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crawl space solution

I have a storage room with a crawl space on the back of my house that is 8 x 16. The neighbors cat got chased under there the other night by my spaniel and when I went to get it I noticed that where I got it out from--the short side of the room--had a short clearance between the ground and the beam that sits on the outside wall. On the longer back side of the room there is even less clearance between the beam and the ground. The joists that rest on the beam seem to have around 1 1/2 to 2 feet of clearance but the beam at its highest has 10 inches of clearance and at the lowest a clearance of about 6 inches. The beams are 8 x 8 in size and are sitting on 3 cement/stone piers on the back side of the house. I think part of the problem in it being so close was the previous owner was a little landscape happy. Would it be reasonable to dig away under the beam and take away the dirt and grade the landscaping to slope away from the house before I put in river rock? There is not a perimeter foundation around the crawl space, just the piers and the rest is open. The overhang from the roof is 2 ft so I usually don't have any water troubles close to the house. Also, what could I use to keep the cat or the occasional rabbit from going under there? Any Help?

Re: crawl space solution

A neighbor of mine is also landscape happy and did the same thing; they created a donut of landscape beds and mulch around the perimeter of the house. It grew quite large over the years. The underside of the house became a swimming pool. The house settles unevenly.

Yes, dig it out, you need as much air flow as you can get under your house. You do not want the dirt any closer to wooden parts than it needs to be.

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