Need Advice with Crawl Space under All Seasons Room


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Old 06-11-14, 07:02 PM
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Need Advice with Crawl Space under All Seasons Room

This is my first post and I'm just looking for some advice. Thanks in advance.

So recently I purchased a new home that has a porch converted to an all seasons room. The bank appraisal and realty company list it as a bedroom which I'm learning is somewhat suspect.

The room is about 200 square feet, it has a carpet and heating inside.

The problem with the room is that it smells really musty, its unbearable in fact. Underneath the room is a crawl space but not in the traditonal sense. The space has a wooden frame around it with no holes for ventilation. The ground in the space is just dirt. I understand that the moisture is coming into the room and causing the smell.

I've had two different companies come look at it and they both gave me different recommendations.

The first recommendation was to simply install a vapor barrier over the ground and tact the barrier to the wooden frame. They said it may also need a dehumidifier. I was quoted at 600 dollars for the barrier and they said it was too cheap for them to do this job.

The next company suggested I install a barrier above the ground underneath the floor itself. They also said to get rid of the wooden frame and install framing with holes in it for ventilation. This will cost me about 1200. I asked this company about the vapor barrier and they said it would cost about 2700, no idea how they came up with that number.

I'm not sure which way to go on this. Looking for some advice.

I'm also disappointed in the appraisal from the bank for calling this a bedroom and the inspector for not pointing out this problem which is very evident by examining the situation for about 30 seconds.
 
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Old 06-12-14, 05:07 AM
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Both are valid approaches and each has it's pro's and con's though I consider attaching a vapor barrier to the bottom of the joists and ventilating the crawl space the best. Unfortunately it's the most work and most expensive. If you choose that route I'd also consider insulating the floor before installing the barrier. I'm not going to comment on the price quoted as it can vary greatly from one region to another. Here in tiny town NC it's pretty inexpensive.

It sounds like the $600 price to simply lay plastic on the ground was their way of saying it's too small a job for them so if they do it they'll get paid well. If that's the approach you want to take I would certainly do it myself as it's very easy and requires no special tools or skills.
 
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Old 06-12-14, 08:20 AM
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Before you do anything you will need to confirm how that addition was constructed and if there was a permit pulled for the work. From your description it does not sound like a permitted job and if so, then someone should have caught that and someone else may be responsible for fixing it. All permits are on file at your local code office.

Of concern is what is holding that addition up? There needs to be proper supports and proper framing and an inspection would have spotted anything not done correctly. When there is just wood around the perimeter, I know of no code that would allow that. In addition the issue of insulation and vapor barriers should have been resolved during construction. If this was an illegal addition then the seller may be the one on the hook. A lot of "ifs".

If this was an approved addition and there are footings at least 4' under ground, then I can go into more detail on your question. Opening up that space to ventilation with supports resting on the exposed ground will certainly result in frost lifting it up.

Bud
 
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Old 06-12-14, 10:44 AM
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It sounds like option number 2 is best if I go through with it. I decided I can install the lattice myself so I should save a few dollars by doing that. There's already insulation there too.

As far as the permit goes, I don't think they obtained one. I checked the property info on the internet and the only improvements listed are for the porch in 1945 and for the garage in 2003. The porch definitely had the frame and interior done in this century. I believe the footings on the corners do go down at least 4 inches tho, they look legitimate at least. Towards the center of the porch there only appear to be cinderblocks, I'm not sure if the footings need to be there as well.

Is it possible the guy who I paid to inspect the house would be liable for this? Possibly even the real estate agent who recommended him?

I'm going to contact the town about the permit but I don't think there is one as I believe I would have found it online. Should I have a code inspector look at this before I go ahead with any repairs?

Thanks
 
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Old 06-12-14, 11:38 AM
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<Should I have a code inspector look at this before I go ahead with any repairs?>
IMO, yes. The person who sold it to you accepted the responsibility when he bought it that everything was up to code. If you do not resolve these questions, then you will be accepting ALL future responsibility and in today's times, they are getting more and more fussy.

BTW, I said 4 feet, not 4 inches. I'm not sure where you are exactly, NY ranges quite a ways north to south, but your frost line could be anywhere from 2 feet (Queens) to 5 feet (Adirondacks). And yes if those cinder blocks are supporting part of the structure they need to be on top of a column all the way down to the frost line.

I would start by talking to your local code official as this will show you want things done correctly. It also might get him/her on your side. Much better to bring them into the process up front than to have them discover you have been trying to hide something.

As for who is liable, that is difficult and again you will need people like your CEO (code enforcement officer) to help you.

In my opinion, several people during this process may have turned a blind eye towards your situation so that they could all make some money at your expense.

Luck
Bud
 
 

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