When was the last time you gave your crawlspace an inspection? The majority of crawlspace problems are much cheaper and easier to fix when they are caught early. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring what’s under the house until it’s either a problem or you’re thinking of selling — take a trip there once or twice a year, and look for these signs.
Moisture is bad enough on its own since it can seep into the foundation of the house and cause damage over time. However, dark and moist environments also offer an excellent breeding ground for mold.
There may be no worse place to get mold than in your crawlspace. Not only is it bad for the structure of the entire house, but due to the way air currents work, most of the air in your house goes through your crawlspace at some point.
Air will carry mold spores into your home. Meaning that crawlspace mold will reduce the air quality of the entire house and may have severe effects on people who suffer from asthma or allergies in general, especially children.
Keep an eye out for moisture in your crawlspace, especially after it rains. You can detect it in the air if you have a good nose, you can also touch the ground and the walls looking for wet spots.
2. Rats, insects, and other pests
Rats are always bad news. If you find them in your crawlspace it may be worse, since they may be getting in through a gap underneath the foundation of your home. If left unchecked they can become an infestation down there.
The same goes for spiders, cockroaches, and even raccoons in some areas. They are all liable to make your home into their home if left unattended. Keep an eye out for those plagues, as well as signs of their presence, such as animal feces, holes on the ground or walls of the crawlspace, etc.
3. Wood rot
Rot can be a very costly problem. This form of fungus grows inside the wood, weakening it as it spreads. The good news is that there are lots of chemical products on the market that can kill and remove rot from wood.
The bad news is that these methods don’t work when rot damage is too extensive. Detecting the early signs of wood rot can save you the expense of having to replace huge chunks of a house’s foundation.
There are two types of rot that may affect your crawlspace: wet rot and dry hot. Signs of wet rot include the wood becoming darker, feeling soft or spongy when pressed, and the appearance of cracks in the affected area, as well as localized fungus growth, which may lead to the appearance of a mushroom-looking body.
Dry rot will also cause wood to feel weak and spongy. This tends to be a more destructive variety of rot, but it’s also easier to spot due to the growth of the mycelium — a white substance that looks a bit like cotton or wool and clings to the affected wood. If you spot that, or any other sort of fungal growth, get a professional involved.