by qualified professionals.

A crawl space can be expanded; however, this entails significant excavation and may involve foundation modification, demanding careful planning and engineering approval.

A basement offers more usable space and can increase home value, but it’s more expensive to build and maintain. A crawl space provides easy access to utilities and can be less costly, but it doesn’t offer extra living space and can have moisture issues.