Crawl spaces may not be as versatile as basements, but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. If you’re in Cincinnati, OH, you can easily use your crawl space to store seasonal belongings or old family heirlooms.
If you haven’t already, though, you should think about getting your crawl space inspected. Why? Because while the untrained eye may be able to catch some faults in a crawl space, you won’t be able to catch them all.
But is the inspection really worth the cost if your crawl space isn’t flooding?
What Crawl Space Inspectors Look For
Inviting a stranger, even if they’re a professional, into your home is always a little strange. It’ll be easier to understand what your inspector is doing, though, if you have an idea of what they’re looking for while exploring your crawl space.
Inspectors want to make sure that your crawl space is as safe and clean as possible. With that in mind, they keep an eye out for the following:
- Insect infestations
- Mold clusters
- Wiring malfunctions
- Foundation cracks
- The presence of asbestos or other unhealthy materials
- Framing problems
- Vapor barriers
If you’ve had your crawl space inspected and waterproofed with a vapor barrier in the past, these inspections will likely go smoothly. However, do note that vapor barriers can show their age over time. Your inspector will be able to tell you if your vapor needs to be replaced, and they should be able to quote you a price for your replacement.
Alternatively, if this is the first time you’re having your crawl space inspected, let your inspector know. They’ll look over your space more thoroughly to create a crawl space profile. This way, they’ll be able to recommend better waterproofing solutions so you can avoid unnecessary installations.
What to Expect From a Crawl Space Inspection
A practiced inspector will break your inspection down into three phases: entry, a superficial inspection, and then the full look-over. Each of these steps involves the following:
- Entry – First thing’s first: your inspector needs to be able to get into your crawl space if they’re going to take a look around it. If an inspector can’t safely enter your crawl space, then you’re automatically going to fail your inspection, as your crawl space will have failed to meet its sizing requirements (which state that your entry point must be at least two feet wide and eighteen inches tall).
- Superficial check – Before entering entirely, but upon verifying that your entry point is wide enough, your inspector is going to look through your entry point and crawl space to see if any of the construction materials are exposed. If there are nails out and about or electrical wires that look unprotected, you’re going to fail your crawl space inspection immediately. The same goes for the presence of standing water or the strong smell of mildew.
- Full assessment – Finally, if your inspector can get inside your crawl space safely and without running into exposed construction materials, they’ll conduct a full inspection, as detailed in the previous section.
Failing a crawl space inspection isn’t the end of the world. If you do happen to fail your inspection, though, you’re going to have to work with a Cincinnati, OH, contractor to bring your crawl space up to code.
Are Crawl Space Inspections Worth The Time and Money?
With all of that in mind, is it worth it to commit to a crawl space inspection? After all, it sounds like you could take on a lot of this work yourself.
While it may be tempting to DIY a crawl space inspection, you won’t be able to do as thorough of a job as an inspector unless you have an inspector’s qualifications. Crawl space repair contractors have to receive specific licensure and certifications from the state of Ohio to perform these sorts of inspections. Without that education and background, you won’t be able to detect half of the problems with your crawl space that an inspector might.
What do you do, though, if you’re worried about the cost? Good news! A number of crawl space repair contractors perform free inspections. After finishing the inspection, these contractors will be able to quote you the expected price of repairs, should your crawl space need any.
If you do try to DIY your crawl space inspection in an attempt to avoid spending money, you may be setting yourself up for some serious costs in the long run. If you happen to miss any severe problems with your crawl space during your DIY inspection, those problems may grow until they’re more dangerous – and more expensive – to deal with.