Possible rental house has musty crawlspace

jewelisfabulousJuly 14, 2014

Looking at homes to purchase to rent out. In this area, very few homes have basements. Most are piers with crawlspace or slab. One property meets all our criteria BUT has a very musty crawlspace -- the smell hits ya the minute you open the door to look under the house. And, a bit of the musty smell can be detected inside the house on the first floor.

How can this be remedied? Would having the crawlspace "encapsulated" solve the issue?

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I usually find that musty smells are a symptom of moisture and mold/fungus, and the remedy is usually as simple as correcting ventilation. Musty smells in a house suggest mold has gotten out of hand and is now in the living spaces or air systems. In the floor at the very least. Again, crawl space ventilation can ameliorate this but complete mitigation could be difficult and expensive.

On the first face of it, this is a place I would avoid living in for long term health reasons.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:12PM
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I'm dealing with my own musty basement/crawlspace issues right now. You'd need to find out if there is water actually coming into the basement or if it is just a ventilation issue. If it's water, it could be a bigger problem than you'd want to deal with especially if there are also foundation issues.

Make sure there's no water coming in (whether leaking from pipes, coming up through the ground, down through the edges of the foundation, or through the foundation walls or window wells, etc), see if there is currently a mold issue, and decide if it's worth pursuing the property. If you're looking for an easy rental opportunity I would probably avoid this one.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:15PM
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Thanks, grubby and emoree. We'll going to check into the ventilation options and then decide if this house is worth the effort. Appreciate it!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:50PM
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Foam encapsuation of the subfloor works but it not cheap at around $2000 to do 1600 sq ft. You will still need to ventilate too.

I had a big problem last year with groundwater under my house.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:51AM
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Ventilation may not work in your location. In the winter time, it can cause some pipes to freeze and burst.

Foam may not be a good vapor barrier.

May be a $100 dehumidifier will eliminate the problem.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:37AM
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