Looking for a home to buy can be as exciting as it can be stressful. The condition of a home’s crawl space, as such, probably isn’t high up on your list of concerns. It should be, though, if you want to avoid unexpected repair costs later down the line. While you can purchase a home with a damaged crawl space, you’ll want to go into the agreement with a clear understanding of what kind of problems you’ll be contending with and how they may affect your quality of life.
The Condition of Homes with Damaged Crawl Spaces
Your crawl space has more sway over the health of your home than its size might suggest. If your crawl space starts to leak or flood, you’ll see the effects of that damage throughout the rest of your home.
For example, a leaking crawl space often puts your home’s structural supports at risk. If you leave dampness in your crawl space unattended, you could find yourself contending with bowing walls, bouncy floors, and other conditions that make your home unsafe to live in. These kinds of problems can significantly reduce a home’s market value, meaning that it will be more difficult and less financially lucrative for you to sell that home you’re looking at to another owner.
The good news is that the home you’re looking at will likely be more affordable than comparable homes in the area. However, you’ll want to work with a professional to assess the kind of damage you’re looking at before committing to a purchase. This way, you can take potential repairs into account when presenting an offer.
Damaged Crawl Spaces and Your Health
Crawl space moisture doesn’t just impact your home’s health, however. It can also impact yours. The more moisture gathers in your home, the more likely that dampness is to circulate up into your upper levels. This is the result of the stack effect, which sees heavier air force lighter air out of a space if it becomes too overwhelming.
That moisture allows mold spores, which enter your home through your air vents, to settle and grow. This means that your children, spouse, or roommates may start to experience respiratory issues, whether they previously had problems or were otherwise healthy. Black mold, in particular, is among the most dangerous molds that can take root in your home, and it thrives when it has access to a steady stream of moisture, warmth, and darkness.
Inspecting a Home’s Crawl Space
What can you do if you want to determine what condition a potential home’s crawl space is in? While it’s best for you to reach out to a professional contractor to schedule a thorough inspection, you can also look around a potential home for signs of damage yourself. Some of the most obvious signs of water damage in a home’s crawl space 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 signs can also indicate that something may be wrong with a home’s foundation. When in doubt, talk to the home’s owner about its overall condition. If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, you can reach out to a professional prior to purchasing a home to determine what kind of repairs you might have to invest in after moving in.
Repairing and Protecting a Damaged Crawl Space
It is in your best interest to repair any damage done to a home’s crawl space after settling in. If you leave that damage to sit and fester, it’s likely to destabilize your home and, as mentioned, put the health of your family at risk.
Luckily, the professional contractors serving Orlando, Florida can help you get your new home’s crawl space damage under control. First, you can work to patch the leak or otherwise separate your home from the source of your unwanted moisture. Then you can browse a catalog of potential waterproofing measures to determine which may best help you prevent future damage to your crawl space.
Some of the most effective waterproofing measures for your crawl space include:
- Interior drainage
- Sump pumps
- Encapsulation with a vapor barrier
- Waterproof insulation
Note that while it may be tempting to try and DIY a crawl space repair job, doing so is not in your best interest. Trying to repair your crawl space without professional assistance can result in significant costs and errors on your part. Should you eventually have to call in a professional, you’ll need to budget not only for your essential repairs but for the cost of your DIY solution’s removal as well.
Purchasing a new home may be stressful, but it’s better to know what you’re getting into while you’re on the hunt. You can reach out to the professionals at Florida Foundation Authority, who serve Orlando, FL, for help determining whether or not the crawl space in the home you’re interested in needs repairs or not. It all starts with a free inspection and repair quote.