When you purchase a new home, taking care of the crawl space may not be the first thing on your mind. If you don’t have your crawl space inspected, the detriments therein could cause you problems in the years to come.
What does a crawl space inspection entail, and when do you need one?
The Benefits of a Crawl Space Inspection
Your crawl space may be small, but it’s an important and sensitive part of your home. If you don’t actively take care of your crawl space, it can cause problems throughout the whole of your home. A leaking or damaged crawl space can lead to:
- Insect infestations
- Excessive moisture
- Mold growth
- Foundation cracks
- Leftover asbestos or hazardous materials
- Bowing framework
- Failing vapor barriers
- Wiring malfunctions
When Should You Schedule Your Crawl Space Inspection?
There isn’t a specific date by which a new homeowner needs to schedule a crawl space inspection. Even so, you shouldn’t assume that your crawl space is safe as soon as you move into a new place.
Florida sees most of its rain during the late spring and early summer, but there’s also always the threat of hurricanes during hurricane season. With that in mind, you’ll want to try and schedule a crawl space inspection within at least three months of moving into your new place. If you’re worried about the cost of repairs, you can use this period of leeway to save up a repair fund and prepare yourself for what might need fixing.
Even so, you’ll want to call an inspector sooner if you notice signs of damage throughout your home. Some examples of obvious indicators include:
- Warping door frames
- Misted windows
- Unpleasant smells throughout your home
- Higher water or electric bills than usual
- Decreased water pressure throughout your home
- Insects or unwanted animal invaders
Note that these symptoms can also indicate foundation damage. You’ll want to call a crawl space or foundation contractor to determine what, specifically, may be causing problems throughout your home.
What Do Crawl Space Inspectors Do?
When you have a crawl space inspector out to your home, you may not know what to expect. Luckily, most crawl space inspectors will walk you through the inspection so you can stay on top of your home’s health.
Most inspectors break the inspection process down into three phases:
- Early Inspections – Crawl space inspections don’t begin in your crawl space. Instead, they begin at the crawl space’s entry point. Your crawl space needs to be at least two feet wide and 18 inches tall. If your crawl space’s entry is smaller than that, or if it’s obviously unsafe, inspectors will fail your crawl space and require that you better support the entrance before heading indoors.
- Superficial Inspections – If an inspector can safely make his way into your crawl space, then he’ll perform an initial superficial inspection. During this phase of the inspection, inspectors look for anything glaringly and obviously wrong with your space. This means mold clusters, structural damage, disconnected electrical circuits, and so on. If an inspector is able to spot anything straight off the bat, your crawl space will fail its inspection, and you’ll be required to get it back up to code before the inspection can continue.
- Full Inspections – Finally, after a superficial inspection, inspectors will begin to explore your crawl space for weak spots. By identifying these spots, inspectors can let you know what kind of damage or problems you may have to deal with in the future. At the same time, inspectors can recommend waterproofing solutions that’ll protect your home from that anticipated damage.
Failing a crawl space inspection isn’t the end of the world. An inspector’s goal is never to make you feel bad about your home. Instead, they aim solely to protect your home from water damage or other crawl space detriments. As mentioned, inspectors will be able to recommend waterproofing measures and provide you with a free quote on potential installation services.
Do you want a professional to come out and take a look at your crawl space? Contact Alpha Foundations today for a free inspection and estimate.