LESLIE: Andrew in Oregon is looking to reclaim some space by turning a crawl space into a wine cellar. Let’s help him out on this journey.
ANDREW: Yeah, got a question. The crawl space I have underneath one of my rooms is fairly large and basically a room-size area …
ANDREW: … and there’s currently a deck under there.
ANDREW: So I was thinking – and it was used to, I guess, keep things off the ground if you used it for storage.
ANDREW: So I thought if I basically put walls on that and above it basically put like a trap door and had stairs go down into that area, basically tile it up and make it into a wine cellar.
TOM: Well, how damp is it down there? And the reason I ask, because I have a friend that was a wine collector and he used to keep all of his wine in the crawl space and while the temperature was perfect for the wine, it wasn’t so nice for the labels which promptly became completed infested with mold.
ANDREW: Oh, wow.
TOM: So if your crawl space is not really dry, that dampness down there can turn those labels into really moldy pieces of paper and it’s not pleasant.
ANDREW: Oh, I see. Never thought of that.
ANDREW: Well …
LESLIE: You can always invest in a China marker.
ANDREW: (chuckles) What if I use it just for – like basically it’s an area I want to take advantage of.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Well, if you were to seal the ...
ANDREW: (overlapping voices) Would you actually have to have a permit?
TOM: If you were to seal the crawl space and take some supply air – because there are different techniques for drying a crawl space. Today, when you build a really efficient house with a crawl space, you completely seal the crawl space. The whole thing is sealed and then some supply air from the heating system is actually diverted down there to make sure it always has some dry air. If you were to do that, it’d be OK. …
ANDREW: Well, actually …
TOM: But if you have a standard, very damp crawl space, then it’s not; it’ll be too damp and wet. Water, moisture and air and those paper labels on the wine bottles are going to grow mold.
LESLIE: And fabric and storage boxes and paper and photos. I mean everything.
ANDREW: Well, would you need to get a special permit; even if you’re just putting up, basically, four walls under there?
TOM: Probably not.
TOM: Nah, probably not.
TOM: It’s not structural. You’re basically just putting up some structure to hold some shelves to keep the wine off the floor.
ANDREW: Right, right. Now …
TOM: But keep that moisture in mind, Andrew, because that is going to really come out to bite you.
ANDREW: OK. Yeah, I never thought of that. That’s a very good point.
TOM: Andrew, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.