View Full Version : What is substance in the crawl space???

Matthew Barnicle
03-08-2011, 10:45 PM
Crawl space under a house on a canal. Someone along the way, boarded up the foundation vents. The floor was pretty damp and anything metal was pretty corroded and rusted in the crawl. There was a fuzzy white substance hanging from many of the floor joists and plywood subfloor. Plywood subfloor was de-laminating in several areas. I am curious what the fuzzy white substance is. See photo.

John Arnold
03-09-2011, 03:53 AM
Mildew/mold.Or, mould, as some spell it.

03-09-2011, 05:49 AM
only testing would confirm species

poriaincrassata.com the wood eating fungus meruliporia incrassata experts (http://www.poriaincrassata.com/)
or similar

Garry Sorrells
03-09-2011, 07:59 AM

John Kogel
03-09-2011, 09:26 AM
What Barry is hinting at, the fruiting bodies of a wood-destroying fungus.

H.G. Watson, Sr.
03-09-2011, 04:02 PM
Quick glance of the first photo, my first impression (tiny pic) thought was ice/freeze-up due to undercharged refrigerant to condensor or HP (saw discolored and bright copper), then I blew up and looked at the others.

Looks to me like some extensive opportunistic webbing ("silk"), debris, and egg sacs from many generations of spiders, possibly after the WDIs infesting the floor joists and the other insect inhabitants, from both before and after the crawl vents were blocked off, perhaps some tent moths/catipillers too. As indicated crawl is now excessively damp, watch out for black widows and similar dangerous species! I wouldn't be "poking around" too much, at least not unless from a distance and not without a long stick.

Fruiting bodies of poria aren't generally white or grayish for very long, if at all, and the "webbing" (mycelial network) not so fine, nor usually for very long white, nor so tight, IOW doesn't resemble insect webbing or egg sacs, but more like a root or leaf vein network sans (without) the leaf, bark or protective covering, usually in a fan like shape from the fruiting body(ies).

Ohio State University Extension Office Fact Sheet: Wood Rot, HYG-3300-96 (http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3300.html)

UC Davis Extension office very well photographed 30 pg information report on Poria (pdf) direct link: http://cecontracosta.ucdavis.edu/files/33950.pdf

Or for your convienence, the latter is attached below.

Not having been there to "poke", feel or smell, you'd know better if was more cream cheese like, crumbly, smelled earthy, or if was sticky/stringy like insect webbing, silk, and/or egg sacs littered with debris.

Ted Menelly
03-09-2011, 05:50 PM
Personally it is bad enough looking to me that I would have seen it, snapped a very quick pick or 2 and left. The only reason for the pic would be that I was already in there. I am not sure how many times I recommended that it be followed up by a mold expert but I will say practically never. In this case I would strongly suggest it. That is the simple case of no one going in the crawl for a very long time.

That is one of my biggest complaints about a sealed crawl. Something like that may be going on for years and everyone sick and the floor caving in after a while because no one ever went down there to check on anything and the floor rotted out.

I do not care if it is good fungus, bad fungus, black mold or white or green mold. All of that in your crawl has to make for some serious bad breathing condition and children with 2 heads.

John Kogel
03-09-2011, 06:28 PM
As we all know, the fungi that grow on wood come in many types and varieties.
Maybe you've discovered a new species. :D

It is obvious that floor is on the verge of collapse in some locations, and that can only be the result of rot, in other words, wood-destroying organism(s). The moisture and lack of venting have created an ideal growth environment.

HG's link will give you some idea of what similar wood rot fungi can look like. The root-like webs are only part of the plant. It also has a fruit, like many mushrooms do.

Here is a pic of something similar.

Benjamin Thompson
03-09-2011, 10:09 PM
Really? Who cares what species it is??
Run, Forest, Run! That's a lawsuit waiting to happen. Pics like that make me wish I was a lawyer!
I hope you didn't sugar coat it!!

Erby Crofutt
03-10-2011, 08:06 AM

David Nelson
03-10-2011, 08:14 AM
I would like to comment just to say this is not a properly sealed crawlspace. Sealing the vents and doing nothing else to a crawlspace is just creating a problem that is going to mushroom over time, but simply sealing foundation vents does not deem a crawlspace "sealed".

Rick Cantrell
03-10-2011, 08:31 AM
I would like to comment just to say this is not a properly sealed crawlspace. Sealing the vents and doing nothing else to a crawlspace is just creating a problem that is going to mushroom over time, but simply sealing foundation vents does not deem a crawlspace "sealed".

That was a good word to use.

Matthew Barnicle
03-10-2011, 09:27 AM
Erby's pic looks closest to what I saw. Erby, I went to the link for your blog but after scrolling through I didn't see this specific photo on it. What was your finding on this inspection? What was that substance in YOUR photo.
I didn't sugar coat the comments to the buyer at all. In the report, I did the usual mold-like substance comments and recommendations for evaluation etc. included photos. Verbally, I felt pretty comfortable talking to him because he is a friend of mine and I have done 10 prior inspections for him (hes an investor) I told him I had never seen anything like it, and that I hoped that I wasn't going to get sick from being down there and that if he ever re-sold the home, any home inspector is going to flag the same thing. I told him to budget in the thousands and to obtain a solid estimate prior to close of escrow by a mold-remediation contractor.