It’s easy to overlook a problem in your crawl space. Unlike a finished basement or attic, a typical crawl space is extremely limited real estate that is difficult to move through and easy to ignore.
That being said, crawl spaces are built into your house for many important reasons. If a problem arises in your crawl space, it’s crucial to catch it before it causes serious damage. Here are a few signs of trouble to look out for in your crawl space:
Poorly Placed Floor Joists
Nearly every home has a few squeaks in the floors, but not all of them are accompanied by a sag or indent in the same spot. This could be a sign of poorly placed floor joists or support columns, two crucial pieces of support keeping your house stable. If the support columns are spaced too far apart – or if the floor joists are simply too old – the floor will begin to sag over time.
Best-case scenario, this is an annoying inconvenience for you and everyone in your house who have to listen to decorations rattle every time you walk over that indented spot. Worst-case scenario, the entire foundation of your house is at serious risk of collapse.
Mold loves growing and spreading in warm, damp, dark places, especially when a food source like wood is involved. Add in their desired high humidity levels and you have prime real estate for it to thrive. If any of those conditions rang any bells in your head, then it might be time to go down and check your crawl space for this unsightly fungus.
Some people assume that mold is so synonymous with crawl spaces that you can’t have one without the other, which is naïve and dangerous thinking. Mold can start in your crawl space and spread out into your living space, creating an enormous health hazard for everyone living within.
Is there a spot in your house that seems to have a consistent musty smell you can’t get rid of? Maybe it’s exceptionally humid as well? And a spot on the floor almost bounces when you step on it? Maybe you already crawled down there to check for mold, only to find it along with something else: the wood used for your floor joists is rotting.
Rotting wood is dangerously weak and unstable. If something as crucial to the foundation of your house as its floor joists are rotting, that means they’re a lot more susceptible to breaking altogether. And if your floor joists break, down comes everything they’re holding up; like, say, the floors of your house.
Water & Dampness
A majority of the problems we’ve discussed on this list can be boiled down to a single culprit: water. Damp environments are where mold, rot, and fungi thrive, putting your entire foundation in jeopardy. Bulk water damage (flooding) is an even more dangerous (and quick-acting) problem. Small floods in your crawl space can result in softening and breaking down wood, cracking or misaligned support columns, damage to your insulation, spreading mold, leaking into your living space, getting in contact with electrical wires and creating a fire hazard, and countless other problems ranging from frustrating to downright dangerous to your health.
Thorough Home Inspections in Central Maryland
At Inspections by Bob, we’ve seen it all during inspections – the good, the bad, and the ugly (especially when it comes to crawl spaces). We are committed to making sure our clients make the best home-purchasing decisions possible, so we take our time and provide thorough inspection reports unlike any you’ll find elsewhere. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection!