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Home Improvement



Are You Getting Ready to Buy or Sell a Home? Hiring an inspector for a Pre-inspection or Contract Inspection? As a Seller, Inspections allow You to discover potential issues and correct or quantify them before Your home is under contract, when an issue could spook a Buyer or become more costly than just taking care of it ahead of time. As a Buyer, Inspections helpYou to have a good idea of what the condition is, of the biggest purchase of Your life. The cost of an inspection that saves You from a Money Pit, could be the best $500 You ever spent.


Inspections are a combination of experience, observation and technology, but due to the non-invasive nature of inspections there may be surprises hiding in walls or elsewhere in spite of keen eyes, Best Practices, Infrared technology and Moisture Meters. With over 40 years of experience in Construction and Real Estate, I have seen a lot of things, Good, Bad & Ugly. There are 2 areas in a home that provide a wealth of information, but due to the sometimes difficult and unpleasant nature of the areas, key information is often missed or overlooked. We'll address the "Other Area" in another post on a different day. Today We will focus on the Crawl Space.


The Crawl Space or area under the floor structure, inside the foundation walls is dark, sometimes dirty, stinky or wet. It may be the home to dead or alive spiders, rodents, cats, raccoons, skunks or wood destroying organisms. It can be tall enough to stand up in or so tight that there is barely room to wiggle around. The ground can be soft, rocky or littered with excess concrete from the foundation pour that bruises hands and knees. It can be dusty and dry w pungent odors, muddy or flooded w 6" of water, or stale and still w imaginery creatures lurking just out of sight. It is the space typically occupied by water pipes, sewer drains and ducts for HVAC. These elements can create an obstacle course causing the inspector to need to find a way to go around or to belly crawl under or squeeze over. 


Doesn't sound fun does it?  The information contained in this unpleasant space can be critical. That is why I request lots of photos when inspectors go under the home, because most owners never venture inside, but should understand what it looks like. There are a number of factors that can be bad for Your home long term. One of the most critical is moisture. Moisture and condensation can encourage WDO's, Wood Destroying Organisms, as well as causing wood to swell, warp or even rot. Water can come from plumbing leaks, springs under the foundation, flow in through foundation vents or through snap tie holes, rock pockets in the walls, or cold joints between concrete pours. Often water that comes through the concrete walls from the outside is due to failed roof or footing drains that are allowing storm water to collect and be held against the wall until it finds its way through the concrete into the crawlspace.


Once a problem has been identified, You are going to need experts to deal with it. It is good to check w trusted professionals for recommendations of Contractors to deal w repairs and remediation. Often Your Realtor or local Building Industry Association will have connections to competent, licensed professionals who can make Your home like new. If not, check online for companies who specialize in Crawl Space repairs. They should have the necessary skills and equipment. The first steps are to stop the leak and dewater the space. Once the space is dewatered, and the leak has been identified and repaired, then remediation can be performed to dry out the space. Remediation may involve, pipe repair, joist, beam or post repair, concrete repairs, followed by drying the space w large heaters and fans to stop the negative impacts of moisture and high humidity. 


Hopefully this will help You remember the importance the space down under has to the health and long term stability of Your home. If You have questions, feel free to reach out to Lyle Sorenson for referrals or to Buy or Sell Your home.