Inspecting crawl spaces:
In previous articles, I have talked about foundation walls and water leakage in the basement. This article featuring crawl spaces is also part of the main support of a home.
Inspecting the floor:
Dirt or gravel floors are very common in homes across Essex County. The biggest predicament you face here is the corrosion of framing, piping and duct work due to the high moisture content year round. This factor is even worse if the floor is left uncovered and or lack of ventilation in the area. Any dirt or gravel floor needs to be covered by way of poly, roofing paper, or concrete to prevent extra moisture from entering into this area.
Cross ventilation is the key. Every crawl space needs a minimum of one vent on all four sides of the home. This will prevent moisture from rising up into the floor of your home. One rule of needing a vapor barrier is that 1 square foot of free vent is needed for every 1500 square feet of floor. Without a vapor barrier, 1 square foot of free vent is needed for every 150 to 500 square feet of floor area. So, it means that if you do not have a vapor barrier you need approximately 3 times the amount of wall ventilation.
Rules on vents:
When should you open a vent and when should you close a vent? It really depends on the climate and temperature. I have always been taught from courses obtained; keep the vents open until the big winter freeze comes.
If you have insulation installed in the ceiling of the crawlspace, that’s where you need to have the vapor barrier, stapled under the floor side keeping moisture from entering into the home. If your crawl space is unheated, you should wrap your duct work to help your HVAC system not work so hard to obtain temperature. This will also minimize those extra 5 minutes of cold rushing air coming into the home when the furnace turns on.
Problems to look for:
A typical crawlspace inspection will search for the following. Cracked floor joists, unstable bowing or a leaning wall, cracks in the foundation and blocks and signs of water penetration. Finding any of the above will defiantly tell you a story about your home and action should be taken to repair.
Bob Price Home Inspections Ltd.