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Pros of a dirt crawl space include the facts that they are normally cheaper than full basements, they allow room for working beneath the building, and they can be converted into a basement later, although it can be difficult. Cons include limited space for making repairs when compared to a basement, increased energy costs, and the fact that sometimes mold and mildew can occur due to accumulated rain water.
One of the main benefits of a dirt crawl space is that they are relatively inexpensive. They are comparable in price to slab foundations while allowing greater freedom in building additions onto the building, and they also tend to have fewer issues in general when done correctly. A crawl space is also much less expensive than pouring a full basement or concrete crawl space because fewer materials are needed.
Having a dirt crawl space also makes things easier if one decides to create a full basement later, because there is no concrete to dig up in the process. This doesn’t mean that it is easy. It is still an extensive process which requires a lot of time and money, but it is at least possible whereas with a slab it would be much more difficult if not impossible to do.
There are drawbacks to having a dirt crawl space, however. These spaces are smaller and allow less space than basements, making it more difficult to work underneath the house in the event that a pipe or something else needs to be repaired or replaced. A dirt crawl space is almost more prone to mold and mildew because they are generally not fully closed in and can be flooded during rainfall. This can lead to foul smells and compromised air quality if it becomes excessive.
It also costs more in energy to heat and cool a home built over a dirt crawl space. This is because of the excess moisture in the air as a result of the damp space beneath the home, as moist air is harder to cool down and heat. Sometimes it helps to insulate the area, but most are kept open in certain areas to allow proper ventilation for improved air quality. The different in costs may depend on several factors, such as how efficiently the rest of it is built. Homes with newer insulation throughout, energy saving windows and doors, and a newer heating and air system will lose less energy than older homes or homes without these factors.