How can I safely excavate my crawl space by myself for encapsulation?

I live in a very old house that was "added on to" in the mid 1960's - when the add on was completed the builder did not clear out the crawl space and just left mounds of dirt and some debris. Now I have shifting walls and ceilings due to the extreme moisture content under the house. I need to "dig out" my crawl space so I can get it encapsulated.....I am overwhelmed and at a loss.....can anyone help me?

  3 answers
  • Rob32328534 Rob32328534 on Jun 29, 2018
    Hi Anita, my parents had a house like that and subsequently had to hire a crew to jack up the entire house, shore it up on ties and they used a backhoe to dig it out. Theirs was half dirt and half basement because of add -on sections. Yours doesn't sound as massive, so If you have headroom and ventilation you could probably have it dug out by hand. Once you get rid of the excess soil, you will need to put down thick mil plastic for a vapor barrier. I would call an excavator and get an estimate. In the meantime see if you can get a fan going down there and windows (if you have them) down there open on clear days to get the moisture out. Wear a dust mask because mold spores are probably present.
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 29, 2018
    Hello Anita, Get a Builder or two to give you a price to do the work and at the same time ask him/her what will have to be done and how they would go about doing it, how long it will take and when they could start if you were happy with the price. Compare the prices and the work involved and decide if it is something you think you could tackle or would be wise to have done for you. Otherwise, contact your local College of Building and ask if they would be willing to help you by making your home a Project for their students? Or contact your Insurance Company for Buildings you just might be covered! Good luck......
  • SharylP SharylP on Jun 30, 2018
    Whoa ... before you go crawling around in there and disturbing the "stuff" that's there, you really need to consult with a professional. Given the age of the home, it's quite possible, even likely, that there is asbestos mixed in with the rest of the gunk. You do not -- under any circumstances -- want to be working with asbestos yourself. It is highly toxic, carcinogenic, and dangerous. If your professional consultant (who may take samples) says there's no asbestos, then you can follow the advice Rob323285434 gave you.
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