Help leveling my crawl space

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by awe215, Aug 25, 2019.

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  1. Aug 25, 2019 #1

    awe215

    awe215

    awe215

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    Hello! I am attempting to level my crawl space. It is filled with mainly dirt (also small rocks). It is sloped up toward the back. It looks as if someone started leveling it and left off. I've never leveled ground before....so I am wondering if I should just spread around what's in there, evenly, or remove what's in there (leving it to a certain height, if that makes sense).

    My plan is to level the space, tarp over the dirt, (maybe use pallets), fill it with storage bins

    Thanks for any help, I'm somewhat lost right now on how to proceed.

     
  2. Aug 25, 2019 #2

    oldognewtrick

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  3. Aug 25, 2019 #3

    awe215

    awe215

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    Thanks for the heads up. That seems like a good idea. The crawl space seems to show signs that moisture has been an issue, although the dirt is dry and it hasn't been a problem since I've lived here (over 2 years).

    Any ideas on how to go about leveling? Should I remove a bunch of the dirt, or just smooth out what is there?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Aug 25, 2019 #4

    pjones

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    If moving the dirt that is already there will leave you with insufficient room to preform repairs in the future then you will need to remove the dirt.

    If you have enough room to spread it around and average it all out then I don’t see an issue with that.

    I have about 18 inches to roll around on a creeper in my crawl space. If it wasn’t cement then it would not be enough room. I can’t imagine crawling through the dirt every time I wanted to make a repair. Talk about a bad day turned worse. If you have enough room to move around without doing a belly crawl then you should be fine.
     
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  5. Aug 26, 2019 #5

    oldognewtrick

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    Even though the dirt seems dry, it can still emits moisture. Also, radon can be an issue too with bare earth in a unprotected crawl space.
     
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  6. Aug 26, 2019 #6

    awe215

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    That is a really good point, toward the back the space is really cramped. I need to keep that in mind when leveling....make it the height that works to get around in the space.
     
  7. Aug 26, 2019 #7

    awe215

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    Radon....I need to test for that and then insulate it to keep that out, that's a really good idea. I am going to look into how to test that!

    Thanks for the help.

    Now, as far as leveling, I remove the excess to keep it a consistent height, then....smooth out or average what's left? Thanks for the help!
     
  8. Aug 26, 2019 #8

    nealtw

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    If you just want to make it more reasonable, I would just pick a level and smooth it out or even slope it down to where you enter. The rake and maybe a garden hoe would be the tools of choice.
     
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  9. Aug 26, 2019 #9

    Sparky617

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    If you put pallets in the crawlspace to keep any bins off the dirt, make sure they are pressure treated for ground contact. Otherwise, you're just putting termite food down there.

    Keep in mind, if your lot slopes, the footers and foundation walls very likely follow the slope and don't go down as deep as the more exposed part of the foundation, though given your NJ location they probably go down 3 - 4' from grade. Around here, with our shallower frost-line, our footers are only required to be about 12" deep.

    You definitely want a vapor barrier. If it were my crawlspace I'd probably be inclined to do a conditioned crawlspace rather than one that is open to the environment. Google it for how it is done.
     
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  10. Aug 30, 2019 #10

    awe215

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    Photo Aug 28, 12 41 27 PMb.jpg So, while not quite level, it is smoothed out now. My gut impulse with this is to cover it with tarps and throw a bunch of plastic bins in there....but my girlfriend wants the floor to be a hard one (plywood?)

    I think to do that right, I need to level the space properly, build some frames and lay in some plywood. Does that sound right? Is there an easier solution?

    Note: I am a novice, and this is all very new to me!

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  11. Aug 31, 2019 #11

    nealtw

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    In one picture we can see a sill plate on a foundation, Did you or some one remove a wall?
    We can se no insulation under the floor and it seems you have open access to the basement. Then it should be classed as a sealed crawl space. with foam board around the outside with 10 mil poly on the floor seal up at the top at the sill plate under the rim joist.
    All our crawl spaces sealed or vented get the poly on the floor and 2" skim coat of concrete.
    For storage, plan for the worst, lay down treated 2x6s and then find or build pallets
    That allow airflow under and around them.
     
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  12. Aug 31, 2019 #12

    pjones

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    I’ll second the choice for concrete as the best easiest option. Follow your local code for vapor barrier, ventilation, and insulation requirements
     
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  13. Aug 31, 2019 #13

    bud16415

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    I don’t know how much work or money you have to spend on the project. If it were mine and I do actually have an area that looks a lot like yours under my one bathroom I have been thinking about doing for five years now and haven’t got around to it.


    I would roll down the plastic sheets as suggested and try and get them to go up the block wall maybe 6” I would tape the edges and any seams. I would then get the 12”x12”x1.5” concrete pavers from the apron/vest store that are about $1 each and do a row around the perimeter to hold it down and then 3 or 4 rows at the opening into the basement to set the totes on. There is no reason to go deeper because if you stick stuff back there more than two rows deep it will be there forever and you don’t need it.


    The whole thing will be under a couple hundred bucks and the pavers are small enough you can carry them down the stairs 2-3 at a time and it will be a good workout and much easier than trying to get sheets of plywood home and down the stairs. If you just have a car you will want to split the load up over a few trips.


    That’s my DIY homeowners idea. It might not be perfect but I think it will work and give you a shelf for your totes and a cleaner way to get back in there if you ever have to along with keeping the moisture down.
     
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  14. Sep 2, 2019 #14

    awe215

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    @bud16415 , thanks for the reply! Your proposal is more my speed. Do you think the pavers should be spaced or fit snuggly around the perimeter? Your point is well taken about packing things in too deep, the things in the back would be forgotten. My plan would be to create a row for each holiday, some would go more than two deep but they would be uniform. There is also a large artificial tree, in a box that would be in there too.

    I think my next step is to acquire some plastic, for the floor, as you suggested. Thanks again everyone for the help!!!
     
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  15. Sep 3, 2019 #15

    bud16415

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    I wouldn't cut any pavers. So one in each corner and then space them evenly just so they hold it down and tight to the wall. Maybe even brick size pavers around the outside would do the job. its not going anyplace.

    Good luck glad to help and post some pics when you get it down.
     

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