Drywalling Over a Crawl-Space...

Old 11-08-10, 09:50 PM
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Drywalling Over a Crawl-Space...

I have a small crawl-space that is accessible from my garage. It's the 'space underneath the stairs' in the house. It's probably 3 feet by 6 feet long or so.

I've built a real nice, solid 'work bench'/shelves thing in the garage that will cover the opening. I've been thinking of all sorts of things I could do to still allow access; but I'm kind of wondering 'why'.

As far as I know, there isn't any reason to go in there - no sump pump or anything like that.

I'm thinking I could just drywall over it and sacrifice the storage space - but it feels 'wrong' to me. Is there something I should know before I do this? Will this be a potential problem if/when I go to sell my house?
Old 11-09-10, 05:04 AM
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1) Under-stair areas in habitable spaces ("''space underneath the stairs' in the house") that are accessible for storage need to to be covered with drywall to reduced fire spread (R311.2.2), so you should do this if you leave the area accessible.

2) The IRC has various crawl space requirements including access (an access crawl hole 18 by 24 shall be provided to the under-floor space -R408.4.) and ventilation (the under-floor space between the bottom of the floor joists and the earth under any building (except such space occupied by a basement) shall have ventilation openings through foundation walls or exterior walls. The minimum net area of ventilation openings shall not be less than 1 square foot for each 150 square feet of crawl space area. One such ventilating opening shall be within 3 feet of each corner of the building - R408.1). It's up to the local AHJ to decide which if any of these would be enforced for such a small area.

3) IMO, it's always a good idea to have access to any such area for inspection and maintenance.

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