How Do You Access Your Home's Crawl Space in Pittsburgh?

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Published on January 17, 2024

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So, you need to access the crawl space under your Pittsburgh home? I feel you. Crawl spaces are like basements- dark, dusty, spider-webby places that most homeowners avoid at all costs. But every so often, you just have to gear up, grab a flashlight, and battle the cobwebs to get something done down there.

How exactly do you access your crawl space in Pittsburgh? Most Pittsburgh homes have crawl space access either through a floor hatch inside the basement near the foundation wall or an exterior vent cover located around the outside perimeter of the house near ground level. To enter, you open the hatch or vent cover and descend into the crawl space, typically head first on your hands and knees.

Or if you're me, your kid threw their favorite bouncy ball into the crawl space through the vent, and you have to go on a rescue mission. Hey, it happens!

Find the Entrance to Your Pittsburg Crawl Space

First things first- locate your crawl space entrance. In most Pittsburgh homes, it's either an indoor access through a floor hatch or an outdoor access. If you don't already know where yours is, here are some tips for tracking it down:

Check inside your basement near the foundation wall. A lot of times, there will be a small door that leads into the crawl space. Make sure to move boxes and storage items away from the walls- the entrance is often hidden behind stuff.

If that fails, go outside and look for vent covers in the brickwork foundation. The vent is usually close to the actual entrance. You may have to do a lap around your yard, getting up close and personal with your home's undercarriage. Make sure to wave hello to your neighbors while you're down there!

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Gear Up for Battle

Okay, you found the entrance to the beast. Now it's time to get equipped with your crawl space exploration gear:

  • Sturdy flashlight: It will be darker than the far side of the moon down there.
  • Headlamp: Hands-free light will make your spelunking much easier.
  • Dust mask: Don't forget to protect your lungs from all the dirt, mold, and who knows what other nasties.
  • Coveralls: Wear some you don't care much about. No need to ruin a good outfit.
  • Knee pads: Spare your kneecaps from painful debris and rocks.
  • Gloves: Guard your hands from dirt, insects, and sharp objects.
  • Boots or closed-toe shoes: Watch your step for nails, broken glass, etc.

Optional: If you're feeling fancy, throw on a headcam to document your mission. Maybe you'll discover rare wildlife!

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Open Sesame!

You made it this far; don't chicken out now. Take a deep breath to brace for the musty stench ahead. Then open that hatch or vent cover! You may need to bust out a screwdriver or pry bar if the crawl space opening is stuck from years of, well, not being opened.

When you get it open, shine your light inside first and scope things out. Make sure nothing is obstructing the narrow passage or any gas pipes are leaking before you slither your way in.

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Mission: Infiltration

Alright, time to drop it low and shimmy inside on your hands, knees, and stomach. Watch your head on the way down! Sit for a minute and get your bearings once you're inside. Wave your flashlight around and look for the support beams you can safely rest on.

Slowly start crawling towards your goal, whether it's locating a pesky rodent, finding the source of a mystery leak, retrieving your kid's toy, etc. Be careful not to knock over any insulation or put too much pressure on the exposed soil. Distribute your weight on the beams. Like I said, watch your head too! Hard hats are optional but encouraged.

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Operation: Extraction

After completing your top-secret mission, it's time to exit the crawl space. Hopefully, you didn't stir up too much dirt and dust while you were down there. Carefully shimmy back out feet first towards the hatch. Don't crawl backward, though, unless you have eyes in the back of your head.

When you emerge back into daylight, do a quick body and clothing check for any lingering pests you may have picked up inside. Also, take a big whiff of fresh air and appreciate being back above ground!

Congratulations, you successfully infiltrated and escaped from the crawl space! Go ahead and treat yourself to a nice shower and a nap after that whole ordeal. Just another day in the life!

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About Pittsburgh Foundation Repair Pros

As Pittsburgh's premier foundation repair company, Pittsburgh Foundation Repair Pros has over 10 years of experience assessing crawl spaces and basements and making all necessary structural repairs. Our team of experts can shore up your sagging floors, reinforce your foundation walls and piers, and waterproof your basement at competitive prices. If you suspect foundation or crawl space issues in your home, give our team a call at (412) 693-0707 for your free inspection and estimate today. With our quality workmanship guarantee, you can trust your home repairs to our professionals.

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