Building Steps over crawl space vents

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Old 06-21-14, 08:48 AM
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Building Steps over crawl space vents

I'm at the planning stage for a patio, and need to design some steps down from the floor level inside the house to the patio level below. For some reason all the crawl space vents have been located underneath the doors that I need to build steps for.
Can I just close up the crawl space vents (2 out of 4 on that side of the house) and build the steps over them or do I need to do something else. If so what are my options?
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Old 06-21-14, 09:56 AM
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Crawl space vents are required by code. The number of them is determined by the size of the crawl space and they are generally equally spaced around the perimeter. So, technically "no" you simply cannot cover them up. Would it be the end of the world if you did so, it's hard to say but probably not. The vents provide ventilation to limit mold and mildew under the home and to keep it dry to limit the problem with rot and insects so covering the vents is not without risk. Also, when you go to sell the home a inspector might notice that the vents have been covered over or that the crawl space ventilation does not meet the code requirements.

It sounds like you already have doors in the house. Don't they already have steps? Do the current steps block the vents?
 
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Old 06-21-14, 09:58 AM
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Will the steps be open? or will they enclose the vents?
 
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Old 06-21-14, 10:17 AM
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The current steps aren't especially aesthetically pleasing - see attached! Plus we're working from a pretty blank slate - I think the previous owners just stepped straight out of the door down into the dirt!
Could I install a second vent in the steps as I build up the brickwork?
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Old 06-21-14, 10:23 AM
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You could run the vent thru the steps but how would you support the brick above it?
 
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Old 06-21-14, 11:20 AM
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I was thinking of something like an air-brick - they're used all over the place in the UK, but I don't seem to be able to find them in the US.
I'm open to any other suggestions though...
 
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Old 06-21-14, 04:17 PM
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Cement blocks (CMU) are available in a variety of sizes and configurations so I'm sure you can find one that will allow you to ventilate your crawl space. I am curious at how high the vent in your picture is located and how wide it is. How far apart are your floor joists? And, how high is your crawl space?
 
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