Basement vs Crawl Space (Cost, Isolation & Use of Space)

Beneath our house, we will have ample space to store items. Whichever you choose, it will act as a way to insulate us from the ground and outside air. The most common things people build in this space are basements and crawl spaces. Let’s see how they compare with basement vs crawl space.

What does crawl space mean for the basement?


A crawl space does impact a basement in a pretty direct way. You cannot have a basement with a crawl space present. It’d be almost impossible to dig into the ground without compromising the house’s safety.

When a crawl space is installed, most of our cables and installations will run through it. If we do so, the basement will be far harder to establish. Even if we decide to replace the crawl space with it, we will have to figure out where to move the installations. If they are directly moved to the basement, they will affect its functionality and space.

Basement vs Crawl Space

We’ll find plentiful differences between the two constructions we can have below our home. Depending on our budget and capabilities, it’s often best to go for the basement. Below, we will see what’s the potential advantage of this construction.


Among the noticeable differences between the two, size is frequently the factor. While these locations are mainly used to isolate our household from outside elements, storage will come as a follow-up benefit. Additionally, having more storage is always good.

We can’t expect too much space below our house with crawl spaces. On the other hand, it will usually be high enough to crawl through, hence the name, so storing anything larger than that is already difficult.

On the other hand, the basement is high enough to stand in. Sometimes, it can be even higher, which makes it extremely easy to use for storage. High furniture, as well as little packages, can be stored all the same. [1]


The difference in flooring is quite important. When crawl space is in question, we expect to have roughly any proper flooring. The most likely situation is that we will have our crawl space flooring either be the ground or the foundation of our home. Either way, it’s bound to be rather rough and scarcely reinforced.

On the other hand, the basement will be built upon a big concrete slab. However, that’s not all. More often than not, people install decent flooring in their basements. This action stems from the fact that basements are often utilized for far more. Be it an extra room or a form of storage, knowing our floors are safe to leave stuff on can be quite helpful.


Speaking of purpose, it’s another area these two differ in. Again, the similarities end with their use as a way to insulate our home. However, the applicability of these parts of our house to everyday life varies greatly.

The extent to which we can use a crawl space is rather limited. This is because there are few applications that save basic storage that we can put on it. However, those with enough ideas in mind could potentially turn it into something fruitful for them.

The basement has no such limits, especially well equipped one. It can store quite a few items while also acting as a room if need be. Of course, it can pull double duty if big enough. Some people use the basement as small storage that doubles as a room. With enough extra prep, it could be as welcoming as any other room despite its odd position.


The crawl space and basement are somewhat used to take care of isolation. Crawl space is usually isolated enough to keep our home dry and warm. However, the downside is that crawl space can usually be inadequate when dealing with harsher climates. In these cases, we’ll need to get some extra upgrades to the crawl space of our home.

The basement offers far more space to isolate the home. All sorts of weather issues will have a much tougher time going through the basement when it comes to insulating our home. Even floods can be mitigated somewhat with an appropriate setup. [2]


When it comes to price, the basement will cost quite a bit more. For example, a crawl space will merely need a concrete slab that will cost us between 5,000 and 15,000 dollars. On the other hand, a full basement will often cost between 30,000 and 70,000. This price range does make basements the far pricier option. However, considering their versatility, it is worth the price.

Disadvantages of a crawl space


Crawl space may be a useful location for storage or simply a good buffer between outside air and us. However, it does have some considerable disadvantages. These stem from its positioning and often lead to some headaches.

Moss and mildew forming in the crawl space

The area in the crawl space is often the one that’ll experience the most issues with mold and mildew. The amount of mold stems because the crawl space acts as the buffer between the outside air and our household, which means any moisture will quickly accumulate in it. If your crawl space is located below ground or even on the ground floor of the house, this problem will manifest even faster.

Mildew and moss follow each other quickly, especially in conditions like this, where their existence is guaranteed. We will end up with a lot of hassle once these develop, initial issues are merely cosmetic, but soon mold will make its way further into our home. Spreading throughout the crawl space, it will start endangering our health once it seeps through. [3]

Once inside the household, mold will become a health hazard. Inhaling mold for a longer period will lead to respiratory problems. Further along, its impact can become even greater. Of course, that’s not the only thing it impacts.

Our walls will start peeling off, with paint being the first to go. In addition, moisture and mold will affect structural integrity, making the whole house more dangerous.

Water damage being undetectable in the crawl space

One of the most troubling issues our home can experience is water damage. This type of damage is a huge hassle to handle. Simply due to its potential to spread and cause structural damage. The integrity of our household’s structure is important. It keeps the whole building stable and our utilities less susceptible to significant malfunctions.

Water damage can creep into our homes through just about any crack. Be it on the outside or the inside. Pooling water near our walls can result in a similar effect as constant abrasion from it will eventually deteriorate the walls.

Of course, water damage’s most troublesome characteristic is that it doesn’t really stop spreading. Once the water has gotten through the wall, it will slowly start covering it completely from the inside.

Often breaking through other floors and resulting in a problem far greater than we could initially anticipate. This water damage will cause extra issues like moss and discoloration of walls, but the more it grows, the harsher the consequences will be.

The disadvantage of crawl spaces is that a lot of this water damage can be rendered mostly invisible until it’s too late. Water can spread through the outer end of the crawl space rather than going right through it.

Once it pokes its way into the home, the problem could be considerably greater than it would initially seem. Thankfully, consistent inspections can reduce this problem somewhat.

Haven for pests

Among the most frequent problems our home faces, pests end up being the most disgusting to take care of. A lot of them are carriers of diseases or simply incredibly horrible to deal with as they get into our rooms and chew through everything. These pests will damage food, pillows, and some even chew through walls.

Pests are given an isolated and safe place to multiply in crawl spaces. Often, a nest can form before we’ve even started to notice the adverse effects of its presence. However, once they become visible, it can be quite shocking to find out how many of them are already in our homes.

Cockroaches and rats are especially troublesome because they easily make their way throughout the house without us noticing. That’s why it’s good to be wary of their appearance. If you find one, make sure to inspect your crawl space soon after. It could only be a warning for the things to come. [4]

What does crawl space mean for basement?


Of course, the crawl space itself can affect the basement itself. While the basement is understood to be a firmly reinforced underground area of our home, the introduction of a crawl space can hamper its usual appearance and behavior.

Can I turn my crawl space into a basement?

A crawl space is much easier to make than a whole basement. This crawl space is made to separate our interior from the wet ground. Keeping it somewhat insulated from the potential moisture and wetness of the outside.

However, if we end up being capable of adding a basement to our home, we should do so. Can a crawl space be converted into a basement? Let’s find out.

Basement vs crawl space

In some cases, the crawl space can be considered a very rough prototype of a basement. Just like the basement, it can be used to store items in it, and both of these installations separate our house from the natural elements that could harm the rest of the household.

However, turning a crawl space into a full-fledged basement requires much more effort. It can be done, though, but it is a considerable task to handle.

To turn a crawl space into a basement, you must dig up the entire foundation. That will be followed by raising your house and new concrete being poured. Next, we will form a wall with this concrete and a concrete slab acting as the basement floor. But even that isn’t all.

Before your basement is finished, you’ll need to do a few more things. First in line will be the waterproofing of the basement. After that, the exterior needs to be backfilled and framed in order to get a proper shape of a basement. At this point, the basement is finished. All that’s left is to add extra interior details as you see fit.

Can you store stuff in a crawl space?

A crawl space is an empty space. Therefore it is possible to store items inside it. We can insert different types of things in our crawl space depending on the space present. However, there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t, even if you could.

However, we are not powerless to stop these issues. The solutions are available to just about any person, it takes a bit of time.

How to make crawl space safer for storage?

Speaking of solutions existing doesn’t mean they are apparent. We will go over some of the most obvious ones, helping you maintain the quality and safety of your items.

Moisture control

As with every other concern about our crawl space, moisture control is important. It prevents both damage and mold from forming. In addition, causing the entire crawl space to be far safer for use. Appropriate dehumidifiers coupled with a vent preventing moisture build-up is the way to go. [5]

Insulation is key

If your crawl space isn’t insulated, or if insulation is wearing off, it’ll act as poor storage. The most important part of storage is kept at a consistent enough temperature. Having shifts in temperature can damage containers and their components rather quickly.

Store the items properly

The most important thing to do, no matter the amount of effort invested into all the other steps, is to store the items appropriately. As you can imagine, it’s easy for all the troubling factors to return. On top of that, it’s impossible to guarantee perfect conditions in a place such as a crawl space.

For that reason, always make sure to store items properly. Plastic or glass containers are the best way to go and for bigger items, consider getting appropriate ways of securing them.


The comparison between the basement and crawl space is rather apparent. While the basement has many applications, and its large space provides ample versatility, the crawl space doesn’t.

It’s important to take up ample care of either, though. Neglecting them at any point can lead to issues that could last for a decently long time.

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