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Can I Dig Out My Crawl Space into a Full Basement?

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This is a question we get all the time, and we get it. The idea of of digging out a crawl space into a full basement, whether it’s for more storage or for water mitigation, can seem very appetizing. All you have to do is dig down a few more feet, pour a new foundation, and pour a basement floor, and you’re done. But is digging out a crawl space something you can actually do for your home?

The short answer is, yes. It is indeed something you can do, if you really want a basement. However, as foundation, basement, and crawl space experts, we couldn’t recommend against this modification enough. Here’s a few reasons why.

First of all, digging out a crawl space is no small weekend DIY job. These types of jobs tend to take quite a while to get done, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can lead to serious consequences for your foundation and the rest of your home. During the project, your home needs to be temporarily propped up on stilts, which, if not done properly, can lead to a dramatic failure in your foundation wall.

House propped on stilts

Then comes the issues with pouring an extension onto your foundation. To extend your foundation wall for an entire basement, you’ll need to pour an additional 4-6 feet of concrete all around the home. The problem arises in the seam between the old and new foundation walls. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to fully seal the seam between these walls. This seam is a perfect spot for water intrusion, especially if you were having water issues before.

Finally, a full crawl space dig out is not a cheap project. To give you an idea, to dig out a 400 square foot crawl space could cost anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000, all for an additional 400 square feet of storage space. While having a basement could definitely increase your home’s value (depending on the market), there is very little chance you’ll see a return on your investment. In other words, it’s expensive, and it won’t raise the value of your home nearly as much as the project costs.

Feeling concerned about your crawl space? Give Complete Basement Systems a call today to set up an appointment for us to come out and provide a thorough inspection.

In our next segment of Crawl Space FAQ, we’ll talk about some of the dangers of a crawl space left to its own devices. Don’t miss it!

  1. Crawl Space Repair
  2. Crawl Space FAQ: Part One – Why is My Crawl Space Wet?
  3. Crawl Space FAQ: Part Two – Can I Dig Out My Crawl Space into a Full Basement?
  4. Crawl Space FAQ: Part Three – Why Should I Fix My Crawl Space?
  5. Crawl Space FAQ – Part Four: What Options Do I Have to Fix My Crawl Space?