What is the Difference Between a Basement and a Crawl Space?

Crawl Space under house with dirt

If you’re buying a new home in greater Chicago, take a moment to read our comparison between a crawl space vs. a basement. We’ll compare crawl space vs. basement costs for construction and maintenance, among other crawl space vs. basement pros and cons. If, after reading, you’d like to hire a home inspector to evaluate a crawl space or basement in a house you’re considering, get in touch with the BrickKicker in Naperville for help! 

Crawl Space vs. Basement: Pros and Cons

What is a Crawl Space? Crawl spaces are unheated, lower-clearance spaces built underneath a house that vent to the outside. This allows them to circulate outside air to prevent excess moisture build-up. In wetter climates, crawl spaces can be critical to preventing mold and rot around your foundation. 

  • Pros: In wetter climates, crawl spaces can be critical to preventing mold and rot around your foundation. This not only helps to preserve the structural integrity of your house, but helps to deter the build-up of molds and mildews that can harm your health. They’re a great place for storing electrical lines, heating ducts, and other unsightly appliances. Finally, while they take the same amount of time to build as a basement does, they’re much more affordable. 
  • Cons: While crawl space ventilation often keeps cooling costs low in the summer, they make it harder for your house to trap heat, so you can expect a higher gas bill in the winter. Crawl spaces are natural homes for rodents and other pests who can make their way into your house. They’re also vulnerable to termite infestations, so you’ll need to be sure to take extra precautions.

What is a Basement? Basements are completely insulated and heated spaces built at least partially underground. They don’t feature any open air vents to the outside, and have much taller ceilings than crawl spaces. If you’re wondering about the difference between a basement and a crawl space based on livability, you’ll find that basements are much more accommodating.

  • Pros: Basements hold heat, so you can live, work, and play in them. They don’t have the same levels of vulnerability to pests that crawl spaces do. Because they have concrete foundations, they’re not vulnerable to termites. They can also be a great place to house your electrical wires, heat ducts, HVAC, and other, more mechanical aspects of your house. 
  • Cons: When it comes to crawl space vs. basements costs, you can expect to spend $5,000 to $10,000 dollars more when constructing a basement. Basements are prone to humidity and subject to mold build-up, just like crawl spaces. Furthermore, it’s difficult to keep a basement dry, and they can be vulnerable to flooding, which may require you to install a sump pump to divert water flow. Finally, houses with basements are at greater risk for high radon levels. 

Do You Have Questions About Our Crawl Space vs. Basement Comparison? 

If you have unanswered questions about the difference between a basement and a crawl space or crawl space vs. basement pros and cons, don’t hesitate to give the BrickKicker a call at 800-821-1820. If you’re considering a home, and you need to have a basement inspected for radon levels, or you want to make sure the crawl space is in good condition before finalizing the deal, we provide comprehensive and affordable home inspections for domiciles across Chicagoland!