Can A Barndominium Have A Crawl Space? A Complete Guide

Barndominiums are typically built on a concrete slab. The frame is secured to the foundation to give your barndominium a nice stable base. So traditionally speaking, barndominiums do not have a crawl space or a basement due to the design or the foundation of the home. While we hear a lot about concrete slab foundation, it is not the only option. Can a barndominium have a crawl space? is a question we hear often and the answer is YES, a barndominium can have a crawl space.

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However, just because it’s not a traditional choice, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, barndominiums can indeed have a crawl space or basement if you choose to have it as such, it will just require some modifications and extra work!

What is a crawl space?

A crawl space is a small area between the ground and the bottom floor of your home. This can be below ground so that their home can still sit at ground level. Another option is building the crawl space at ground level and raising the bottom floor of the home higher.

A crawl space is a pretty easy thing to incorporate, you just have to excavate down into the earth under the house, and then make sure you’re propping the house up with strong and stable beams and structures. 

A barndominium can have a perfectly normal crawl space, and all of the different types of the basement, as desired.

How Big is a Crawl Space in a Barndominium?

A standard crawl space is about two to three feet tall. It is just big enough to allow you to crawl around inside. Crawl spaces are mainly used for ductwork, electrical wiring, and plumbing. They may also include a vapor barrier or added insulation to help protect your barndominium from moisture.

Should your barndominium have a crawl space?

When you are building your barndominium you may be wondering if you should include a crawl space in the plans. It is not very common to include crawl spaces, but this does not mean you should omit them when building.

The main purpose of crawl spaces is to have a small buffer between the house and the earth below, so that water vapor and dampness don’t actually reach the inhabitants or the home itself, instead, they are being sucked in by the crawl space. So in a way, it acts as a barrier of protection from the element conditions that come from below. 

Advantages of crawl spaces in barndominums

There are many advantages to including a crawl space in your barndominium, but it might not be the best option for you and your build. Before choosing to include one or exclude one let’s look at the advantages of including crawl spaces in your barndominium.

  • A crawl space is a great foundation for locations where the land is uneven, as you can adjust the crawl space to create a level platform for the barndominium. 
  • A crawl space can avoid dampness and humidity problems from below the barndominium, and it also allows for ventilation beneath the house, meaning it can help keep the barndominium cooler during the hot season. 
  • The crawl space doesn’t have to be a waste of extra space, it can be used for the plumbing or electrical wiring of the barndominium! 
  • The crawl space can also be used as extra storage space (as long as you protect whatever you place inside it from the possible dampness). 
  • The raised foundation that a crawl space provides can be a good defense in the case of flooding. 
  • Provides easy access.
  • Provides more insulation to the home.

Disadvantages of crawl spaces in barndominiums

  • The ventilation provided during summer can backfire during the colder season, as it will be harder to warm up the barndominium. 
  • A crawl space can potentially be an ideal place for pests and infestations of different kinds to develop, which are then a hassle to clear up. 
  • Crawl spaces are prone to becoming damp, due to the moisture they are constantly absorbing. If the ventilation doesn’t suitably dry the crawl space, the prolonged dampness can damage the integral structure of the barndominium, making it weaker. 
  • Adding a crawl space to a barndominium takes extra time, effort, and money. The cost isn’t always worth it, so think hard before you choose to include it.

Are barndominiums with crawl spaces bad?

Not many houses actually have a crawl space, in fact, only around 15% of homes have a crawl space. But if they do, does that make them bad homes? 

The answer completely depends on the state and quality of the crawl space itself, and how it is potentially affecting the home. Crawl spaces, like most things, have their advantages and their disadvantages, and they can provide many benefits if used right. 

Crawl spaces can also become a hassle pretty quickly, negatively affecting the quality of your home.

For example, crawl spaces will help keep the house cool during the summer seasons, which is a great benefit.

But during the winter months, the crawl space will be a constant source of cold, and it will be a lot more expensive to keep the house warm, as the energy used will be completely inefficient, and most of it will be wasted on trying to fight the crawl space problem. This means that, as a general rule, crawl spaces end up increasing the energy bills, and they take a lot more money to keep the house in a comfortable state. However, if the crawl space is suitably isolated and well-maintained, it should no longer have such a big temperature impact on the house, removing the problem altogether! 

Another example is the state of the crawl space in regards to cleanliness. A crawl space is prone to collecting dirt and dampness, and can even become a breeding ground for all types of pests and infestations, which is less than ideal and will compromise the safety and hygiene of the house as a whole. 

The problem is, that with how small crawl spaces are it is incredibly hard to actually clean them out regularly, so maintenance is quite a hassle. And yet maintenance is required in order to ensure that it does not negatively impact your home! 

So, essentially, a crawl space isn’t inherently bad, but it can lead to a vast amount of problems that compromise the comfort and quality of the home above it if you are not careful and maintain it. 

Slab Foundation vs. Crawl Spaces when building a barndominium

Slab foundations are the most common foundation when building a barndo where crawl spaces are less common, so which should you choose?

Crawl spaces have several advantages one of the biggest ones is easy access to the plumbing and electrical under the home. If there is an issue there is no need to dig up the foundation to fix the problem you can just crawl under the home to get to the problem.

You will find that crawl spaces are best on sloped lots. This is because building a nice flat slab of concrete proves to be more difficult and more work on sloped pieces of property.

Summarizing: Can a barndominium have a crawl space?

While you will have an increased cost when building your barndominium, you can build a barndominium with a crawl space. There are many advantages and some disadvantages if you chose to build one. The most important thing to remember if you choose to build one is to hire a professional that specializes in building barndominiums. Crawl spaces may be a better fit if you choose to build on a sloped property.

If you are ready to start building the barndo of your dreams, check out our barndominium floor plans to help you create the barndominium of your dreams or use a barndominium design software program to help you plan out your space for your new home. When in the planning stages, be sure you also check out the barndominium financing and insurance options that are available. For more helpful tips, visit our FAQ barndominium section to get answers to all your barndo questions.