All About Decorative Foundation Grilles | Crawl Space Vents
If Decorative crawl space vents are what you are looking for there are several historic type grilles available in cast iron.
They all have short comings:
- They cannot be closed.
- They need a screen to keep out insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, etc.
- You have to figure how to attach them to your foundation.
As architectural product designers, specializing in decorative heating and air conditioning grilles, Beaux-Arts Classic Products has made the perfect crawl space vents.
They are made from urethane resin which is a perfect material to be installed outside. They will not rust, rot or corrode. The are available in 9 finishes; Rubbed Bronze, Dark Bronze, Pewter, Nickel, Antique Brass, Aged Copper, Umber Gold, Antique Cherry and Black. The finishes are fused into the front surface of the grille and frame for a long-lasting and durable finish.
The elegant frame was designed to deflect rainwater away from the foundation and allows the grille to easily be removed with four knurled nuts in less than a minute.
They come with all hardware and accessories; such as, a plug or blocking plate to manually insert behind the grille in the winter and a screen mesh for the Spring through Fall. Best of all you can install these crawl space vents from the outside of the house without ever having to crawl around in your foundation.
Beaux-Arts Classic Products designed these foundation vents with our classic historic line of grilles . They are available in Arts and Crafts style, the iconic Louis XIV grille and our newest Empire style.
It was our intention to make the most high-end and attractive foundation vent cover available that will compliment your homes architecture. But most of all we wanted it to perform all the functions necessary to be the best crawl space vent cover in the market.
Foundation grilles are required to serve several functions in the building industry. The first function of course is to provide ventilation to the crawl space. Ventilation or air circulation is necessary to keep crawl space foundations dry. If moisture gets into your crawl space only fresh air circulating through-out the space will make it dry again. Foundation vents should also prevent rain from getting into your crawl space. In the winter months these crawl space vents should be closed to prevent cold air from entering your crawl space to prevent pipes from freezing and to help keep the rest of the home warm. Furthermore, foundation vents should also keep insects and small rodents from entering through the grille. Foundation vents should be made from an exterior material that won’t rust, corrode, rot or grow mold. As an example, cast iron grilles may rust and discolor the brick or stucco veneer on the outside of the building. Finally crawl space vents should enhance the look of the exterior of the home or building and not distract from the appearance. Most foundation vents fail miserably in one or more of these vital functions.
Most foundations made since the Vietnam War are made from cinder block. Even brick foundations are really just cinder blocks with a brick veneer front. This building method has standardized the typical size of a foundation vent to the size of a cinder block. When the brick masons lay the cinder block on a new foundation they intentionally leave a block missing every so many feet which becomes the foundation part. A typical cinder block is 15-5/8″ wide x 7-5/8″ tall, which makes a 16″ x 8″ port after accounting for the masonry cement that bonds the cinder blocks together. Therefore, most foundation vents are made to either fit over or be recessed into a 16″ x 8″ port. The pictures above are all recessed into the port. The vents on the left all fit over the port which requires ample caulking to prevent rain water from leaking into the foundation between the grille and the foundation.
Some foundation vents are permanently open and can never be closed. These grilles should only be used in temperate climates where freezing temperatures are rare. Other crawl space vents are manual, which means the homeowner must close the vents in the late Fall and open them in early Spring. The bottom image is a foundation grille which automatically opens fully at 70 degrees and closes fully at 40 degrees. This is accomplished by a magnesium coil similar to the radiator coil in your car engine. In this case three light weight aluminum vanes are opened and closed automatically. My personal experience with this type of grille is that they work for a while then fail to function properly. They are also difficult to install and weather seal..
Other crawl space vents come with electric fans to increase the ventilation capacity. They can’t be closed; however, leaving the foundation vulnerable to freezing temperatures and frozen pipes. Although they provide superior ventilation due to the fans in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Most of them have a fan cut off switch to stop the fans when its freezing outside however.
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