Tag Archives: crawl space


One of the more interesting (and challenging) aspects of my job is crawling around underneath homes. While it’s not necessarily my favorite part of the job, I do, on occasion, see some curious things.

During a recent crawl space excursion in Whatcom County, I noted that many of the CMU masonry block support columns underneath this particular manufactured home were installed upside down (e.g., the holes in blocks should face upwards). 

Additionally, I noticed that some of the CMU masonry block support columns had settled, and some are not fully bearing underneath the floor structure. In my report, I suggested further evaluation of the support columns by a qualified contractor. 

If you have questions or comments about asbestos issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


Insect-damaged structural elements in a home, yikes! It’s widespread in older homes but can happen with any home or structure. The common denominator is ALWAYS elevated moisture, which leads to insect activity. Wood destroying insects are attracted to moisture and seek it out, so it’s imperative to keep your home dry.

Elevated moisture from plumbing leaks, water intrusion in the crawl space, and improper ventilation can all lead to insect activity and damage. If you see piles of dust or what looks like sawdust in your home, you may very well have an insect problem requiring further evaluation, repair, and treatment.

I always recommend homeowners have someone look into their crawl spaces and attics once annually, looking for signs of water, elevated moisture, or wood destroying insect activity. Wood destroying insects in our area include carpenter ants, Anobiid beetles, and Pacific Dampwood termites. All of these insects are attracted to moisture, all seek it out, and all eat or damage wood structures.

If your home is dry, these wood-destroying insects have zero interest in your home. ZERO! Keeping moisture away from a home is the single most crucial factor in helping prevent wood-destroying insect activity and damage.

If you have questions or comments about bug infestations or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


At times, handyman repairs in crawl spaces can be quite, well, interesting. This especially rings true for older homes, which frequently showcase repairs made decades earlier using a variety of methods and materials.

Even relatively newer homes can surprise as well. Recently, during an inspection in Friday Harbor, I came across unconventionally shimmed support columns in a 1995-built home. The columns were likely incorrectly cut when installed, so shimming had to compensate for the issue. There was also some minor settling that may have contributed to the situation as well.

I recommended the potential buyer bring in a qualified contractor to further evaluate and make necessary repairs. Furthermore, because we live in a seismically active area, I encouraged them to consider installing metal support hardware for improved security. 

If you have questions or comments about structural issues, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


I always enjoy coming across homes with quirks or unexpected features. Definitely one of the perks of my job.

Case in point: during a recent visit to a home in Coupeville, I found a crawl space access hatch that was placed strategically behind a bookshelf. Not only was this a stylish, efficient, and space-saving design, it also made the chore of going into a crawl space a little more entertaining.

If you have questions or comments about structural issues, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


You know that big earthquake we are supposed to have? Unfortunately, many homes will probably not fare too well during the big shake. 

However, I recently came across a home in Whatcom County that should do all right because of its unique, industrial-grade structural elements. The home featured steel truss construction and steel framing in the attic, which I don’t see very often in residential buildings.

Down below, the crawl space also featured steel framing for the floor joists and steel support columns. As I say in the video, the house is “built like a tank.”

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

REMOVE Foundation Vent Covers in the Pacific Northwest!

Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections discusses the importance of NOT covering foundation vents in the Pacific Northwest which can lead to elevated moisture conditions and related issues (insect activity, mold, etc.) within crawl spaces. Provided the crawl space is well insulated, including water supply piping, vent covers should be removed.

VIDEO: Pond Under Home!

Inspecting a home in the San Juan Islands, I recently discovered at least one (1) foot of water throughout the crawl space! This, of course, rendered the crawl space inaccessible to inspection. Standing water in crawl spaces, regardless of season, puts the building’s structure at risk of settlement, water and insect damage. If you have standing water conditions in your crawl space, you should have them addressed promptly; the longer you wait, the more expensive the repair becomes.

Two Vapor Barriers and Standing Water in Crawl Space

Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections discovered two (2) or more vapor barriers in a crawl space filled with water at a recent Anacortes, WA home inspection. The reason that two (2) or more vapor barriers is frowned upon is because water, if it enters the crawl space, can become entrapped between vapor barriers, prolonging evaporation time and leading to stagnant water conditions. Here in the Pacific NW, water intrusion into a crawl space or basement should be dealt with promptly as it can lead to structural damage/settling and insect activity (e.g., carpenter ants, anobiid beetles and Pacific Dampwood termites are attracted to moist areas). In this particular case, the installation of a perimeter curtain drain was recommended to the clients by a licensed contractor.

VIDEO: Standing Water in Crawl Space

Standing water was discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. If you see standing water or water intrusion in your crawl space, it’s important to deal with it sooner than later as standing water can lead to structural settling and WDO (wood destroying insect) activity/damage in the home, together with moisture related issues within. The longer water intrusion persists, the more expensive the fix typically becomes.