Hello and welcome. This is Nolan Formalarie with DiscoverNChomes and Nolan’s News and as always, thank you for listening. I want to talk about the topic of crawl spaces that I’ve talked about numerous times before, but I wanted to touch on it again because we’re still seeing many issues and difficulties in transactions with crawl spaces – I’m going to say – that haven’t been maintained.
A crawl space in itself is a wonderful thing. What is a crawl space? A crawl space is your foundation. That’s what your home is built on. So when you build a home with a crawl space, you’ll have compacted dirt, and then you’ll have your foundation walls. And typically there are going to be vents along those foundation walls. 10 – 15 – 20 years ago, down south, where we’re at, Southeastern North Carolina, this was a very typical way to build a home. And you have vents around the foundation exteriors. Certain times of year, you would open these vents to let in air flow, and then other times of year you would close these events. It’s kind of an older school way of building.
You still see plenty of crawlspace built, but now you’ll see where they’re conditioned, with either heating and air going right into it or dehumidifiers put in place. So it solves a problem that we’ve come up with, I’m not going to say older homes, but homes built in that 10 to 20 year period before today.
Crawl space – we’re in Southeastern North Carolina – we have humidity. You have a mix of hot and cold air, and it almost creates an environment in your crawl space like a rainforest. That can create a big problem. In a moist environment, you have fungus that can grow, mildew that can grow, the very bad M word – mold – that can grow. And it also creates a great environment for pesky little termites. So there are a lot of bad things if you don’t properly condition your crawl space.
Now, a lot of homeowners already know this and we’ve again, I’ve talked about it before. So a home that was built maybe 15, 20 years ago, the vents have been sealed off. There’s been a layer of plastic that was either already put there or is there and a dehumidifier pulls out the moisture. Now, this solves the problem, but if the home has done this years later, and in many cases, this is the case because they weren’t built with the dehumidifier put in place, you’ve already had the mold, the mildew, or the fungus growth.
I have seen this on a number of home inspections and would love to – if you guys follow the link, we’ll show you some pictures of what this looks like. It’s actually a wood fungus. It is white and black. I’m not sure whether in dormancy it’s one color or the other, but it’s not the best looking.
A home inspector will look at this and sometimes call it the mold word when it’s not the mold. This can be remedied. So my note here is to buyers: if you’re buying a crawlspace home and it has already a dehumidifier, make sure you look for this or your home inspector looks for this or your termite inspector looks for this on your floor joist. Sellers, if you’ve already gotten the dehumidifier, many, many companies have not done the cleaning, which it needs. It’s very easy to do. You can hire a handyman or a termite company. Most of them call be a call it a microbial wash where literally they scrubbed the floor joists down, with the microbial washes and antifungus mold mildew growth inhibitor so it doesn’t come back.
But again, if the dehumidifier’s already in place, you’ve already solved the problem. This is just the leftover remnant. But it can really foul up if you will, a transaction! A lot of folks who were buying down here don’t know about this, and when they see this, they freak out because they think it could be mold. So it’s an easy problem to overcome as a seller. Just make sure you have someone check on it and get it cleaned if you need to. As buyers, I would say, try not to freak out about it because it’s a very common problem and it can be remedied. So again, I know we’ve talked bunches on crawlspace. The dehumidifier is great, but just make sure you look for the fungus or the mold underneath.
If you have any more questions, let me know. I’ve gone in hundreds of crawl spaces so I know exactly what I’m looking for. See if you need any help, please contact us. Thank you so much.
If you are interested in buying a home in the Brunswick area in North Carolina, check out our search page.