In the last post I noted the excavation of the crawl space had begun.

The reason:  get control of the space below the cabin so all systems can be accessed from below which includes valves, water lines, electrical and communications.

Why is this important?  One of the reasons revealed itself as I was removing the floor sheathing in the bedroom:  damp soil.  The damp soil indicated a leak of some sort that needed to be fixed.  

So, how do you fix a busted pipe if you don't have access to an 80 year old galvanized pipe with a leak in it? You can either dig a new crawl space or you cut the floor out to access the pipe - assuming you have the ability to know you have a pipe leak.

There are several building code requirements that address this situation:
1.  Access to a crawl space; 
2.  Access areas for equipment and the servicing of that equipment; and
3.  Common sense.

The photo above shows the existing floor with a doorway on the right side of the picture.  There are no access points to get to the crawl space.  With water and waste piping at the area under the door and wall at this area, and no access, one will cut the floor up to repair plumbing.

In this photo, the sheathing has been removed.
     1    Damp soil was found under the wall and near the door (plumbing leak of some sort)
     2    Dirt is up to the joists (fortunately the dirt is very dry)

This is a lot of work.  Some would ask if it is worth it.  In my professional opinion, the answer is yes.  

I will be able to add additional structure to the shower area to stiffen the floor for a new tile shower.  I will have access to the underside of the floor to address systems issues.  I will be able to install a new air distribution system that will not cut through joists to get heat deeper into the space in appropriate locations.  I'll get dirt away from the joists.  I'll be able to condition the crawl space with heated air avoiding foundation ventilation systems that introduce cold winter air that could affect water pipes, ie: freezing them - a less than optimal situation.

By digging this space out I will also be able to introduce perimeter insulation to thermally improve the space.  I'll also have room to install a vapor barrier to the space.

Since this is an 80 year old structure I will also be able to observe the framing and determine if any remedial work needs to be done in order to preserve the integrity of the structure.

The reasons for creating this excavated area far outweigh not doing the work - in my opinion.

So, the work continues.  We are close to completing the removal of the sheathing and the ability to complete the crawl space work.