The crawl space is probably the most overlooked area of your home. It is dark, moldy, and full of pests and critters that most of us try to avoid. In the summer, it’s hot and humid and in the winter, it’s cold and damp. Ignoring these issues will only make those problems worse. Once a mold or pest issue begins, it will progressively grow, causing major repairs if left untreated.
A proper crawl space inspection should cover the following:
Let’s take a look at each of these issues to help gain an understanding as to why each of these problems can cause major repairs down the road.
In the greater Triangle area, we all share red clay soil. It has been termed “Expansive Soil” or “Shrink/Swell Soil”. This means the red clay will either expand or contract during periods of heavy rainfall or drought. This can wreak havoc on a foundation. It can cause the block wall to crack, or separate from the rest of the house. A broken wall is usually an indicator that the footing below is cracked.
This is an indication that either the soil around your home’s foundation has moved. It can either shrink or heave to cause the bow. Sometimes, when water has been filling the hollow-core block for years, the structural integrity of the block deteriorates causing the wall to bow.
Unsealed Crawl Space Door
An unsealed crawl space door lets in all of the unwanted guests! Essentially, you are inviting rodents, snakes and critters into your home if the door is not properly sealed.
Holes in Foundation Vents
It is common to find dysfunctional crawl space vents in the homes that I inspect. Most foundation vent covers have screens behind them. Rodents chew through the screen, and this opens your crawl space to the unwanted pest. This is an issue mostly seen on older homes, but I have also found this on newly constructed homes as well.
Broken Floor Joist
Floor joists deteriorate over time because of moisture/mold build-up. The mold is feeding on the wood under your house and given enough time, the joist will weaken to the point of rot. A floor joist can also break due to a lack of support. Especially when something heavy is placed on top of it like granite countertops or a large piece of furniture.
If the crawl space insulation is inadequate or totally missing. The temperature and humidity on the first floor of your home is affected. In the winter months, your floor will be excessively cold causing your HVAC system to work extra hard to compensate. The same happens in the summer, but it is accompanied by the odor the humidity brings.
A vented crawl space provides the perfect breeding grounds for mold. If the crawl space is too wet or humid, mold growth will develop. In the beginning, the mold will form a light grayish powder coating. The longer it goes untreated, the more obvious it becomes as the wood gets spotty and turns black.
Sweating HVAC System
In the summer months, hot humid air collides with your cold ducts and this causes condensation. Even if you do not have a standing water situation, the hot humid air that we use to ventilate the crawl space will cause the ducts to sweat. It can also cause the electronics of your system to malfunction.
Insects like to live in your crawl space because it is naturally a damp area. Most insects absorb water through the exoskeletons to stay hydrated, thus making the wet crawl space the perfect breeding grounds. Termites can only ingest wet wood fibers, so it is important to keep this area dry to avoid most types of insects from wanting to live under your house.
Rodent and Snake Intrusions
The rodents and snakes like to follow the insects for a food source. They can come through penetrations and openings in your crawl space foundation. They also tunnel underground to gain access.
During periods of heavy rain, water soaks into the soil and begins to move to the lowest level of grade. Rainwater can also soak through the walls and form condensation on the inner block walls of the crawl space. In a high humidity climate like we have in North Carolina, foundation vents on a house can also be a serious source of water intrusion.
Get a Crawl Space Inspection Today!
A proper crawl space inspection will reveal what issues you have with your home’s foundation. The best way to remedy these issues is to encapsulate or seal your crawl space. When you block access to the mold, pest, and critters, your home will be clean, comfortable, and pest free.
If you are concerned that any of these issues may be affecting your home or family, call us for a crawl space inspection today at 919-847-7072 or fill out the online form to reach out to our team today.