Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Interior Improvement Center > Basements, Attics and Crawl Spaces
Reload this Page >

buying a house with damp crawlspace and mold/fungi

buying a house with damp crawlspace and mold/fungi

Reply

  #1  
Old 07-25-03, 06:08 AM
kjh
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
buying a house with damp crawlspace and mold/fungi

After the home inspection yesterday on a house we have on offer on that has been accepted, here are the results and I need some advice on whether or not to continue with the purchase:
1) House is on a sloping lot with foundation blocks 4 high and the right of the house and 2 high on the left side of the house. It sits downward of the rest of the subdivision.
2) There are termite tunnels in the crawlspace, age unknown. It has been treated before (probably 5 years ago when the current owner bought it). Live termites were found in the new mulch around the perimeter of the house. The house itself is only 10 years old. Seller will have to pay for the termite treatment, $900.
3) The crawlspace is damp with mold and fungi present that make the house smell musty.
4) There is no plastic in the crawlspace or the foundation walls but it does have about 4" of peagravel throughout the crawlspace. House size is 1200 sq feet. The vents were all closed and the inspector opened them. The house has been empty for several months (owner deceased and family now selling to settle the estate).
5) There is evidence of a couple of new floor joists having been replaced although we don't know when.
6) No humidifier or sump pump was found.
7) Gutters are all clear with downspouts going into the ground and away from the home. We did find some type of "mesh" on the ground around the outside of the foundation where landscaping was done and figured it was to keep the mulch from washing away.
Questions:
How often should it be re-inspected/treated for termites?
What is the appoximate cost of fixing the moisture problem and how successful is the repair? How often do we recheck to see if it is working or not.
House is in southern Indiana...humid in the summer months.
As far as hiring the work done....lots of businesses advertise in the local yellow pages, how do know who is good and who does a "quick fix". Any organizations/certificationswe should check?
I know this is lengthy but we really got screwed on the first house we bought (definetly a money pit) and we don't want to make the same mistake again. Thanks for all your advice.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 07-25-03, 07:23 AM
kjh
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
6) No Dehumidifier was found
Also, when putting in the plastic, will we need to remove all the peagravel or put the plastic on top of it?
 
  #3  
Old 07-25-03, 04:01 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,389
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
crawl way

Go to http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuild...ges/h00107.asp

This should give you what you want to know.

I would do the termite deal first. Then yes leave the peagravel there. put down a 6 mil poly on the ground. Over lap it 2' and duct tape the seams up the wall with it 2'. put 2" foam or polystyrene on the walls. Cut blocks of R19 insulation to fit on the sill platein the joist all around the home.Cose all vents you dont want the warm air to come in on the cool gravel and just make it wet. Now you dont say is the duct work down there also for heat and cool?. If not you do want to put a dehumidifier down there ED
 
  #4  
Old 07-26-03, 05:20 AM
kjh
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
crawlspace dampness

Yes, the duct work for the furnace and cental air are in the crawlspace as well as plumbing. We found a bathtub drainpipe that was not even hooked up, it may have come loose on its own or maybe knocked loose when someone was under there. The link you posted was great, I'll be sure hubby sees it as I think we will try to do it ourselves if possible. We want to build an addition right away but if the money is better spent on moisture control that we can't do ourselves then the added room and garage will just have to wait for awhile. I think the quicker we fix this problem then the less damage will occur even over a year or two.
 
  #5  
Old 07-27-03, 04:03 AM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Cool

If your home is downhill, water will flow to it both above ground and below ground in periods of heavy rain. You should be able to tell if this has been a problem in the past (French drain or sump pump and trenches around perimeter either outside foundation or under house.)
Termites are subterranean, and there can be active termites in mulch or even a stump loaded with them right next to a foundation, and if the house is properly treated, they can't get in it. However, having a termite treatment done now is an excleent idea. Most treatments are only good for 10 years. Have it inspected annually. The pest control operator who does the treatment will provide a treatment report and probably offer you an annual inspection contract. Take it (annual inspeciton fee).
Most General Home Inspectors, contractors and pest control operators that I deal with now recommend that crawlspace vents be left open year-round for ventilation. Heat loss from the ductwork during freezing weather supposedly will keep the pipes from freezing. (The floor joists most likely have been replaced to repair damage from a water leak from above. and not ground and air moisture in the crawlspace.)
I built my home in 1977. The air and ground moisture here is very high. I had a crawlspace moisture problem for years with condensation dripping off of my ductwork and pipes.
The air is so humid (waterfront) that crawlspace insulation and a ground moisture barrier would have been useless, although the floor itself is insulated.
I don't have any plastic moisture barrier, sump pump or dehumidifier under there, but I solved the condensation (mold and mildew) problem years ago.
I installed a 10" louvered exhaust fan in the crawlspace door and leave the fan on 24/7 and the vents open year-round EXCEPT in hard-freezing weather. Keeps it bone dry under there. Ventilation is the key.
The fan cost about $130, and the only maintenance required is to oil the little 1/30th HP motor every other month. Hardly uses any electricity (about like a light bulb). The CFM capacity of the fan is about twice what was recommended by the manufacturer for my crawlspace.
Multiply the height (ground to bottom of subfloor including floor joists) X width X length to get the cubic footage of your crawlspace and get a vent fan designed for an area above that.
I built a new crawlspace door out of pressure-treated plywood and p-t 2X4s for the fan, and put hardware cloth and screen wire on the outside of the louvers to keep out unwanted critters, etc., but not many are going to try to get in through a running fan.
Good Luck!
 
  #6  
Old 07-27-03, 05:28 AM
kjh
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
swales??

We did notice what I think is called a swale in the back yard. The house sits on .96 of an acre and there is a trench like depression running from the driveway area down and across the backyard. It is about 8" wide and not real deep but it is grass covered. You can see the depression but I didn't measure it. I figured this was to divert any potential standing water away from the house and down the the woods. This is the area where we plan to add a pole barn attached to the house by a 12x18 addition. Should we anticipate any problems with adding on? Maybe we should put the same type of thing down each side of the property instead of running across the backyard where we want to build. All of it will run downhill regardless of where we put them since the land is sloping.
Thanks for the advice about the fan, hadn't thought of that and we can try it first. If dampness is still a problem then we could go ahead with the plastic, etc.
 
  #7  
Old 07-27-03, 06:32 AM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,952
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Cool

A swale will carry a lot of water away, and if you build over an existing one, you want to replace it uphill from all structures. Make it wide enough so that it can easily be mowed.
I got my louvered exhaust fan ("dairy barn or greenhouse exhaust fan") through www.grainger.com .
Good Luck!
 
  #8  
Old 07-27-03, 09:49 AM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,389
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My .02 cents here

Like that www I gave you. We have had to rework crawl ways time and time again to get them dry. The gov www said to close the vents up. You said that the duct work is in the crawl way for the heat and AC. Now that is the way we have put them in for years and years. We do put registers in the duct work for outlets and also a return one . This keeps the crawl way dry and warm all year with NO vents open. You will find that this makes the whole crawlway like one big heat sink and warm floors cost less to heat and cool. Do build a wide swale out back or up the hill so the water will go away from the home. As far as insulation in the floor joist I cant count all of the homes we have had to take this out because it was bad .
I have did homes over the ground lets say. But we build the joist on just pads off the ground and close in the bottom of the joist. put insulation in the joist and then on top of the joist put a 6 mil poly over the whole floor joist setup. Put the subfloor down on this and then the finish floor. Now if you think about it this floor setup is just the same as the outside walls in the home thats why this works and you could say all the vents are open this way
Im sorry but there is no way I would blow warm humid air into a cool crawl way. As far as insulation in the joist that is a no no. The insulation companys have tried every way to make insulation for this but found out it dont work. Most of the homes are right on the lake and the ground is damp clay here in MO. ED
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: