Old crawlspace,multiple problems

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Old 03-07-06, 07:45 AM
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Old crawlspace,multiple problems

I've been in my 1962 built home less than a year. It has a crawlspace 19" from dirt to bottom of joist. The previous owner disclosed that there was mold on "a couple" of joists due to a lack of cross-ventilation under the home( only 3 vents on 2 sides) coupled with the low clearance. To remedy this the mold was treated and a fan with ducts was installed. First concern: I notice the louvers on the screened covers are closed and I can't see how to open them as they are bolted into the masonry and the back side goes into the duct work. I don't believe they are hooked to a thermostat that would open/close them as I don't see any wiring. A couple of months ago I heard a pop in the bathroom and the floor immediately began to sag. When I pulled the fiberglass insulation from between the joists to investigate I could see mold covering the joists and subfloor. I got a structural engineer out and we climbed back under the house. It was his opnion that the damage to the subfloor and the presence of the mold was due to water damage from a leaking shower and toilet. After pulling the insulation away at several other locations he found the presence of mold at all of these places also. This despite a letter from a company saying that they only found mold on 2 joists and that it had been successfully treated. Second concern: Is the mold treatment company or my home inspector liable to fix the mold problem? If not how can I do it? The engineer said they'd balk claiming they can't be expected to look under all the insulation. Both the engineer and a plumber I'd had out to do some work charged extra because the crawl space is so tight. The additional ventilation ducts make it impossible to get under. Third concern: Is it possible to dig the crawl space 6-10" deeper to improve ventilation and so every sub won't charge so much to get in there? Lastly, once the mold is treated would it make sense to have polyurethane foam sprayed between the joists to insulate and prevent moisture from getting to the wood? BTW there is a 3-ply vapor barrier in place. Thanks for any advice.
Mike
 
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Old 03-07-06, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
Old crawlspace,multiple problems

You referred to a "home inspector". If this was the person that inspected the home prior to you purchasing the home, that isnspection is limited to a visual inpection of what can be seen and those appliances/switches/valves that can be operated. One of the reasons, is that you do not own the home at the time you hired the inspector, so you did not have the right to move/remove things or dismantle anything. This is why a home inspection is only $250 to $350 for a $200,000 house.

Your structural engineer is not a mold expert, but may have had enough experience with mold and wood rotting to make some sort of a judgement. If you want a mold inspection, go to an expert, but NEVER to a company that does mold remediation work.

Dick
 
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