When you’re maintaining a home, your attention is heavily centered on the living space and exterior, as they should be. However, certain unseen areas are far more important than the visible areas when it comes to the long-term durability of the home and its value, should you choose to sell it. Here are four reasons why you should consider a crawl space inspection for your home.
Water is the enemy of your home’s structure. Many homes have drainage issues outside the foundation that allow water to seep under the house, creating a damp environment. This condition can contribute to the decay of structural members such as the sill plate and floor joists. It can also support the growth of mold and mildew, leading to health issues for people just above in the living space.
Moisture is also a key ingredient in the life of termites. A damp crawl space will allow these pests to flourish, threatening to create thousands of dollars worth of damage in your home. A would-be buyer will move quickly away from any home with moisture in the crawlspace.
Settling & Shifting
In seismic zones like California, movement of the ground is almost inevitable. The question is not whether the ground has shifted but rather whether your home has tolerated it, and the answer to that question is how well the house was built. The movement of your footer or foundation can lead to problems that show up elsewhere in the house.
If you’re seeing unexplained cracks in the walls or have doors or windows that do not move smoothly, you may have issues with settling. You may also detect uneven areas on the floor or sense that you are walking slightly downhill in certain parts of the house. On the outside, you may see cracks in the foundation or bricks.
Fortunately, these visible (and expensive) signs of a problem can be prevented with a thorough inspection of the crawlspace that will enable you to get the necessary repairs done.
Presence of Pests
We’ve mentioned how excess moisture can support colonies of destructive termites, but even a normal level of moisture in a crawlspace will allow these pests to thrive. A crawl space inspection is the only way to know that there are termites present.
Larger pests can be present as well. Mice, rats, and many other mammals and even reptiles can take up residence under your home without your knowledge. Not only is it unpleasant to have these squatters in your crawlspace, but it is also destructive to the home.
Rodents in particular may chew up insulation or floorboards as they build their nests. They could also do damage to the wiring for your home’s electricity, telephone, internet, or TV cable. A qualified inspector can identify the signs that these pests are present and help you determine the best way to eliminate them.
Condition of Home Systems
The crawlspace is a handy area to conceal some of your home’s large or unsightly features. Ductwork, wiring, junction boxes, plumbing, and many other systems are installed in the crawlspace to keep them out of the way of the living space and to make those finished areas look nicer.
Unfortunately, out of sight can often mean out of mind. Unless you’ve experienced a problem with one of these systems, chances are that you think nothing about them.
That’s where a crawl space inspection can benefit you. The process will give you an early warning about problems with many home systems that may not have come to a head yet. You may find a small plumbing leak that has been costing you extra water each month.
There could be a leak in your ductwork that allows expensive climate-controlled air to blow out into the crawlspace. Many other things could be quietly going wrong under the floor, and your inspection will find them before they cause real problems.
Good home maintenance means taking care of the entire home, not just the part that’s easy to see or easy to get to. Having a professional crawl space inspection done could save you a lot of money, and if you’re selling, the information will help bring you stronger offers. Don’t let this out-of-the-way area go unattended. Check on getting a crawl space inspection today.