I’ll take crawl spaces for 500.00 Alex…. What is a dark damp and costly space under my home?

This seems to be the question most people have when it comes to a crawl spaces. This week a potential client purchased a home after being transferred to Charlotte for work. When I arrived for the sales call, he was waiting with a genuine question: Why not a basement or a slab foundation? I just don’t get it.

Having been in the industry for 13 years I have figured out a few reasons behind the madness. First, let’s start with slab foundations. Slabs are a hot ticket because they are put in place a whole lot quicker than a standard crawl foundation. The quicker the homes are built the cheaper they sell. Sounds like a winning situation for both the consumer and the builder—Right? Most of the time this is correct…Until the home is built on bad fill dirt or a plumbing leak becomes an issue.

Plumbing leaks in a slab homes are much more abrasive in fashion than a crawl foundation. Here is a a prime example: I had a project about 7 years ago where the main drain line running under the slab ruptured. This caused the slab to crack and sink in numerous locations throughout the home. The only course of action was to rip up all floors and demo the concrete. The customer was left with no kitchen, living room, or dining room for over a month. The cabinets had to be removed as well as part of the staircase at the entry of the home.

I’m not saying this will happen in every slab home. I am saying it’s a possible situation. If the home had been on a crawl space the repair would have been less costly. Detection could have been picked up by a HVAC, termite, or crawl space company sooner rather than later. They both have their pros and cons. A crawl space needs attention at least once or twice a year. This will help eliminate any issues that may have reared their ugly head during the seasons of the south.

Now for basements. Well, for starters, they are expensive. It takes a whole lot more digging and materials to create a basement, making it more expensive than a graded crawl space or a slab foundation. I’ve dug in the great sea of red clay and it takes time and money. Most basements in the south are attached to custom built homes that have a hefty price tag– Or a piece of land that already had a hole in it. I’m not a fan of either.

To wrap this up, every foundation has a benefit and a down fall. It depends on what your needs, budget, and uses are. Personally I like a crawl space. I like knowing what’s going on with the bones of my house and being able to visually see it–from plumbing to the flooring system. We deal with any type of foundation at Sherrill Structural Repair, offering repairs and bi-annual inspections of the dreaded crawl space. Don’t forget you need a space to store the yard decorations and shade for the hunting dog. Just saying…

- Joseph Sherrill