What is the best method of repairing joists in a low crawl space?


What is the best method of repairing joists in a low crawl space?

deb bino Sept. 1, 2021

Ranch home with concrete crawlspace and window wells.  Problem:  How do you replace/repair supporting wood when the space is only max. of 22" and shallow end down to 14"?  Hardwood floors above.  We don't want to break through from above.  Any alternatives?

Responses (3)

Mike Reynolds Nov. 4, 2021, 8:49 a.m.

There is a lot we don’t like about crawl spaces, replacing joists in one without much head room is now on the list. I think you mean the joist so I'll go with that for now but let me know if you mean posts. 

There is really no magic solution we have for you unfortunately. 14 inches is simply too low to be able to work functionally and be able to use a hammer or driver to fasten anything. Without seeing it there is one thing that comes to mind that may or may not work, and really this is a total long shot that even myself as I write this I’m already thinking of problematic issues. But – I’m wondering - if you had an opening where you could slide new joists into the space, would you be able to only open the floor only at the ends where you would need to attach them? There are a myriad of reasons I can think of why this won’t work, but at least it's something to have explored and crossed off your list.

If the space has a concrete floor and not dirt that is a good thing, and if you used something like an LVL (laminated veneer lumber) that could span the whole length, could you get a jack underneath each end to install? Are you even getting what mean I here? I would love to help but this is more of a situation where you need to stare at it and scratch a hole in your head exploring and dismissing ideas I think. I love a puzzle so I’m happy to bounce ideas, but it really is the kind of thing you need to look at I imagine.

deb bino
deb bino Nov. 4, 2021, 7:50 p.m.

Hi Mike:  It has been explained to us that the work would have to be done from the top; inotherwords tear open the floor, and a new subfloor would be installed after the work.

Mike Reynolds Nov. 5, 2021, 8:06 a.m.

Hi Deb

With that little space I'm not surprised, and I would have come to the same conclusion looking at it. Best of luck.