At a recent inspection of a 6 year old home, I observed that the hardwood floors throughout the first floor of the house were slightly cupped. I continued my interior inspection thinking of what I would find in the crawlspace. I expected to find a muddy mess on the ground and a furry growth all over the wood. I was not looking forward to it.
To my surprise, the crawlspace appeared clean and dry. There was a vapor barrier, but not as much as there should be. Let me note here that we have had one of the driest summers on record, at this point a mild hurricane might not be a bad thing, we really NEED some rain. Further investigation in the crawlspace revealed that the ground was actually slightly moist, not muddy, but I could feel it. Moisture readings in the wood framing were just above the threshold of 19%. I can only imaging what this would be like after a some normal rain.
Confident in my findings, I emerge from the crawlspace prepared to report my findings to my client and their agent. I started at the beginning, the cupped floors. They had both noticed them, but didn't think to ask me if it was normal. In their defense it was minor and had the sun not been shining just right, it would have been easy to miss. I explained my findings in the crawlspace and remarked about the hardwood floors, these two items go hand in hand and left alone would eventually lead to some serious damage to the house. I made some recommendations ranging from a better vapor barrier on the ground, to the installation of a sealed crawlspace system. Further investigation by a waterproofing specialist would determine the best way to go.
I am never one to just pass the buck. The service I provide to my clients and their realtors is just what I would like to have if I were in their shoes. That evening I gathered up my resources to help them make the most informed choice and referred them to some local contractors that would do a quality job.
Everyone was very pleased and I felt great knowing that I helped another client make an informed choice about their purchase. Home inspections are not pass or fail, nor are they supposed to sugar coat the deal. As I always say, "It is what it is" and in the end I do everything possible to help everyone involved.
If you would like to learn more about crawlspaces and the benefits of installing a sealed system I have provided the same links below I provided to my client.
Always happy to help,
Specifically mentions hardwood floors
Department of Energy information
Some great articles
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