Today I'm going to discuss foundation and under floor areas of the home. The Standards of Practice set by the California Real Estate Inspection Association requires home inspectors to "inspect foundation, floor framing systems, under floor ventilation, foundation anchoring, cripple wall bracing, wood separation from soil and insulation." The Inspector is not required to
"determine size, spacing, location, or adequacy of foundation bolting, bracing components or reinforcing systems or determine the composition or energy rating of insulation materials." Since circuit wiring, water supply and drain piping may be located in the crawl area and are items required by the standards, these items also need to be reported. The Standards of Practice also state that in order to perform the inspection of the area the inspector must be able to "reach,
enter, or view without difficulty, moving obstructions, or requiring any action which may result in damage to the property or personal injury to the Inspector."
Before entering the crawl area I have already inspected the exterior of the house noting the present and or absence of ventilation, service grading and the any cracks in the foundation. I have also inspected and noted the locations of the bathrooms and kitchen. Running the water in the sinks, toilet, bathtub and showers so I can note any active leaks that may be present in the crawl area.
Below are several examples of items I have found while inspecting the crawl area.
Picture number one is showing where the contractor misaligned the anchoring bolt with the mudsill, this is allowing the house not to be properly attached to the foundation.
The second photo is white efflorescence powder deposits, noting mineral salts left when moisture evaporates. This is indication of previous moisture in the area.
Next is a picture of the beam resting on the soil. Besides not being properly anchored to the ground , wood to soil contact causes everything from wood rot and termites damage.
Picture #4 is an active water leak from the bathtub above. As you can see the drain pipe has corroded and needs to be replaced by a qualified plumbing contractor.
Whenever galvanized and copper pipes are connected together they must be separated by a "Die-electric" fitting. This fitting stops electrolysis from occurring between the galvanized and copper pipes.
The fifth picture is showing the Die-electric fittings properly installed.
The last photo is an open electrical junction box. All electrical connections must be enclosed in an approved junction box that has a cover. This is a potential fire hazard and should be corrected as soon as possible.
If you see any of these items on your inspection report you should ask for them to be repaired by a qualified contractor before the close of escrow or have them repaired as soon as you move into your new home.