crawl space

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Things You Do Not Need

And a few things you do

Posted on Feb 9 2018 by Martin Holladay
prime

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Midwest Construction

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A One-Room Insulation Challenge

This poorly insulated addition has a pier foundation and is open to the wind from below

Posted on Jan 22 2018 by Scott Gibson

The one-room addition on Emerson W's home is not what anyone would realistically consider over-insulated: R-11 batts in the walls and R-19 at most in the ceiling. But the immediate issue is the floor. There's no insulation at all there, and because the addition sits on concrete piers, there's nothing to stop the wind from blowing freely below.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Emerson W
  2. Images #2, #3, and #4: Peter Yost

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Four Sources of Crawl Space Moisture

To stop moisture problems in vented crawl spaces, you have to know where the moisture comes from

Posted on Oct 11 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

Here in the southeastern U.S., we have a lot of crawl spaces. Most are vented. Even most new ones are vented. It's not because it's the best way to keep them dry. That's certainly not true. We have enough research on crawl spaces to know better. No, they're vented because foundation vents got into the code decades ago and, once there, they’ve been difficult to dislodge.

So if you have a vented crawl space, especially in a humid climate, it most likely has moisture problems. And where does that moisture come from? Let's take a look.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Crawl Spaces vs. Skirts

If you have a house on piers, should you enclose the space under the house or leave it open?

Posted on Jul 21 2017 by Martin Holladay
prime

Many older homes in rural areas have pier foundations. The piers may be made of wood (for example, creosoted posts or pressure-treated lumber), poured concrete, CMUs, or bricks. The space between the dirt and the underside of the floor framing may be enclosed or may be entirely open to the wind.


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Image Credits:

  1. LanaiLens

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Upgrading a Crawl Space

A homeowner wonders how to heat a crawl space and worries about risks from radon

Posted on Dec 19 2016 by Scott Gibson

David Meyer's Seattle-area home is built over a crawl space, and after stripping out the old insulation and vapor barrier he is ready to re-insulate and seal the area. After looking into his options, Meyer is leaning toward "encapsulation," meaning the crawl space would be sealed (unvented), with the insulation on the walls, not between the floor joists.


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Image Credits:

  1. David Meyer

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Being a Carpenter Isn’t Simple Anymore

A self-described ‘forensic carpenter’ encounters shoddy construction practices in Colorado

Posted on Sep 2 2016 by Martin Holladay
prime

After working for years as a carpenter, Bart Laemmel, a resident of Crested Butte, Colorado, decided to upgrade his skills. “I have a thirst for knowledge,” he said. Speaking at a presentation at the recent Westford Symposium on Building Science, Laemmel deployed his self-deprecating humor. “I am a HERSIndex or scoring system for energy efficiency established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) that compares a given home to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Reference Home based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. A home matching the reference home has a HERS Index of 100. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is. A typical existing home has a HERS Index of 130; a net zero energy home has a HERS Index of 0. Older versions of the HERS index were based on a scale that was largely just the opposite in structure--a HERS rating of 100 represented a net zero energy home, while the reference home had a score of 80. There are issues that complicate converting old to new or new to old scores, but the basic formula is: New HERS index = (100 - Old HERS score) * 5. rater,” he said. “It was an intense training — seven days straight. I figured I knew everything. And I am a LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. professional. I know how to check stuff off.”


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Bart Laemmel

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New, Vented Crawl Spaces Should Be Illegal

Most building science research condemns the classic vented crawl space, at least in certain climate zones, even if the crawl space meets code

Posted on Dec 28 2015 by Brian Knight

For new homes, vented crawl spaces should be illegal. That may seem harsh, considering the entrenchment of this common, code-compliant construction detail. I am on board for most local and common practices when they're done right, but it's tough denying that most building science research is condemning the classic vented crawl space in a humid climate. It's time for this building practice to be outlawed for new construction.


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Image Credits:

  1. Mike Linksvayer / Creative Commons license at Flickr

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Solving a Crawl Space Water Mystery

Sometimes it takes some sleuthing in the rain to find how water gets into the crawl space

Posted on Oct 28 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

When I started Energy Vanguard in 2008, I didn't know how the company would evolve and had thought early on that I may get back into home performance contracting. I did a couple of jobs, the last one being a crawl space encapsulation for my friends Tony and Gabriella. They had a house over a moldy crawl space, and Gabriella had developed a cough since moving in.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Does a Crawl Space Make Sense?

A building convention in one region is mostly ignored in another. Does that make one side wrong?

Posted on Nov 24 2014 by Scott Gibson

Michael Geoghegan is designing a house for a mixed, humid climate and he plans on using an insulated crawl space.


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Image Credits:

  1. Peter Yost

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All About Basements

Is your basement a damp hole in the ground or a delightful place to retreat and tinker at your workbench?

Posted on Nov 14 2014 by Martin Holladay

Foundation discussions can get heated. For some reason, builders often dig in their heels when the topic of slabs versus crawl spaces versus basements comes up. It’s time to declare a truce.

It’s perfectly possible to build a great house on any one of these three foundation types, as long as everything is properly detailed. Each type of foundation has advantages as well as disadvantages. If you have a foundation type that you prefer, that’s great. I’m not going to try to change your mind.


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Image Credits:

  1. Donaleen

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