If you have a crawl space in your home, you may think that it isn’t much you can do with that space. It’s hard to get in and out of it, the ceilings are low, and it may seem dank, dark, and unwelcoming.
However, if you care for this space properly, you can use it for a number of things and you can set it up so the items you store there are accessible.
Don’t let this space be wasted. If you’re looking for some creative ideas on how to use your home’s crawl space, read on. You will be amazed at how useful this type of space can be.
What Is a Crawl Space?
You’ve likely heard the term crawl space before, but you may not understand what one is. In simple terms, a crawl space is a space under your home. Your house is raised off the ground using concrete cinderblocks or poured concrete. These supports keep your home level and keep it from touching the ground. It also allows for maintenance and repair to be completed on plumbing, gas hookups, ventilation, and wiring without repair service providers needing to open up your floors.
In most cases, crawl spaces are between one and three feet high, so it’s an open space, but it’s impossible to stand up in that space. To traverse a crawl space, you’ll need to crawl around, which is how these spaces got their name.
There are two different types of crawl spaces: ventilated and conditioned. Ventilated crawl spaces have vents along the foundation wall that allow air to flow through space. The downside of these vents is that they can let moist air inside the space that can lead to mold growth, but if you live in a dry area, that should not be an issue.
On the other hand, conditioned crawl spaces include insulated walls and a tight seal around the edges of your foundation. They are warmed and cooled by your HVAC system, and as a result, they should be climate controlled and mold-free.
Maintaining Your Crawl Space
If you haven’t ventured into your crawl space in a while, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive about it. It may be filled with insects and other critters, cobwebs, dampness, or worst of all – mold.
Even though this space is out of sight and therefore out of mind, maintaining this space is something that is required of you as a homeowner or renter. If you want to use it for your and your family’s benefit, you’ll need to make sure it is clean and functional for that use before moving on to the next steps.
If you plan to use your crawl space for the storage of outdoor items, then a ventilated crawl space should do the trick. However, if you want to store items there that you want to keep safe, you’ll want to upgrade to or continue to maintain a conditioned space.
To turn a ventilated crawl space into a conditioned crawl space, you’ll need to add crawl space insulation. You’ll also need to make sure the enclosure is sealed well to keep the elements out.
Because houses shift, it’s almost impossible to fully seal a crawl space off for the long term, so you’ll also need to keep moisture out of the space at all times through the use of a dehumidifier. When it comes to crawling spaces, moisture is your enemy. It can attract rodents, insects, and mold.
Even with the crawl space closed off, you will need to clean this area regularly. Routine cleaning will help you to ensure that the space is dry and that the items you store there are safe.
Four Great Ideas for Using Your Crawl Space
A crawl space may seem useless to many but others have come up with innovative uses for this otherwise unused space. With a little bit of creativity and ingenuity, a crawl space can be just as useful as the other rooms of your house.
Storage of Seasonal Items
A crawl space can be an excellent area for storage and that’s their primary use in most homes. Because it can be difficult to move around in a crawl space, the best items to store in one are things you don’t use too often. It’s a great place for storing seasonal items. Many people store their holiday decorations in their crawl space. Others store their winter sports equipment there in the summertime and their summer beach or pool items there in the winter.
In order to access your stuff easily, it’s crucial that you keep this area well-organized. It can be tempting to just throw everything in there and then walk away, but you’ll be pleased with yourself if you take the time to label and organize things as you put them inside.
Do you love drinking and collecting wine? A crawl space can make an excellent wine cellar and many homeowners use it for this purpose. You can purchase short wine racks that will fit in your specific space and then organize your bottles upon them. When it comes time to pop open a new bottle, you’ll just have to crawl in there and grab the one you want and then you can celebrate this wise use of this space.
Before refrigerators were invented, homeowners worldwide depended on root cellars to keep their food fresh year-round. A root cellar was often just a hole dug under a home that was cooler than the outside air, and it would provide storage and primitive refrigeration for items like potatoes, carrots, squash, and more.
You can use your crawl space for this same purpose. A crawl space is a great place to store canned and jarred items. Whether you can as a hobby or purchase these items from the grocery store or farmer’s markets, a crawl space is a cool, dark space that will help them to last longer and will keep them from degrading until you need them.
A final way to use this space to your advantage is for rainwater collection. Many people collect rainwater in barrels or other vessels to use for watering lawns and gardens, and this can be much more effective and affordable than adding a lawn irrigation system. However, many homeowners don’t want unsightly barrels in full view outdoors.
You can channel rainwater into storage vessels in your crawl space to keep them out of sight – just make sure they are covered down there to keep crawl space moisture levels at bay.
As you can see, there are many different uses for a crawl space, so don’t let this space sit unused. Whether you use it for storage or some other innovative purpose, you’ll be glad that you took advantage of this space. Go down there and check it out, and let your imagination run wild. If you need help sealing off this space, give a contractor a call for help. No matter what you choose to do, you’ll enjoy the benefits of using a new room that you didn’t even know you had!
If you’re interested in reading more great posts about home improvement, check out the Home Improvement section of our site for more ideas!