It is a pretty query among most of the homeowners whether they have a Crawl Space or a Basement? I also had the same question and I did some research but not much information was available on the internet.
So, I decided to write a blog on Crawl Space Vs Basement and how to identify if you have a basement or a crawl space? So, are crawl space and basement the same thing? The quick answer to this is a big NO.
Basements are larger than crawl spaces and can be used as living spaces whereas crawl space has a limited room where you can put some storage. So, crawl spaces and basements are two different things.
Basements can be better utilized and are comparatively more functional than crawl spaces. Basements increase the overall worth of any house. But, if you have limited space available crawl spaces can also be a significantly good choice.[lwptoc]
Crawl Spaces Vs Basements!
The basement is the floor of the building which is entirely or partly below ground level. They are usually a seven-foot or deeper hollow place dug in the ground which ends in a concrete slab. Whereas, crawl spaces are under a floor or roof which has limited area and space.
Basements are more utilizable as well as useful and can be used as living space. On the other hand, crawl spaces are majorly used for wiring and plumbing purposes and sometimes also as storage spaces.
Basements are usually 7-8 feet tall but crawl spaces are just 3-4 feet tall. Now, you would have got a rough idea about Crawl Spaces and Basements and which one do you have. Let’s now look at the merits and demerits of Crawl spaces and Basements.
Crawl Spaces are unfinished space under the floor or the roof of the house usually used for wiring and plumbing purposes.
Crawl spaces are very useful for plumbing and wiring and they make it easy to repair and upgrade them. Crawl spaces work pretty well in a dry climate and they are mostly warm. Well-insulated crawl spaces warm-up fast when the outside temperature rises.
However, the biggest advantage of Crawl spaces is that they are very inexpensive and they don’t require much money to build. They provide much more space than a slab if built properly but obviously less space than basements. You can easily save 5-10k dollars by building a crawl space rather than a proper well-finished basement!
Although, crawl spaces take less money to build they are not as useful as basements. Also, they require almost the same amount of time to build when compared to basements.
Crawl spaces are majorly used for plumbing and ducting and they aren’t very efficient at storing things. Although you use top-notch protection against moisture there is a very high chance that you will face some kind of moisture problem.
Also, don’t forget that Crawl Spaces are great places for things like fungi and molds. Not only your crawl space will be damaged but also there’s a risk of molds and fungi entering your home and cause major issues.
As crawl spaces are located a few feet above a slab foundation they are not that great at safety. If there’s a deadly storm or even a small earthquake all your stuff will get heavily damaged. So, if you live in areas where storms and earthquakes are common, think again before building a crawl space as repairing it can be costly.
Due to all these factors, (moisture, molds, fungi), you cannot store anything besides leftover paint, tiles, and bricks for further use. If you are thinking of keeping your clothes and other things they will rotten in the next few days.
Basements are living spaces that are entirely or slightly below ground level and they are at least 7-8 feet deep. They are usually dark and dull with artificial lights and no windows.
Basements built nowadays are much more safe and stronger than the Crawl Spaces. The biggest advantage I think of Basements is their security and safety against earthquakes and storms.
Unlike Crawl Spaces which are elevated above ground level basements are under the ground level which makes it a more durable and safer place overall. You don’t need to worry about getting your stuff damaged due to heavy rainfall, storms, thunders, winds, and earthquakes.
But if you are living in areas where earthquakes are not that common still basements will protect you from deadly tornados. Especially if you are living in the central parts of the United States (known as Great Plains) where tornados are very common basements will be very useful for you. In these areas of the United States, more than 500 tornados occur every year and that’s why it is known as the ‘Tornado Alley’.
Another merit of having a basement is that you get a lot of area for storage at a very cheap price. Consider getting another floor above your existing house it will cost you many dollars. Compared to that basements give you storage space at a very cheap price.
Also, unlike crawl spaces basements are great places to live. You will have protection against cold and hot climate outside and with proper ventilation and insulation, you can make it the best place of your house.
Personally, I just love relaxing in my basement. It gives me protection against heat in summer and it is cold, less hot than my house. Even in cold winters, the temperature of the basement is higher due to the thick wall and insulation!
However, your children might be frightened to hang out in the dark and warm atmosphere and when I was young I was always scared of my basements.
The basement is the first choice for most of you when compared to Crawl Spaces. And, yes I would say Basements are a better choice but as you know everything has some kind of negative things about it. There are some situations where you would prefer crawl spaces instead of basements.
If you are tight on budget and have a pretty large house with plenty of storage of space then crawl space can be an efficient and cost-effective solution.
Some people don’t like dark rooms and if you are not using your basements for a living then you are not properly utilizing them. So, rather build a crawl space and save some bucks. Without windows, basements seem a dark, dull, and dreary place to be in.
In many countries and cities its not legal to build a basement. So, you aren’t sure if it is legal or not to build a basement in your area then I would suggest asking experts. But, recently to solve the housing crisis many cities have made it legal to build a basement in your house.
In states where there are a lot of wetland territory or swampland its not feasible to build a basement. Some places like Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, as well as eastern texas, have very wetland and I wouldn’t recommend you to build a basement over there. Even you build a basement it would be moist and really very dirty.
Also, avoid places that are significantly close to the coastline as a flood can damage things worth thousands of dollars. Every year there are hundreds of cases in which floods have destroyed basements of many.
Wrapping it Up
Crawl space or basement which one to choose? It all depends on your budget and personal preferences. If you don’t have enough cash or basements are not allowed where you live then crawl spaces can be a good option.
If you have enough money from which you can build a basement then I would recommend building it. As basements are not only good for storage space but also living space. It would require a big investment up front but it is worth investing and it would increase the worth of your house!