Barndominiums are traditionally constructed with a solid steel structure, and they are built atop a strong foundation of cement slabs, making them incredibly stable and tough. So traditionally speaking, barndominiums do not have a crawl space or a basement, as it is not something that is included in their design or in their construction.
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 as such, it will just require some modifications and extra work!
Basically, instead of building the barndominium over a foundation of cement, you would build it over a crawl space or basement foundation, adding in that extra space underneath before installing the steel structure and the rest of the building.
But, can a barndominium have a crawl space in the same way a normal house would? The answer to this is also yes. Although barndominiums are designed and built differently, they can share many of the same architectural choices, and this includes a crawl space or a basement.
In fact, 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.
Should your barndominium have a crawl space?
We’ve established that barndominiums can indeed have a crawl space or basement, although it isn’t a traditional choice in the design. But an equally important question is whether you should have a crawl space or not? What is the purpose? And are there any benefits? Let’s dive right in!
A crawl space is similar to a basement, but it’s a lot smaller and you usually can only crawl within it, as there’s no room to stand or even sit most of the time. Hence the name, a crawl space!
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.
But is this really necessary?
Let’s look at some pros and cons:
Pros to having a crawl space:
- 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.
Cons to having a crawl space:
- 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 homes 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.
However, 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.