Tag Archives: crawl space


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).


Something is mesmerizing about watching a crawl space go through an encapsulation process. What do I mean by “encapsulation?” Basically, it means sealing a crawl space so that a house can avoid indoor moisture issues. 

Typically, a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier is added to completely cover the crawl space—usually the floors, and sometimes the foundation walls and even the ceiling.

The process is especially impressive when you start with a dirty, damp area and end with a bright, clean space (like the one featured in the video below).

While I don’t think every house needs or should be entirely encapsulated, I always recommend that homes in our area layer the crawl space ground with a plastic vapor barrier.

This was especially evident during a recent home inspection on Lopez Island, where I noticed apparent mold growth underneath the home in the crawl space at floor joists and pressboard floor sheathing elements. I recommended the installation of a vapor barrier, covering all exposed ground in the crawl space, to help prevent recurrence. 

Oh, and I should probably answer the question posed in the headline. The answer/punchline? They should all have good coverage! My wife is currently shaking her head as I write this. Regardless, feel free to use this material at your next cocktail party. You have my permission.

Do you have questions or comments about home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).


So, you’ve done the right thing in your crawl space and insulated water supply pipes. All is good, right?

Not so fast. 

During a recent visit to a home on Lopez Island, I came across this unfortunate issue: copper water pipes showing substantial corrosion—such as calcification deposits—despite the fact they were tucked into insulation. 

However, insulation is useless and even harmful when it displays signs of moisture intrusion. In this case, that’s the precise scenario I encountered.

The prognosis wasn’t good because the majority of the water supply piping was concealed behind pipe insulation. Therefore, much to my dismay, I had to recommend that all the water supply piping underneath the home be further evaluated by a qualified plumbing contractor to make repairs as deemed necessary. The only way to do that is to remove the insulation and take a look.

To learn more about protecting your pipes, Home Depot recently created a “how-to” video on the topic. Hope it helps you!

Questions or comments about plumbing or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and 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.