An exposed crawl space can become a breeding ground for molds, rats, and other pests. Now you’re wondering if you should pour concrete into your home’s crawl space. We researched for you and also asked industry experts to give you the following answer.
Pouring concrete into a crawl space can hide imperfections like the untidiness and unevenness of bare soil. The material can also help improve the durability and serviceable life of the crawl space. But concrete is porous, which means it can invite moisture-related issues if left unchecked.
Installing a vapor barrier to a concrete crawl space can help reduce and perhaps even prevent moisture concerns. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and shortcomings of a concrete crawl space. We'll also discuss how to pour concrete into a crawl space if you wish to proceed with this project.
Should You Pour Concrete In Your Crawl Space?
Concrete can be an ideal solution to hide and seal an unfinished crawl space. But interested homeowners should still take note that this material won’t solve all problems concerning crawl spaces.
In particular, pouring concrete may increase moisture-related concerns if left unchecked. Concrete is a porous substance, increasing the risks of issues like mold growth and water damage.
Property owners that are interested in pouring concrete into their crawl spaces should also think about applying moisture prevention solutions. One preventive measure is to add a plastic liner system to help reduce humidity in these spaces.
Another possible solution is to convert a crawl space into a basement. Finishing the new subterranean space may help reduce moisture problems further.
Preparing A Crawl Space For Concrete
Start this operation by filling the crawl space with gravel. This material can help prevent unwanted water damage for the gravel can aid in pushing excess moisture down. Once you complete that initial step, you can proceed with the other phases of the preparation.
- Install a six-millimeter vapor barrier to further reduce the instances of moisture concerns. If you have trouble with this step, proceed to the next section for more information.
- Hook up a drainage system in between the vapor barrier and rough soil.
- Seal cracks and gaps in the foundation’s perimeter.
You can also watch the video below for additional details on how to prepare a crawl space for poured-in concrete:
How Do You Pour Concrete Under A House?
Ensure that you’re following specific building codes for this project. In certain cases, you may need to pour Styrofoam onto the crawl space before you can seal it with concrete. Always consult with your local government to verify these building codes to avoid expensive charges.
Also, pay attention to the outside temperature. Otherwise, the concrete may not dry as fast as expected if you’re working during wet weather. You should also wear protective gear, such as boots and gloves since you'll be getting your limbs in the concrete.
After confirming these elements, you can proceed with the rest of this job.
- Pour the concrete into the crawl space. Having assistants to help spread the material as it pours will help hasten the process.
- Use the masonry tool set, which should have a margin trowel, to flatten and level the poured-in concrete. A power screed can also make this step easier than usual.
- Continue until you cover the crawl space’s floor with concrete.
This task may not be DIY-friendly since it might require heavy equipment like cement mixers and trucks. If you think the job is tough for you, think about hiring industry professionals instead.
Watch this video to see how experts pour concrete onto a crawl space:
How Do You Secure A Vapor Barrier In A Crawl Space?
You don’t need special tools for this project. A sharp pair of scissors and a utility knife should suffice. A set of quality staples and a staple gun will also help secure the vapor barrier to the space. After acquiring those pieces of equipment, proceed to the next step:
- Cut the vapor barrier to size using scissors.
- Roll the vapor barrier and deliver it to the crawl space.
- Unroll the moisture barrier and secure it with the staple gun.
While you're in the crawl space and securing the moisture barrier, make sure that the material goes around the piers. You can achieve this objective by cutting the material in a manner that allows it to fold properly.
For more information about this process, watch the video below:
How Much Does It Cost To Cement A Crawl Space?
Pouring cement or concrete into a crawl space costs about $5 to $16 per square foot. Therefore, a 100-square foot area would cost about $500 to $1,600, whereas a 1,000-square foot lot may require $5,000 to $16,000 for the poured concrete.
Moreover, the costs may vary based on the location. Some of the average costs of pouring concrete to a crawl space in different cities are:
- Boston, NY: $9,190
- Denver, CO: $6,110
- Houston, TX: $10,785
- Nashville, TN: $6,885
- New York City, NY: $13,035
Other expenses related to pouring concrete into foundations include planning, materials used, and professional labor. Additionally, expect to pay for building permits, which may make you spend an additional $500 to $2,000.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Most homeowners' insurance policies don’t cover crawl space encapsulation. Take note that this procedure seals the area with thick, white, polyethylene (PE) plastic. This additional layer of protection helps control moisture, increasing the space’s resistance against water damage.
However, it’s still advisable for homeowners to encapsulate their crawl spaces, despite the lack of financial support from insurance companies. Implementing this preventive measure may help reduce insurance premiums. Consult with your insurance agent or company to check if you can take advantage of this cost reduction.
Take note that insurance policies are often specific with their definitions. An insurance company may provide some coverage with a basement but not to a cellar. Find out more about the difference between a basement and a cellar.
Is A Slab Foundation Better Than A Crawl Space?
Slab and crawl space foundations have their distinct pros and cons. The former can best the latter in some categories and the other way around. In this section, you’ll learn more about the differences between these two foundations in more detail.
A slab foundation will typically use a mixture of gravel, rock, sand, and/or rock. The resulting concrete is a thick and durable foundation made to withstand strong forces. This foundation also often requires less maintenance than a crawl space.
On the downside, slab foundations often have minimal to zero storage capacities. Moreover, contractors usually find slabs difficult to access for repairs.
A crawl space usually has a space of about 18 to 48 inches above the ground. Property owners may also pour concrete over their crawl spaces for enhanced sturdiness and improved moisture control.
However, building a crawl space foundation is often more expensive to develop than a slab. Thankfully, this foundation works well on sloped lots, unlike slabs.
You may decide to pour concrete into your home's crawl space to hide its unaesthetic appearance. But make sure to add a moisture barrier before pouring the concrete. With the vapor barrier, the concrete should have reduced risks of contracting issues like mold and mildew growth.