Crawl Space vs Basement: What Are the Differences?

Nearly 70% of new homes built in New England have a basement. However, this high percentage is not present across the country. In some states, crawl spaces are more common.

If you aren’t sure of what your home has, this crawl space vs. basement comparison can help you.

What Is a Crawl Space?

If the space under your house’s floor has a low clearance that requires you to crawl to enter, then you have a crawl space. This area under the home is not heated or cooled. You will often find this space used to place the home’s utilities, including ducts, wiring, and pipes.

Its primary purpose is to elevate the home off the ground to prevent moisture issues. There should be a non-mechanical method of circulating air throughout the crawl space. This prevents the buildup of moisture that could cause mold, mildew, or breakdown in structural integrity.

You can click for crawl space foundation information and a helpful crawl space guide on making repairs.

What Is a Basement?

A basement is a much larger space under the house and is underground. It’s large enough to be a livable space that can be heated and cooled with the rest of the home. A basement is also where you will see the home’s utilities, including ducts, pipes, wiring, and a water heater.

Often, you will also find the laundry room hookups in the basement. While many homes get built with an unfinished basement, and then homeowners will finish the space later to increase home value with more livable square footage. Typically, because a basement is underground and larger, it is more expensive to build.

Can a Crawl Space Be Turned Into a Basement?

Yes, you may be able to turn a crawl space into a basement. However, the project is an expensive one. It also depends on where you live because basements are impossible in some areas of the country.

To convert a crawl space, the entire house gets jacked up with steel beams. Next, the crawl space gets dug out until it is the proper depth for the basement. The concrete then gets poured to create a solid floor and walls.

The final step is to place the house back down on top and build an access point from within the house to the basement.

Does a Home Need Both?

While there are some instances where a home has both, typically, a home has one or the other. Some homes do not have a crawl space or a basement.

Where you live, house design and year built will influence what your home has. Older homes are more likely to have a basement because it serves as a food storage location. Southern homes in Florida are more likely to have a crawl space and are unable to have a basement because of the water table underground.

Crawl Space vs. Basement: Which Do You Have?

Now that you understand the difference between a crawl space and a basement, it’s time to figure out which one your house has. Look at your home and do a crawl space vs. basement assessment.

Check out other lifestyle and home articles for more helpful guidance on creating your dream life.


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