Home Inspection......It's a Dangerous Job!

By
Home Inspector with Fort Worth Home Inspectors - Green Tag Inspections

Razor Blades in the Crawlspace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was inspecting a crawlspace of a home in an older neighborhood and while I was crawling around under the bathroom area, I kept feeling something strange under my body......not exactly dirt or a liquid but slippery. To my surprise as I shined my flashlight around me, I realized that I was lying on a thick bed of literally hundreds of double edge razor blades! I carefully rolled off them and took this picture. The ones you can see are the ones that slid down the small hill, there were many more above on the flat area. I have always heard about the slot in the rear of old medicine cabinets that people used to deposit used razor blades, but never ran into this before. There is no telling how many of these blades were in the wall cavity that didn't make their way to the crawlspace floor. I am always careful to suit up with the proper protective clothing with gloves included, but this will prompt me to make sure I get my tetanus shot updated. They say every 10 years, I'm sure it's been longer. When customers ask why I charge extra for pier & beam homes, I mention spiders, snakes, possums and pesticides. Now I can add another danger....razor blades!

Home Inspection....it's a dangerous job, but somebody's gotta do it!

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Rainmaker
328,623
Sara Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty 352-209-4044 - Ocala, FL
Realtor, Homes, Farms & 55+

Kent, That is really scary!  I had a coral snake around my house when I first moved in.  I was grateful that my home inspector didn't encounter it!!!  I don't envy your job.

Aug 21, 2008 01:13 PM #2
Rainmaker
395,619
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Yikes!  We have a ton of pier and beam homes here and most of them are older, so I'm sure that there are all kinds of hazards under there.  But, I never would have expected that!

Aug 21, 2008 01:14 PM #3
Ambassador
1,293,944
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Kent, we just never can "predict" when we have to be careful, so we have to be careful all the time.

Aug 21, 2008 01:23 PM #4
Rainer
218,302
Lisa Friedman
Alliance Realtors - Bedminster, NJ
Central New Jersey Real Estate

Being from New Jersey I have to ask - What is a "pier and beam" house??

Aug 21, 2008 01:32 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,439,755
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, a PLR affiliate - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Do you wear some kind of protective jumper over your clothes when you are in crawl spaces?  If so, I hope it's thick enough to not allow things like this to puncture you.

Aug 21, 2008 01:43 PM #6
Rainer
122,365
Jim Albano
Prudential Damiano Realty - Little Falls, NJ
Team - Jean-Marie Vantuno / Realtors North Jersey Real Estate

Kent, that was a real close shave! You were very lucky not to have been cut by one of those rusty things. You guys must see just about everything over your careers.

Aug 21, 2008 01:48 PM #7
Rainer
12,575
Kent Keith
Fort Worth Home Inspectors - Green Tag Inspections - Fort Worth, TX
Home Inspector Fort Worth TX-

Lisa, in this area we mostly have contrete slab foundations but many of the older homes have pier & beam foundations. The foundations have a concrete perimeter with piers that extend from the ground to the wood floor beams that run along the floor's underside. See this link for example:

http://www.repairfoundations.com/id12.html

 

 

 

 

Aug 21, 2008 02:10 PM #8
Rainer
12,575
Kent Keith
Fort Worth Home Inspectors - Green Tag Inspections - Fort Worth, TX
Home Inspector Fort Worth TX-

Donna, Yes I wear a jump suit, a respirator, helmet and thankfully I remembered gloves on this one.

Aug 21, 2008 02:12 PM #9
Rainer
218,302
Lisa Friedman
Alliance Realtors - Bedminster, NJ
Central New Jersey Real Estate

Kent, thank you for the link - that explains it perfectly.  We do not have that here in New Jersey.

Aug 21, 2008 02:31 PM #10
Rainer
122,365
Jim Albano
Prudential Damiano Realty - Little Falls, NJ
Team - Jean-Marie Vantuno / Realtors North Jersey Real Estate

Sorry Kent to hijack your post but I wanted to respond to Lisa. Actually we do have that type of construction here in NJ, most often it can be found at the shore. It's usually called pier and post construction here.

Aug 21, 2008 02:43 PM #11
Rainer
218,302
Lisa Friedman
Alliance Realtors - Bedminster, NJ
Central New Jersey Real Estate

Jim, I've never seen it (or noticed it if I have).  I'm in Somerset County where most homes have regular basements or slabs.  Guess it makes sense though for homes near the water - that way the water can roll underneath during a flood and not flood the house.  I guess that is the intention anyway.

Thanks for the info guys - you learn something new every day.

Aug 21, 2008 02:49 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,202,839
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Keller Williams Legacy - Woods Cross, UT
The C Team

Scary, I hope that you weren't cut!  I can't imagine why someone would throw the razor blades under the house instead of in the trash

Aug 21, 2008 03:16 PM #13
Rainer
12,575
Kent Keith
Fort Worth Home Inspectors - Green Tag Inspections - Fort Worth, TX
Home Inspector Fort Worth TX-

Tony & Darcy, the research I did indicated that many of the medicine cabinets in these old houses had a slot in the back of the cabinet that many people put their razor blades into to dispose of them. They would fall back into the wall and these fell under the house from the bathroom.

Aug 21, 2008 03:25 PM #14
Anonymous
Mamie www.dearbabyboomer.com

Kent-Great picture! You are obviously too young to remember falling asleep at night wondering what was going to happen when all those razor blades filled up the wall.  It's as if I'm seeing that my fear wasn't so silly after all.  : )

 

~Mamie

Aug 22, 2008 01:09 AM #15
Rainmaker
179,704
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Thanks Kent.  You know I never thought about the possibility.  Since I do mostly older homes I will keep my eyes open and my gloves on.

Aug 22, 2008 05:06 AM #16
Rainmaker
282,892
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

I guess they didn't do home inspections back then.  Go figure.

Aug 25, 2008 12:56 PM #17
Rainer
14,262
Jessica Cox
Perfectly Polished Home - Dallas, TX
Dallas Home Staging

Okay, hold up! If I weren't on the rain so stinking late I could call gram and pops and get the story, but since I am sitting here at 11p, I have to ask you all:

Did they actually build the medicine cabinet with a razor blade disposal slot or was this something people just did?

 

Sep 03, 2008 04:23 PM #18
Rainer
12,575
Kent Keith
Fort Worth Home Inspectors - Green Tag Inspections - Fort Worth, TX
Home Inspector Fort Worth TX-

Jessica, that's a good question. I have seen many old medicine cabinets that have the slot in the back, but have never seen one that said "insert blade here". I can't believe that they would make a cabinet with this intention, but what else was the slot for? Let me know if Gram & Pops can shed more light! nite nite

Kent Keith

Sep 03, 2008 04:31 PM #19
Rainer
10,094
Jacques Mountain
Dream Home Inspections/203K Consultant - Fayetteville, GA
Inspector/203K Consultant

Do you ever come across any crawl spaces that you don't enter?

Sep 22, 2008 03:33 PM #20
Rainer
12,575
Kent Keith
Fort Worth Home Inspectors - Green Tag Inspections - Fort Worth, TX
Home Inspector Fort Worth TX-

Robert, I have refused to go in a few, but only because of water in the crawlspace. With electrical under under there, is would be dumb to enter, even if I were to turn off the main. I did a house last year that was a swimming pool - about 6-8 inches of water.

Kent Keith

Fort Worth Home Inspector

Sep 23, 2008 01:58 AM #21
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Kent Keith

Home Inspector Fort Worth TX-
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