Inadequate crawlspace

Old 03-11-15, 11:18 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Inadequate crawlspace

I have a very tight crawlspace that needs to be lowered to at least 24". It's very hard clay so a tool to break it up would be a great idea. Anyway, I've been researching and it seems to be common practice to excavate an external opening and dig out from there. However, I was wondering if I could pull up the floors (which need to be replaced due to mold issues anyway) and access the area from above. One problem I see is getting around the floor joists to dig. Would I be able to move them out of the way (remove/replace them) as we go or is that a bad idea? Are there other concerns I need to consider? Its not a very large area and it has deep footings so I don't think 2 feet down will destabalize them.
Old 03-11-15, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Hi robert and welcome to the forum.
Some more active contractors will be along, but I have had to deal with clay, and unless that is just dirt with some clay you are in for a tough job. I have dug through heavy clay with my backhoe and you wouldn't touch that with a pick and shovel. In your tight quarters you are looking at a small jack hammer at the least.

Digging in tight quarters is not fun and I would recommend getting a couple of estimates from contractors who have some young muscles who can fit down there. If floor joist removal is necessary they will tell you. But if not, you save that aggravation along with removing the clay.

Old 03-11-15, 01:09 PM
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If you have much to do ripping up the floor is the easiest in the long run especially since it sounds like you need to replace the floor anyhow. Many people balk at pulling up the floor thinking it's a big job but when you start moving dirt you'r quickly dealing with tons (literally) of material so getting good access can really speed things up.

The floor joists can be left in place or removed. Obviously you can dig more easily without them in the way. If the joists are easily removed I'd pull them out. You can either re-install them when your done or put in new ones. You just have to look and see if there are any walls on top of them that would prevent their removal.

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