Most homes have crawl spaces underneath that provide easy access to plumping and electrical wiring. However, crawl spaces can get moldy, muddy, and smelly without protective measures.
Lucky for you, you can upgrade your crawl space to keep the area nice and clean. As a homeowner, you might’ve wondered: what should I put on my crawl space floor?
In this article, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about what materials you can use for your crawl space.
What Materials Should You Use for Your Crawl Space Floor?
Crawl spaces are common in many modern homes because of the benefits they provide to homeowners, such as additional storage space.
Unfortunately, crawl spaces are also associated with home issues like fungus, mildew, insects, and animal infestations. This is mostly the case, especially if your crawl space has a dirt floor.
Luckily, you can opt for these materials to prevent the issues:
Option 1: Crushed Stone or Gravel
Adding gravel or crushed stone to your dirt floor is an affordable way to cover the exposed dirt floor of your crawl space. However, keep in mind that gravel can only mask moisture rather than eliminate it.
If you want to prevent moisture, you’ll have to combine gravel with other materials, like a vapor barrier.
The vapor barrier will minimize the moisture seeping into the crawl space. Plus, the barrier can also keep radon gas from melding into your home’s breathing air.
Moreover, you can install a heavy mil plastic as a vapor barrier. For best results, we’d recommend a six-mil polyurethane vapor barrier.
Option 2: Sand
Other than gravel or crushed stone, you can add sand to your crawl space floor to reduce the humidity levels.
Use a shovel to scoop the sand and pile it every six feet on the crawl space floor. Make sure that the piles are ½ to one foot high.
Spread the sand all over the crawl space flooring. You can add more sand if the coating isn’t level yet.
Lastly, make sure that the sand coating is about two inches thick.
What to Do With Dirt on Floor in Crawl Space
Most crawl spaces come with dirt floors. Unfortunately, they allow moisture to enter the crawl space.
Eventually, the humidity will encourage mold growth and pose a risk to your home. In fact, you can even have mold spores through the vents if you leave them untreated.
Hence, it’s best to take action before the crawl space can cause further damage. Here’s what you can do with a dirt floor in the crawl space:
Step One: Check Your Crawl Space
Clear all obstructions, like debris and sharp rocks. Make sure that your crawl space doesn’t have stagnant water or puddles of water.
You don’t want to risk electrocution once you get started. Next, check the wiring and plumbing.
If you see loose wiring or broken pipes, call in your electrician or plumber. Additionally, you need to reach out for professional help if you spot some wood rot or termite damage.
This way, you can have the peace of mind that your crawl space is safe.
Step Two: Install a Sump Pump
Prevent soil moisture in your crawl space by installing a sump pump in the lowest part of the crawl space floor.
In addition, we’d recommend having a perimeter drainage system to lead away excess water. This way, you can prevent flooding and control the moisture level inside your crawl space.
Step Three: Add a Vapor Barrier
A vapor barrier is an important component when it comes to keeping the soil moisture out of your crawl space. In fact, it can also seal out air, dust, dirt, pests, and radon gas.
On top of that, the vapor barrier gives you more control over the micro-climate inside your crawl space.
If you’re installing a heavy-mil polyurethane plastic, make sure that you seal it at the seams with heavy-duty duct tape. However, if you have concrete foundation walls, you need to use 1×3 strapping to seal the barrier. Then, to secure it in place, masonry screws are the best option.
After that, you can apply 3 inches of gravel or crushed stones to protect the plastic vapor barrier from tearing.
Step Four: Consider Using a Dehumidifier
Although a dehumidifier isn’t always a necessary appliance for your crawl space, it can be helpful if the woods are damp and moldy. In this case, you’ll need to run the dehumidifier to dry out the space.
However, you can stop using the appliance once the crawl space has already dried out to under 60% RH. This will keep your crawl space from being vulnerable to molds.
Can a Crawl Space Have a Concrete Floor?
Concrete is one of the best choices you can have when it comes to flooring in crawl spaces. Unlike gravel and crushed stones, the concrete floor won’t be hard on your knees when you’re getting some work done in your crawl space.
In addition, we suggest that you provide at least three feet of clearance before adding a concrete floor.
Some homeowners can directly put a concrete pad over the dirt floor. However, this isn’t always the case.
Depending on the levels of humidity in your area, the concrete floor may not be enough to fend off moisture in your crawl space. You’ll need to install a vapor barrier first before adding a concrete floor.
After adding the vapor barrier, you can pour the concrete slab onto the crawl space floor. Keep in mind that the concrete slab should be four inches thick.
Optionally, you can install a floor drain to prevent water buildup during rainy seasons. You can also install furnaces and water heaters because they can provide a flow of warm air through the crawl space and prevent mold.
So, what should you put on your crawl space floor? Typically, you can add crushed stone, gravel, or sand to your crawl space. However, make sure that you install a vapor barrier first.
Alternatively, you can pour concrete onto the floor of your crawl space. This is the best choice if you live in areas with high levels of humidity.
Moreover, if your crawl space has a dirt floor, you can install a sump pump and perimeter drainage system. After that, you’re going to add a six mil plastic vapor barrier and gravel or crushed stones.
By doing so, you can prevent wood rot, mold growth, and animal infestation.
You can also use a dehumidifier to dry out your crawl space.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.