Everyone has seen houses with Bay Windows or other similar structures that hang over the foundation to extend the floor plan a bit. These extensions are common for gas fireplaces as well. Sometimes the whole house extends past the foundation to make for a bigger floor plan overall. Regardless the reason, the overhanging part should be properly covered and insulated on
Because these structures are often only a few inches off the ground it is a really good idea for the home inspector to check under these structures. We are being paid to get our knees dirty, so the inspector needs to get down there and take a look.
Whoever was supposed to cover it originally was also getting paid to get their knees dirty, however, they were probably only making minimum wage—while we are being paid the “big bucks.”
I have even figured out that I actually don’t have to get my knees dirty. I just stick my camera down there and snap a couple of pictures. The picture above was taken at a 6 year old house. It had four such structures that were overhanging the foundation—-only one had a proper soffit covering. As you can see in the picture it is completely uncovered and has no insulation in the floor system. Note also the ductwork running to the heat register.
For the most part the spaces between the joists had been “solid-blocked” on top of the foundation but there were openings on all four corners around the ductwork. Finding these openings is a piece of cake for wide variety of vermin—from rats and mice, to racoons and possums.
One of the overhanging structures had a joist bay that was missing its solid-blocking and Rocky Raccoon had decided that this crawl space would be HIS home—-fortunately he was not at home when I visited.
Are your overhangs insulated and covered?
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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