Why Inspecting Crawl Spaces And Foundations Matters

August 15th, 2017

Thorough Residential Real Estate Inspections

In many locations, especially in warmer regions, developers erect houses with extensive crawl spaces. For instance, instead of excavating a basement, the builder may construct a wood frame residence resting on a slightly elevated foundation. If you live in a home with an unencapsulated crawl space (or crawl spaces), it usually remains a wise precaution to request periodic inspections by a waterproofing expert of the infrequently-accessed areas beneath the residence.

Taking this simple step helps ensure crawl spaces and foundations remain in good condition. It also may assist property owners in catching and correcting potential real estate problems at an early stage. The old adage “forewarned is forearmed” applies in terms of protecting living areas from some common crawl space-related hazards.

Clean, Dry Crawl Spaces

Of course, frequently homeowners don’t welcome the prospect of exploring out-of-the-way crawl spaces, building foundations, or attics. These locations may require considerable effort and discomfort to access. They typically lack light. In some circumstances, spiders, snakes or even bats frequent these dark places. Yet ensuring that these parts of a residence remain clean and dry could help maintain the useful lifespan of your house.

Water leaking beneath the home can create potentially serious consequences. Over the course of time, this situation may cause warping or rotting in wooden structures. The damp conditions may give rise to the growth of mold and mildew, a health concern. In wood frame houses, moisture may promote conditions conducive to termite infestations. Ultimately, seeping water holds the potential to damage building foundations, creating structural problems. All these considerations warrant periodic inspections of crawl spaces, foundations and attics by experienced waterproofing technicians. If you notice any possible signs of trouble developing, consider contacting a qualified inspector to check your home:

Tilting Floor

Do any of the lower level floors in your residence “bounce” or appear uneven? While many possible causes can contribute to this problem (including termites), water in a crawl space sometimes produces this defect. By asking an expert to examine the underside of the floor carefully, you’ll take useful corrective action to protect your household more effectively.

Any sagging floor imposes hazards, or course. It may cause people to trip and fall unexpectedly. If sections of a floor weaken, the problem could place furniture (or occupants) at risk of tumbling through floor boards.

Cracks in Interior Plaster or Dry Wall

If you notice cracks forming in the plaster or dry wall in one or more rooms, requesting a crawl space and foundation inspection may prove prudent. A variety of issues potentially cause crack formation; shifting in the ground beneath the home as a result of water pooling in a crawl space could contribute to this phenomenon.

Large cracks in plaster or dry wall usually remain apparent even after re-painting or the application of wall paper. They pose an interior decorating problem and may deter prospective home buyers when a property reaches the real estate market. Checking out the source of the cracks usually remains the best course of action.

Termite Infestations

If your house develops a termite problem, consider scheduling a crawl space and foundation inspection with a waterproofing expert. Some termites will infest dry wood, yet these wood-gnawing insects often show a marked preference for damp, rotting planks and timbers. It makes little sense to perform termite treatments before addressing an underlying water problem, if any, inside the crawl space or around the foundation. Unless repaired, wet crawl spaces under the home may continue to promote wood damage, encouraging termite re-infestation at a later date.

Most real estate experts recommend obtaining the assistance of a licensed pest exterminator in order to apply termite treatments. The insects can burrow inside wood and sometimes prove challenging to eradicate. Recently some new classes of insecticides reached the market. These chemicals prove less toxic to humans and pets, but eliminate entire termite colonies.

Odors

A foul odor in the home could signal a leaky roof or a wet crawlspace and foundation. Persistently damp conditions allow mold to gain a foothold. If you smell a musty, unpleasant aroma, consider calling a waterproofing company for assistance.

A careful examination of the premises helps isolate the source of water leaks. In some situations, leaking plumbing pipes and fixtures or sewer pipes spill undetected into crawl spaces for some time before the problem reaches an owner’s attention. Prompt corrective plumbing action to stop leaking sometimes resolves this type of crawl space issue (if extensive damage has not already occurred).

Available Assistance

Consider contacting a qualified waterproofing expert in all these situations. Taking this precaution could help prevent or minimize long term property damage!

Some Positive Aspects of Encapsulated Crawl Spaces

February 7th, 2017

A Frequent Dilemma

Property owners sometimes wonder whether or not they should encapsulate crawl spaces in a home? Spending funds to address this issue may seem unnecessary (since numerous residences do not offer concrete-enclosed crawl spaces). Perhaps for this reason, builders frequently do not supply encapsulation as a feature of new construction. The process frequently requires considering some type of ventilation system for the crawl space area in order to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew; encapsulating may ultimately increase the total cost of building.

Yet seeking crawl space encapsulation services from a qualified contractor frequently holds some distinct advantages, particularly in certain situations. Just consider a few of the most important benefits crawl space encapsulation offers:

Obtaining Additional Room For Machinery Components

Today, a growing number of consumers choose to install complex machinery assemblies in residential properties. An area set aside initially for a crawl space sometimes furnishes a suitable out-of-the-way location to place some types of mechanical components. For instance, have you considered installing a residential elevator or mechanical lift platform or even a large wine cooler? Depending upon the architectural design, reducing the area devoted to a crawl space may offer additional room for the placement of some bulky mechanical components. It usually proves helpful to encapsulate the remaining crawl space after conducting this type of major renovation.

In many older homes, for instance, a dumbwaiter system permits cooks to effortlessly transport meals and serving equipment from a basement or ground-level kitchen to upper floors in the building. Securely encapsulated lined crawl spaces may provide an ideal backdrop for installing this equipment. Similarly, concrete-enclosed crawl spaces themselves offer a good site for ductwork in some floorplans. These locations may supply a hidden network of channels or passageways beneath or within walls inside a building.

Discouraging Unwelcome Infestations

Horror stories abound online concerning homeowners who purchased residences without encapsulated crawl spaces, only to discover these hidden subterranean cavities beneath a home sometimes become appealing sites for nesting wild animals, such as burrowing moles or raccoons, or even vermin. Rats and field mice may thrive in open crawl spaces, in fact. Their activities and odors may eventually come to the attention of dismayed residents.

Crawl spaces also sometimes become a pivotal point of access for unwanted insects, such as termite colonies, enabling insect populations to move from the surrounding natural area through interior unseen channels within a home. In some environments, an unexpected buildup of moisture inside a crawl space may lead to rotting in damp wood, a situation which attracts termites.

Encapsulating strategies

By encapsulating the crawl space in concrete and adding appropriate ventilation, a contractor may seek to provide a physical barrier limiting contact between the earth and wood used in framing. They also must reduce moisture buildup inside the enclosed space. Today, builders enjoy a wide array of options for seeking to create dry, well ventilated crawl spaces. Some rely extensively upon pumps, drains, plastic liners and specialized coatings to help control dampness. Homebuilders or contractors who perform encapsulation will usually set out a termite and fungicide barrier as an additional precaution before applying a concrete surface to an underground crawl space.

In recent years, some contractors have favored insulating crawl spaces against dampness in lieu of ventilating in some structures. Whether this strategy will work effectively may depend on a number of factors, including the design of the building, the specific local climatic conditions and the available construction materials. It remains very important to consult local building codes for guidance, of course.

The Future

As the Internet of Things begins transforming society during the newt few decades, big changes will likely occur in residential construction. Already the concept of a fully-Internet connected home has become trendy.

Soon crawl spaces may contain automated sensors to alert residents to issues such as moisture buildup, for instance. Just as automotive technology increasingly performs a proactive role in alerting drivers to potential hazards, real estate design may soon begin incorporating useful safeguards to let property owners know about conditions promoting the growth of mold and other common environmental hazards.

Contact An Experienced Contractor

If you’ve considered seeking the encapsulation of craw spaces in your residence, consulting an experienced local builder usually remains a wise step. You should also make sure you possess familiarity with any applicable building regulations concerning enclosed crawl spaces. Your contractor may request an engineering report prior to undertaking work on your property. The layout of the building and the location of structural support walls may enter into decisions involved in the encapsulation process.