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Insulating Crawl Space with No Room From Floor to Ground

Insulating Crawl Space with No Room From Floor to Ground

Old 11-26-18, 11:48 AM
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Insulating Crawl Space with No Room From Floor to Ground

Hello All,

I was hoping someone could help me out with a recommendation or success story they have had with an issue I am experiencing related to my type of specific crawl space and insulating it. I purchased a rowhome that had been rehabbed. The basement is only partial with the entire kitchen being over a dirt floor crawlspace. Only the kitchen is over the crawlspace. The "contractors" who rehabbed the house did not vapor barrier or insulate any of the crawlspace. They did not insulate the pipes that run under it from the sink either. So I am experiencing heat loss, a freezing floor, and potentially frozen pipes once the coldest part of the winter hits.

My issue is that the crawlspace itself offers almost no room to enter and insulate and may not even be considered one. The dirt floor is just below the actual baseboard and it is only a few inches that separate the dirt floor from the kitchen support joists. Compounding this problem is that there are cross joists which run the width of the kitchen. So even though there is an entry point in my basement to the crawlspace there is not enough room to enter and it is almost immediately blocked by joists which are right against the dirt floor. Attached a pic of what it looks like from the basement. Anyone else have a similar type of crawlspace and how did you fix it? Try to go in underneath the sink? Any help is appreciated.

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Old 11-26-18, 02:45 PM
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You have a mess... in more ways then one.

It appears someone installed temporary supports for the floor above. They did a pretty bad job of it. It appears they used untreated lumber and just have it sitting on bricks. That is a bad situation for rot and wood eating insects. But the support is there for a reason. Probably broken or sagging floor joists.

Insulating the floor will be a double edged sword. It will cut down on your heat loss and the kitchen floor will feel a bit warmer. But without the heat being lost through the floor you'll be at greater risk of freezing pipes. In a situation like yours the only real solution is done from above. Remove the appliances and cabinets and pull up the floor. Then you'll have free access to route and insulate pipes. Fix broken or sagging floor joists and get rid of that "temporary" support. Install insulation. Then put down new floor sheeting and put the kitchen back together. Which of course you might as well remodel since you've torn everything out.
Old 12-08-18, 06:36 PM
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Looks like you may have some excavating in your future. 5 gallon buckets and an army shovel. Is there a concrete floor in the remainder of the basement ? As stated earlier that untreated wood will become a problem. Any wood on the ground will become a problem and dinner for termites. If the rest of the basement isn't insulated, I wouldn't be worried about insulating the area under the kitchen. Make sure you don't have open air vents near the pipes and you shouldn't have any freezing problems. It should remain in the 50 degree range during the winter.

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