Crawlspace (sort of) under kitchen

My house (ranch) is built entirely over a basement except for an 8x8 part of the kitchen which serves as the dining area. That section is built over what I'll call a crawl space, although only a cat could crawl into it. Its only openings are to the basement through two "slots" in the cinder block, each about the height of a shoe box and twice as long. The house is one of 20 similar ones in the neighborhood, built in the 1950s, and I suspect the builder offered a few options for saving money.
Anyway, the floor's pretty chilly. I could toss a rug in there, and since it's not actually in the cooking area, I'd be OK with that. But, I'm open to other thoughts. The flooring in the entire kitchen needs replacement, and I've seen a few people here mention heated floors. Is that insanely expensive? Does it require tile or stone, as opposed to the usual "soft" flooring materials?
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dig it out far enough so you can insulate? rip up the entire floor, insulate, and replace the floor with new?
heated floors are expensive to run. water or electric. you can put them under wood, tile, stone, linoleum, etc.
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Now there's a good idea. The existing floor doesn't have the right stuff under the "congoleum", at least not by modern standards. I could change the subfloor in this spot with a couple of 4x8 sheets, and then put "the right stuff" (whatever that is) on top of it.
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Radiant floor heat is the most comfortable there is. It's slightly expensive to install, but the hydronic (as opposed to electric) is fairly cheap to operate. It can be run off your water heater through a heat exchanger to keep the potable water and the heating water separate.
You can heat almost surface ( I really can't think of a surface you can't heat!), tile/ceramic, hardwood, or carpet.
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I'm leaning toward tile because the kitchen is also the first entryway into this house. It takes a beating.
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In alt.home.repair on Fri, 10 Dec 2004 21:55:16 GMT, you or "Doug

I have NO experience in this, but I'd look into insulating foam that is installed with a wand (usually in walls). If you can get a 9 foot wand, it will reach the farthest corner of the space, but maybe shorter wands would push the stuff into the corner as the space became filled.
I'm sort of assuming the whole crawl space is only the height of a shoe box, not just the entry holes.
This would be quick and easy, if it works.
If there are parts that can't be reached, maybe small holes could be drilled in the floor in the corners.
My grandmother's house, built in the 30's maybe, had a crawl space under the living room. When I went back to visit 10 or 20 years after she moved out, the new owner had found shooting targets at the end of it, and shells on the dirt where the shooter would stand. My grandmother moved in there in the 1950's or more likely the 40's, so someone had used it for target practice before that.

Meirman
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