Are you thinking about hiring someone to inspect your crawl space? If so, don’t hit that back button because you’ve landed on the right page. In this article, we’re going to talk about why and when to inspect a crawl space, what you need to know about a professional crawl space inspection, repairing a crawl space, and more.
Why you should inspect your crawl space?
You should inspect your crawl space because what happens in your crawl space affects your home’s structural integrity and the health of you and your family.
How your home’s crawl space can impact your health?
A certain percentage of air in the crawl space flows up and into your home’s living area via something called the stack effect. If that air is full of mold and other allergens, it could cause health issues for anyone living in the house. Rodents also leave droppings behind, and sometimes those droppings can cause serious health problems for humans who come into contact with them.
How a crawl space can impact your home’s structural integrity?
Moisture and mold in your crawl space can also affect your home’s structural integrity. Moisture in a crawl space will damage wood structures like beams and joists, insulation, and attract wood-gnawing pests like termites and rodents. While termites like to dine on wood, rodents will chew on wiring, insulation, and even plastic plumbing pipes. Damaged beams and joists in the crawl space can affect your home’s structural integrity requiring expensive repairs.
You won’t know if any of this is happening unless a professional inspects your home’s crawl space.
For more information see, Three Reasons for Insulating Your Crawl Space.
When you should inspect?
You should inspect a crawl space when you suspect a problem or for preventative maintenance. The goal of preventative maintenance is to save money in the long run by catching issues early before they turn into big problems that cost a lot of money to fix.
Signs you might have a problem in your home’s crawl space include:
- The floor immediately above the crawl space is sagging or unlevel.
- The floor feels spongy when you walk on it, or furniture shakes when you walk by.
- Your home smells musty.
- Your home is more humid than it should be.
- There’s condensation on your windows.
- One or more people living in the home have allergies or breathing problems.
If you’ve opened the door to the crawl space and peaked in with a flashlight, you might be able to see mold, wood rot, or some other type of damage. If so, you need to have a professional inspect your crawl space.
Before we talk about what to expect from a professional crawl space inspection, let’s say a few words about why you shouldn’t do this yourself.
For more information see, How To Fix Moisture Problems in Your Crawl Space.
Is DIY inspection a good idea?
We don’t recommend DIY crawl space inspection because the untrained eye can easily miss something important. Do you know what to look for and where to look? If you miss a problem and it gets worse, it could cost you a lot in repairs.
Also, do you really want to crawl around down there? Spiders, snakes, harmful rodent droppings, and asbestos insulation are just a few things you might encounter. Professional, licensed foundation repair contractors have the training and experience necessary to properly and safely inspect a crawl space.
Hire a professional to inspect your crawl space
An experienced foundation repair contractor will inspect your home’s crawl space and give you a report of what they found, including recommendations for any necessary repairs.
A professional inspecting your crawl space will be on the lookout for:
- Moisture – Are the walls or wooden structures in the crawl space damp?
- Are there signs of insect or rodent infestation?
- Is there any standing water in the crawl space? If so, this could indicate a drainage problem.
- Is there any visible mold on the wood structures in the crawl space?
- Are any of the pipes leaking?
- Are there any issues with the home’s wiring?
- Are there any foundation cracks?
- Musty smell?
- Is the insulation where it should be, or has it fallen?
- Is the insulation dry?
- Are there any problems with the support posts?
- Are there any problems with the vapor barrier, if there is one? Is it intact? Are there any gaps?
- What’s the condition of the sump pump, if present? Does it work? Where is the discharged water going?
The person inspecting your home’s crawl space will take photos and measure the moisture level in the crawl space.
Crawl space repair
Crawl space repair solutions will, of course, depend on the problem. Possible crawl space repair solutions include:
- Crawl space waterproofing and encapsulation to combat moisture and make the crawl space clean and dry
- A drain tile system along with a sump pump to solve drainage problems around the foundation
- Replacing damaged insulation
- Repairing any damaged wooden structures in the crawl space, including support posts
- Replacing failed bottle jacks for proper crawl space piers – This will fix spongy, sagging, uneven floors.
- Add additional crawl space piers where the wood support system is over spanned (ensuring structure support is up to code).
- Add/replace beams (wood or steel) as needed to properly support the home
A foundation repair contractor might also recommend that you hire an exterminator to solve a pest problem or a plumber to fix a leaky pipe before you repair the crawl space.
There are good reasons to inspect a crawl space, including protecting the health of both you and your family and your house. We know it might be tempting to save money. However, we don’t recommend crawl space inspection as a DIY project.
If you’re in our service area and think there might be a problem with the crawl space under your home, or you’d just like to know what’s going on down there, contact us today.