Whether you are buying or selling a home, you plan to someday, or you just want to make sure your home is safe and healthy, a good home inspection is necessary. The surprising truth is that even though you may see nothing wrong with it at first glance, a home inspector is likely to call out a problem with your crawl space.
In fact, many real estate agents can attest to this trend, since it often can delay or add complication to a home sale. Once this “red flag” is triggered, a homeowner is under the gun to get a bid from a professional crawl space cleaning, insulation, or animal exclusion company before the sale can be finalized.
The reason that home inspectors are so inclined to call out the need for repairs and upgrades to a crawl space during their inspection is simply because there is so much that can go wrong in a crawl space…and the reason that most people don’t realize the true extent of the many problems is simply because they spend so little time in their crawl space. Even those that do look inside their crawl space usually don’t know what to look for.
Having your crawl space inspected is a great way to identify potential problems with your home before they become larger issues. A thorough inspection is very important, especially if you are trying to sell your home!
If you’ve noticed signs that your crawl space may need an inspection, or are aware that it needs maintenance don’t but don’t know where to start, then read on – we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about crawl space inspections!
What A Crawl Space Inspection Does
An inspection is done to identify problems – or trouble that could lead to problems later on. The inspector will especially be looking for any of these warning signs:
- Termites, whether they’re visible or there are signs that they may be starting to burrow.
- Moisture damage in the form of damp insulation, condensation, warped or cracked materials.
- Mold and/or mildew, whether on the walls, on items stored in the attic or crawl space or a musty smell.
- Potential wiring or plumbing problems.
- Foundation issues, whether cracks, settling or shifting.
- Evidence of dangerous materials, like asbestos or urea-formaldehyde.
- The condition of floor framing, including any damage to the wooden supports.
- Presence of animals, vermin, and other animals – or evidence of damage they’ve done.
- Ventilation, whether it’s sufficient or not and if all vents are clear.
- Presence and quality of vapor barriers.
This is just a summary of what a good inspector will be looking for when they enter your crawl space. They’ll also be looking for any other problems or warning signs, and may recommend that you bring in an electrician or plumber to investigate things in more detail.
How A Crawl Space Inspection Works
When an inspector arrives to look at your crawl space, the first thing they’ll have to determine is whether they are able to enter the crawl space. If there are obstructions, low ductwork, or even just too small of a space, they may not be able to. Most inspectors will require at least an opening that is 24” wide and 18” tall – some require more.
Once they’ve determined whether or not they can enter, they’ll have to decide whether it’s safe to. In most cases, if an inspector can see exposed nails or screws, standing water, unsafe electrical work, or can smell mold or mildew, they won’t enter the crawl space and will fail the inspection.
If, however, the space is big enough and clear of danger, the inspector will then enter your crawl space and be able to give you a full assessment.
How an Inspection Saves You Time and Money
When you are putting your home on the market, many real estate agents will require that you have it inspected as part of the process of determining a fair price. If they don’t, most (if not all) buyers will want an inspection done before you close the sale. You can cut out this extra step later in the process by having your home inspected upfront.
Even if you aren’t selling your home, an inspection is a great way to determine potential problems and have the chance to fix them before they become more serious. For example, an inspection might find that you have water leaks in your crawl space. If caught early, you can repair the leak and not have it turn into foundation damage or mold.
Crawl Space Cleaning
Once you’ve had your crawl space inspected, contact a professional company like Clean Crawls to correct problems, replace insulation and do animal exclusion. Here’s what our owner, Chuck Henrichsen, has to say after talking to a contractor:
I have a friend who is a general contractor. Last week, he called to tell me about a homeowner he worked with. This homeowner had an inspector come out and the inspector found a lot of problems with the attic and crawl space, even though in the homeowner’s mind the spaces were not that bad.
He realized that what most people find acceptable in their own home may not be acceptable to home inspectors. The moral of the story is it is likely that an inspector will say you need work done if you are going to sell, so you might as well do a pre-inspection. Also, the contractor told me that if work needed to be done on homes for sale, he would definitely call us, since we do the work he doesn’t want to do!
If you need help making repairs and doing heavy cleaning after an inspection, contact Clean Crawls today.