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How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

   A crawl space can be anywhere from 12-inches to several feet tall. The best way to understand one is to think of it as a mini-basement, because a crawl space has many of the same pros and cons as a basement:

PROS

  1. Easy access for plumbing repair to both supply and drain piping that would otherwise be under a concrete slab in a newer home. Running new electrical wiring is easier too.

  2. An elevated floor makes a home look more substantial.

  3. Some crawl spaces are suitable for storage, but the moisture in the soil keeps the air in a crawl very humid in Florida unless well ventilated.

  4. Insulation can be installed under floor and maintained as necessary.

CONS

  1. If you Google® “crawl space,” the first listings you will see on the page are ads for crawl space repair specialists, because of the many moisture related problems that crawl spaces in Florida are prone to have. Water vapor rises continuously out of the soil and must be must be exhausted through either passive or active ventilation, otherwise wood rot and mold growth develop. An alternative is to have a professional seal the ground with plastic sheeting. 

  2. An elevated wood floor is not as handicapped-accessible as a concrete slab on grade.

  3. Critters like raccoons and snakes see a crawl space as a potential comfy, secure home. The access panel and vents must be carefully maintained, and examining a crawl space can be a wildlife safari adventure.

  4. Subterranean termites can run mud tubes up the inside surface of the walls and columns undetected in a crawl space. Most older homes have metal termite guard strips installed to deter them, but they are not 100% effective.

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  To learn more valuable strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

  1. How can I make sure I don’t get screwed on my home inspection?

  2. Should I trust the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement?

  3. Can I do my own home inspection?

  4. How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a home over a sinkhole?

  5. What makes a house fail the home inspection?

  6. The seller gave me an old home inspection report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector?

  7. Why are expired building permits a problem for both the buyer and seller of a home?   

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

  1. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

  2. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  3. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

  4. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  5. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

  6. What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property?

  7. What problems should I look when when buying a house that has been moved?

  8. What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

  9. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  10. What should I look for when buying a “flipper” house?

  11. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

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More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Should a home inspection scare you?

  2. What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

  3. Are you licensed and insured?

  4. We looked at the house carefully, and it seems alright. Do we really need a home inspection?

  5. Is a home inspection required?

  6. Should I be there for the inspection?

  7. What tools do you use for a home inspection?

  8. Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection?

  9. The seller has to fix everything you find wrong with the house, right?

  10. Can I do my own home inspection?

  11. Is it still possible to do an inspection if there’s no electricity or water?

  12. What’s the difference between a roof inspection and a roofing estimate?

  13. Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

  14. Do inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

  15. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

  16. What happens at a home inspection?

  17. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

  18. What different types of specialized inspections can I get?

  19. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  20. What is the difference between a building inspector and a home inspector?

  21. What do I need to know about buying a 1950s house?

  22. What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection?

  23. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  24. What is the average lifespan of a house?

  25. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  26. Should I use my realtor’s home inspector or choose one myself?

  27. Should I use a contractor or a home inspector to inspect a house I’m buying?

  28. Should I get a home inspection before signing a contract to buy the house?

  29. Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection?

  30. What is a “continuous load path”?

  31. When did the first Florida Building Code (FBC) begin and become effective?

  32. Should I only hire an inspector that is a member of a national association like ASHi, InterNACHI, or NAHI?

  33. What is a “cosmetic” defect in a home inspection?

  34. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

  35. Should I follow the inspector around during the inspection?

  36. Why do realtors call some home inspectors “deal killers”?

  37. How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

  38. Does my home have to be inspected to get insurance?

  39. Who should pay for the home inspection?

  40. Can you do a home inspection in the rain?

  41. What are the most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) at a home inspection?

  42. What are the common causes of ceiling stains in a house?

  43. What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction?