Crawl spaces in the 1970s and 1980s were often installed with just a dirt or gravel floor.
My House Was Built With Just A Gravel Crawl Space Floor
The crawl space under my home was installed with just a gravel floor, and that has dismayed me for years. Over the years we’ve added plastic for the convenience of any workers needing to access—fortunately that has been very infrequently.
During the planning of some home renovations we decided to replace our hot water boiler with a forced air furnace. We currently have a hot water system and that does not have the duct work needed for a forced air system. Why install a new system? That’s really another story, but a hot water system has registers that bump up above the floor and against the wall. Mine were 30+ years old and would need replacing, and I really wanted to get rid of that look.
Going on, we knew that it would be far more pleasant for the HVAC guys to work on a cement slab while installing the duct work for the furnace and plumbing for some main level bathroom remodeling. So I began my research.
I Can Install a Cement Slab in My Crawl Space Without Lifting the House!
I always believed that to install cement in the crawl space would mean having to lift the house, so abandoned the idea due to the cost. Well, was I wrong! I learned that the cement could be pumped into the crawl space.
We began the planning late in 2018 and the contractor could not fit us into his schedule before the concrete plants closed for the winter, so we would be on hold until spring 2019. About the end of March 2019 the contractor said the plant had opened and he could fit us in.
Ahead of that we had an electrician come in to add some lighting in the crawl space (previously we had to use a flashlight). Hard to figure why lights would not be originally installed in a crawl space. There was some other small carpentry that had to be done such as framing around the electrical entrance, but the job took less than a half day.
Cementing. Ready, set…
The day of cementing arrived. The concrete contractor arrived with his crew of three people around 6:30 a.m. The crew spent the next hour setting up the concrete pumper (the machine that would pump the concrete over to the crawl space) and doing some prep work in the crawl space. All of the cement prep work occurred on the driveway so there was no damage to the lawn (the door for the crawl space was about 40 feet away.
When the concrete truck from the concrete plant arrived it pulled up next to the concrete mixer and prepared to pour the concrete into the mixer. Ahead of that the crew mixed small amounts of water and concrete power in pails with something that looked like a huge household hand mixer. This concrete mixture would be poured into the mixer first, ahead of the concrete out of the truck, as a primer to get the concrete mixer moving.
By 7:45 a.m. the concrete truck started to unload the concrete down a chute and into the concrete mixer. By this time the crew were outfitted in gray water resistant protective suits and some headed into the crawl space with levelers. A long hose, about six inches in diameter, ran from the concrete mixer to the crawl space entry, and with that the truck continued to unload and the concrete was hosed into the crawl space where the crew worked to level it.
By about 9:00 a.m. the concrete truck was empty. The crew continued to level, and a few others (the crew had grown by a couple people by now) awaited the arrival of the second truck. When that second truck arrived, by about 9:30 a.m.) the process began again. Water and concrete powder were mixed in buckets and poured in the concrete mixer, and soon the truck began to unload. Concrete continued to be pumped into the crawl space via the hose and the crew in the crawl space continued to level.
By about 11:00 the second truck had unloaded, and by around 11:30 a.m. the crew started to emerge from the crawl space. There suits were full of wet concrete as well as their tools. They hooked up a hose and began the process of washing concrete from their plastic suits and tools.
By about 12:30 p.m. the crew was packed up and gone. All that needed to occur now was for the concrete to dry and cure. We didn’t look into the crawl space for three days, but when we did it appeared the concrete was dry and could support weight.
Something to Admire
The new concrete floor in the crawl space isn’t something I can admire every day or show off to guests, but there is something about that clean, level, floor that brings me great satisfaction!
If you have a home with a dirt or gravel crawl space, look into pouring a slab. The process was easy and the cost not that great. If you have questions, give me a call at 920-493-5472.