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Old 03-16-2010, 10:32 AM   #1
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An old home with no crawlspace


I am looking at buying a house which is about 100 years old. Its been rehabbed over the past few years, and I feel good about everything except one area: there is zero crawl space under about half of the first floor (kitchen and laundry room). By zero crawl space I mean the floor joists are literally resting on the dirt. The joists I can see look old, but no rot or mold.

A few things make the situation worse...
-A small area was found to have evidence of termites, though it wasn't in the crawl space area. The termites weren't active, but its winter still
-The center of the basement, which is dirt, was clearly a pool of water recently, and the existing sump pump was at one point under water. It was all dry when I was there twice, and its been wet out so maybe that problem has been fixed?
-There is a very soft spot in floor to the entry way on the first floor, deep into the zero crawl space area.

The house looks to be a great deal otherwise, but the more I think about it, the riskier it seems.

also, the seller wont fix the crawl space or the termite damage.


Should I cut and run or ignore this stuff?

(location is pittsburgh pa, in the southside slopes)
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:57 AM   #2
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Is the price great enough to account for possible ongoing termite problems ?
Or leave enough $$ to have the house raised & a foundation put in ?

If not walk


My last house was a pretty good deal but I sprayed every year for bugs
I also spent a lot of time digging out around the house & installing cement block to get dirt away from wood



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Old 03-16-2010, 12:12 PM   #3
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I'm dealing with this on my 100 year old house now.
5 gal buckets up the stairs and out the door.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:18 PM   #4
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lots of cheap homes fore sale now, why risk it?
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:19 PM   #5
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wow cool.

What kind of condition is the wood in? Thinking of leaving a piece of wood on the ground for 100 years and then expecting it to hold up a floor is scary.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:37 PM   #6
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My last house was almost 100 years old whenI bought it, now 105
It was built as a summer house near a lake...least expensive way was pier & beams
It was then added onto & made a year round residence
But no-one really adressed the dirt near the house until I moved in



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Old 03-16-2010, 01:21 PM   #7
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My guess is the 'soft spot' is rot underneath in the inaccessible nonexistent crawl space. I had this on an 1870s cottage. I raised it up 13 inches and had to put in new structure.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:09 PM   #8
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It is actually Termites or Carpenter Ants?

either way...Borax powder is your friend.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:33 PM   #9
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Saw a house like that once. The original part was concrete slab and the drain had failed. Only option was across the add-on living room/ entryway to the side of the house where the building drain was anyway (no crawl space through this area). After removing the flooring and parts of subfloor in the living room, HO realized he had this same issue and ended up excavating a lot of dirt by hand, and rebuilding the floor system.

Could be a lot of work, but if the price is right....
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