What's lurking in your crawlspace?
I finished inspecting a nice home in Saratoga on Glen Brae Drive and as always finished up with a look around in the crawlspace. The crawlspace is probably one of the most important areas to have inspected when purchasing a home (and also smart to inspect once a year when owning a home). The older couple who were selling this home said that in their 25 years of being there they had never been in the crawlspace. Not a surprise and certainly not uncommon! I’d be willing to bet they are a part of the majority of homeowners. The crawlspace is certainly not a place that is very appealing to anyone.
Myself and my fellow home inspectors have seen quite a variety of things in crawlspaces – from plenty of spiders to rats and snakes and a family of skunks! One of my fellow inspectors even found a gun! The absolute best defense to having pests living in your crawlspace is to make sure your crawlspace vent screens are all intact. Even a hole the size of a dime will allow a mouse to enter! Also, if you have an exterior entrance to your crawlspace (usually a small door) make sure it fits really snug with no gaps. Again, even a small gap will allow entry. Keeping all foliage trimmed away from you home is important too, as plants that are touching the exterior of the home provide a convenient highway for insects to march through those crawlspace vents and enter the area under your home.
What else lurks in a crawlspace? Leaks and their by-product mold. I have seen some leaks that must have been going on for years and years. This is often evidenced by a rotted subfloor with plenty of fungus. Certainly not a healthy thing to be breathing. If you open your crawlspace hatch and get a whiff of mildew, I suggest making a beeline to the phone and calling a termite inspection company. Termite inspectors not only look for termites but deal with any wood destroying issues such as leaks. Most home inspectors typically do not hold the proper licensing required to make comments on termite damage and treatment.
Cracks in the foundation, displaced pier posts, falling insulation and damaged joists are other things that a crawlspace inspection will find. So if you are ever curious about what may be under your home, give me a call!