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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1

    Default need crawl space access

    We have a 1950s house with an addition built on cement block over a crawl space. We've had the house two years. The room is carpeted, and we cannot find any access to the crawl space. We've looked in the closet, room corners, and all around the outside. We need to access the space to repair the H/AC ducts, and to insulate the space. The floor joists are on 16 inch centers.

    How can we create an access so we can do the work? Can we cut a floor joist? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: need crawl space access

    Try to find an unobtrusive corner of the carpeted floor where you can cut say a 5' X 3' hole.

    Try to score the carpeting beforehand so that a trap door can be constructed with the saved piece of carpeting/flooring.

    If you have to cut a joist, it has to be reinforced with a cross- member.

    Thus when the trap door is open, you shoud see 4 facing pieces of lumber, boxing in the hole.

    The only alternative is to go thru the masonry block outside; this can be done with a rented chipping/demolition hammer (Home Depot); but then you would have to fashion a small door that won't look out of
    place.

    Some specialty lumber yards carry such items; it's worth a call.
    Last edited by JacktheShack; 09-03-2007 at 09:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: need crawl space access

    You'll need more than just a "crossmember"
    You'll need to fashion a header, with joist hangers for the cut joists, additional joists to double up the joist on at least one end if the opposite one bears on the foundation and your trap door.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Re: need crawl space access

    If the opening in the floor is within 3' of bearing & less the 4' wide both the header & joist can be single members per the international residential code. By my interpretation, you could probably put a 32" opening in the corner of a room where the joists bear without adding extra floor joists.

    Getting extra floor joists in the crawl space shouldn't be that hard if there are crawl space vents you can remove. I would look for an unobtrusive place to put the hatch, but be willing to change locations depending on what the floor structure is doing.

    Cutting a hole in the flooring, but not through a joist would be my first step. Then I would crawl between the joists to scope out the situation, the whole time ready to do battle with spiders & cobwebs.

    Cutting a hole in the block & putting in a access panel might be easier.

    Pretty unusual in my experience not to have a access to a crawl space.

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