Q. Several years ago, I had a bathroom added to my home that has a crawl foundation. A recent energy audit by our utility company suggested I insulate the foundation walls, but there is no access to the crawl under the bathroom. I have relatives willing to do the work, but how do we get to the foundation under the bathroom? There is not enough room to cut a hole in the floor and I can’t afford to hire a contractor to do the work.
A. When first reading your question, some will find it difficult to figure out how the plumbers installed the bathroom fixtures when there was no access under the bathroom.
What I sometimes see is that the plumbers either worked through openings in the floor or they sealed or blocked the opening between the two crawl space areas as they worked their way out.
Without seeing your home, I will assume the addition is on the backside of the home because most building lots are not wide enough to allow for an addition to the side of the home.
I will also assume, with confidence, that the load-bearing walls of the home are on the sides of the home and not on the front and back sides. A bearing wall is a major structural support for the floor joists, ceiling joists and roof rafters. Bearing walls can only be altered by experienced contractors or engineers.
Do not attempt to make an opening in the foundation under a bearing wall without hiring a qualified contractor.
There will be a single adjoining foundation wall between the backside of the home and the addition. It should be safe and easy to create an opening between the two crawl areas to provide an access to the addition’s crawl space. Use rigid foam insulation on the exterior foundation walls and cut the insulation to fit in between each floor joist just above the foundation wall.
C. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 286, Evansville, Ind. 47702 or email him at d.Barnett@insightbb.com.