What's in Your Columbus Home's Crawl Space?
Most homeowners are aware if their home contains a crawlspace, but what actually is in that crawlspace may be a complete mystery. The crawlspace is an important part of a home’s structure and overall functionality. There are many issues that can begin in a crawlspace that lead to large ones all over the home.
Here is a guide to your crawlspace and making sure you know its condition and how to spot any problems:
What is a Crawl Space?
The crawl space is a narrow gap underneath your home, the space between your floor and the ground. It allows for just enough room for a grown adult to crawl around in. The minimum height requirement of a crawlspace is just 18 inches, but they can be as much as 3 feet.
The small amount of space combined with dark and even sometimes damp areas can be a potential for mold, pests, standing water and more that create issues in the home. Inspectors say getting into the crawlspace is the most dangerous part of a home inspection.
Crawl Spaces vs. Slab Foundations
"A slab foundation means a home is built directly on a concrete platform on the ground. Both types of home bases have pros and cons. Houses on slabs do not have the potential for issues in a crawl space, but the crawl space allows for wiring, plumbing, heating ducts, etc. to have more simple access. Houses on crawlspaces are also less likely to flood." Kris Larson - Southern Utah Real Estate
Crawl Space vs. Basement
A basement allows for an underground foundation and enough room for people to stand up on the lowest level of the home. The most common height requirement for basements is 8 feet. Basements allow for the easiest access to wiring, plumbing, and ductwork and can be finished out for extra livable square footage. In areas of high water, a basement can easily flood.
What is Found in a Crawl Space?
Floor joists: the floor serves as the ceiling to the crawlspace. The joists are on the underside of the subfloor supporting it and holding it up.
Footings: Concrete blocks that are partially in the ground serving as a base to the home.
Beams and girder: these are larger than floor joists and carry most of the weight of the entire structure of the home. The girder is the main beam most often in the middle of the underside of the floor.
Pier: a vertical post or block that supports the girder and the beams connected to the footings
Vents: every crawlspace should have ventilation to let air flow through
Insulation: usually between floor joists and along a wall helping energy efficiency
Plumbing: allows for easy access for repairs
Wiring: again for easy repair access
Ducts: this helps to avoid having to place unsightly ducts above the ceiling or exposed in the interior of the home
Vapor barrier: looks like a plastic sheet covering the entire space helping with a clean appearance and reducing moisture risk
Common Issues in Crawl Spaces
Moisture: high humidity, heavy rain, condensation from plumbing, all cause moisture in a crawlspace. This can lead to mold and larger issues.
Leaks: plumbing fixtures can leak and cause large issues like flooding and moisture problems.
Mold: a cause of standing moisture issues that can grow into a health hazard
Structure damage: a damaged footer or broken beam and cause sloping floors and an unsafe home overall
Insulation: no insulation means heat and air conditioning leaks or cracked plumbing in cold weather
Pests: this is a very cozy place for several unwanted visitors to settle into your home like mice, rats, termites, raccoons, etc.
Crawlspace fixes can be costly. It is a good idea to have a professional come and check out the condition of your crawlspace periodically to ensure there is nothing out of place and be proactive with any issues.
For more information on homes for sale in Columbus and surrounding areas please contact us any time.