No matter how much curb-appeal it has, or how much it boasts that trendy and updated interior, you never really know a home until you crawl underneath it.
Of course, a house’s crawl space isn’t the most fun place to hang out, but inspecting these cramped cavernous spaces is crucial in assessing the structural integrity of the home.
As our owner Jim Ullom proudly states, “Here at Certified Home Inspections, we crawl every crawl.”
The Inspection: Crawling the Crawl
Of course, the very first thing we inspect when entering the crawl space is the entrance size. Specifically, is the opening size to code? From there, our main focus becomes the home’s structural integrity.
Our inspectors cover every detail, noting of the foundation type upon which the house sits, checking for any cracks in the walls or concrete, and assessing each wall and beam for leaning or bowing. We also carefully evaluate the overall structure, meticulously assessing the condition of the main beam, columns, and floor joists. No matter how tight the passage, we cover every square inch.
In our assessment of the home’s constructional soundness, we also look for evidence of termites or carpenter ants, as well as any signs of water damage. Plumbing issues are a common cause of the presence of water, which is why we are careful to identify every component surrounding the plumbing; from the material used (PVC, copper, cast iron, etc.), to adequate draining, to proper sloping, as well as the sump pump operationality.
From there, our next focus is the electrical, and we double-check for any possible fire hazards, including spliced or sagging wires, alongside open boxes.
After the structural components, water issues, and electrical hazards have all been thoroughly inspected, the remainder of our stay beneath your home consists of taking note of all the details.
- What is the condition of the crawl vents? Are they the proper size, and if so are they unclogged and functional?
- What type of insulation is used – foam board, fiberglass, or spray foam? Is there insulation in the subfloor?
- Does a plastic vapor barrier cover the crawl floor, and is it properly installed?
- Is there any evidence of rodents (dead or alive), or anything that should not be down there (insects, debris, garbage, abandon water heaters, furnaces, etc.)?
Take our word for it: investigating the condition of the crawl space is never a particularly pleasant experience. Nonetheless, it is one of the most crucial parts of the home inspection, and is one we carry out with pride and professionalism – even if it is a little scary.