What to do about inaccessible crawl space

Old 08-16-16, 05:27 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 447
Received 32 Upvotes on 23 Posts
What to do about inaccessible crawl space

My house has an inaccessible crawl space (the kind on the bottom of the house, not in the attic). And I guess if it's inaccessible, is it really a crawl space? Anyway... The house is old, and has a fieldstone foundation, with several additions. I don't know exactly how the additions went on, but in the end, the house is square, and 3/4 of it has a basement, and 1/4 does not.

That quarter without a basement has new HVAC run to it, and had old ductwork removed as evidenced by the plywood patch in the old floor. So obviously, access was made at some point. Currently, though, there's only a slight gap around where the ductwork penetrates through the old stone wall. It looks like they may have taken out some stones to crawl in, then replaced them and sealed up with mortar when they were done.

I know that the "floor" of the crawlspace is dirt, since I removed one of the old plywood floor patches to peek in, but nobody is fitting through that patch opening. I'm concerned that the crawlspace is essentially 100% sealed up, and that there may be moisture, critter, toxic waste dump, or other manner of unholiness happening that I can't see and won't know about until it's too late. I got more concerned when I noticed the floor getting a little squeaky and bouncy in one spot, but I can't tell why.

So, am I right to be concerned, or should I just let it be? I would imagine a scuttle could be added from the basement to the crawl space, but I would also imagine that would require perhaps an engineer to figure out the best way to remove the stone and build said scuttle.
Old 08-16-16, 06:46 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 62,078
Received 3,422 Upvotes on 3,068 Posts
A picture or two of the basement/wall area would be helpful. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html

I don't think you'll need an engineer but you'll need a good mason.
The condition of the wall needs to be assessed before any work can be done.
Old 08-16-16, 07:54 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Is there a closet over the crawl space? If so you could put in a trap door or simpler just a removable panel.

Last edited by ray2047; 08-16-16 at 10:03 PM.
Old 08-16-16, 08:32 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 447
Received 32 Upvotes on 23 Posts
Nope, no closet. The dining room is over the crawl space, and I doubt the wife would go for a trap door in the floor there. We had thought about trying to use the old HVAC patch as a trap door/scuttle, but the problem is the foundation is so thick that once you lift the patch out, you're still over the foundation wall. You could probably squeeze a greased toddler in, but not an adult.

So, the original basement walls have been reinforced with concrete block. The only area that's really accessible, because of the double-wall, is this odd opening. Again, like somebody had an access opening there, and sealed it up.

Name:  IMG_2805.jpg
Views: 2928
Size:  37.1 KB

Name:  IMG_2807.jpg
Views: 3037
Size:  40.8 KB

Looking up in there, you can see that framing definitely bears on the stone.

And FWIW, the galvanized pipe in there is old and disconnected, as is the copper on the left. The pipe on the right is in use. Oh, and the main sewer line runs in front of the opening about a foot and a half away. Not impossible access, but not great.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: