What is a Crawlspace Foundation?

You’ve found your new home or you’ve had your home for a while now. You’re making sure the interior looks nice, the exterior is painted correctly, and your lawn looks as green as Emma Stone’s eyes. 

You then notice cracks around windows and doorframes, windows and doors are difficult to close and open, and your floors are sloping. Your foundation might have some issues.

It’s easy to think of the aesthetics of your home and its presentation. It’s also easy to forget what is holding up your home in the first place.

Are you unsure if you have a crawlspace foundation? If you’re unsure or you want to know what a crawlspace foundation is, this article is for you. 

Our team at Dalinghaus Construction has inspected more than ten-thousand homes with Foundation repair projects across Southern California and Arizona. We’ve navigated through many crawlspaces and finished repairs on them, fighting off all the creepy crawlies so you don’t have to. 

What is a crawlspace foundation?

A crawlspace foundation, also known as a raised foundation, is elevated above the surface of the soil. Implied in the name, it’s a space that can be tight enough for someone to crawl–though that’s not always the case. They are as convenient as horror movies make them out to be, but smaller crawlspaces are still uncomfortable to navigate.

This type of foundation acts as a buffer between the frame of the house above and the ground below.

How does that Crawlspace Foundation stay in place? 

These types of foundations are going to be on raised concrete footings, also known as stem walls. They have parts that go above the ground the house will be attached to and should have a portion that goes a minimum of 12-inches below the soil’s surface. And don’t worry about the house sliding off the footing. The wood and frame of the house will be mounted to the concrete and bolted.

The concrete footing is along the perimeter of the house and loadbearing walls are on the interior of the home. A slab-on-grade foundation will have a concrete slab as the flooring of your home.

There are misconceptions about the footing being made of wood and being buried underground to hold the home in place. You never want to have the wood of the house make contact with the soil. That will damage the wood, whether from exposure to the elements, the soil holding moisture, or the wood being exposed to bugs. 

If you see someone has a house with a wood footing, which should never happen, tell them they should look to have a concrete footing installed to ensure their home is in a stable condition for years to come. 

How high does a crawlspace foundation go?

They come in a variety of sizes. The average crawlspace size can be around 18 inches or three to four feet. Some are five feet, others taller than Yao Ming, and some can be up to 20 feet. You’re less likely to see taller crawlspaces in the double-digits.

You’ll see taller crawlspace foundations, especially on homes located on a slope. So any homes located on hills or mountainous regions. On slopes, those different sides of a single structure will have variations in size. One side of the house can be six feet and the other side be 18 inches. 

If you had a home located on a hill, it would be awkward to have your foundation be six feet above ground all around. You’ll be looking at things from different angles, as well as always losing your marbles. Though it would be easier to shoot a Michael Jackson tribute video with the song “Smooth Criminal.”

Are there areas I’ll find more Crawlspace Foundations? 

It varies, except when it comes to weather and cold temperatures. You’ll never want to have a house with a Slab-in-Grade foundation in mountainous ranges. Anywhere with a frost layer. You’ll see plenty in the Mid-West.

In places where the soil freezes, it will affect a concrete slab. Slab-on-grade foundations will always be on top of the soil–Unless they’re sinking, of course. 

Does Dalinghaus Construction look at crawlspace foundations? 

Of course! If a structure has a foundation – hopefully all structures do – we will look at it. And if you need it repaired, we’ll repair it. And if you need it looked at, our inspectors will crawl into your crawlspace and do an evaluation for you for free

Note: Our inspectors will not crawl around the crawlspace if it is less than 18 inches. We can refer a specialist for you to come in and excavate the soils underneath to allow us to get in there. 

A space less than 18-inches is going to be a very tight fit for our foundation inspectors. Plus if a repair is needed our teams will be unable to move the necessary equipment into the area if the space is less than 18-inches. It’s a matter of being able to do the work. 

Does lifting a crawlspace generally take longer than a slab-on-grade foundation?

Nope. It takes around the same amount of time. Different components may vary in the repair, but the timing is very similar. 

Think of it like this: Do you take the freeway or the side streets to get to your destination? Both options can get you to where you want to go. One is faster and different than the other, but will take you to the same destination. The repairs may be different due to the type of foundation. That said, both lead up to the repair you’re looking for. 

If I wanted to see if something was wrong with my crawlspace foundation, what do I look for?

Thankfully you, the homeowner, can check your crawlspace foundation. There are crawlspace access points either outside or inside of the home. And see what catches your attention. Mainly look at something that doesn’t look right.

  • A post isn’t touching or supporting the girder beam.

  • The wood looks warped from moisture exposure.
  • The wood has holes in it.
  • There are cracks in the footing.

Keep in mind with this type of foundation, the added factor of wood is an extra risk to look for. Look in areas from where the footing goes to where the house is. 

What if I’m not sure if the foundation has issues? 

You’ll want to have it inspected by professionals in the industry. We at Dalinghaus Construction would be more than happy to come out and inspect it for you for free. And if not us, go with any specialist you feel most comfortable with.

What if I don’t want to crawl? I don’t get along with spiders.

That is completely reasonable! Getting into a crawlspace is not the most fun thing in the world. But again, we have zero problems inspecting the space for you. 

Fun fact: Spiders help curtail disease spread by feasting on other types of insects. They might look scary. We can deal with that as well as make sure they protect your home. They’re more important than you think. 

If you have more questions or you don’t want to crawl into spider heaven, feel free to either give Dalinghaus Construction a call at 877-360-9227 or fill out our form for a free evaluation. We’ll be happy to deal with the creepy crawlies to see if your foundation is okay.


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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