Should You Dig Out That Crawl Space?
LESLIE: Okely-dokey. Cindy from Ohio listens to The Money Pit on WTOD. What can we do for you?
CINDY: Hi. We have a house with two-thirds basement and one-third crawl space. And we wondered if it was feasible to get the other third dug out to have a full basement and who you would call to do that and …?
LESLIE: Someone with a strong back …
LESLIE: … and a lot of time.
TOM: And you’ve got to really, really, really want that floor space because I think it’s going to be pretty expensive. What you’re talking about building is what we used to call a Yankee basement or a Yankee cellar here in the northeast part of the country and …
LESLIE: A root cellar.
TOM: Yeah, a root cellar. Basically …
CINDY: A Michigan basement, we call them.
TOM: (laughter) Michigan basement. It’s only because you’re from Ohio. What happens is, yeah, you need to leave some soil, basically, under the crawl space wall so the basement is not going to be the same width as the crawl space is right now. You’d be stepping in a couple of feet and building a retaining wall at that point all the way around and then lowering what’s left to sort of the basement level.
So, it’s a lot of work, Cindy. You really, really, really, got to need that space to go through this amount of labor because it is a big, big job. And you know, if you do do it yourself or with maybe just a limited amount of contractors, maybe it’ll be cost effective but I bet it’s going to be pretty expensive to hire a pro to do this. So those are the things you have to think about; how badly you really want this space and whether or not it could be less expensive to simply build up or build out as compared to digging out what you have.
Cindy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.