Jay Markanich, a Virginia area Home Inspector, who is, as regular readers would know, a source for a lot of useful home-buying and home-maintaining information, clearly shows another issue that can be caused by vegetation planted too close to the home.
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It is crucially important to keep vegetation trimmed and far from the house.
Why? Vegetation holds moisture against the foundation, can grow under and into siding introducing moisture and insects into the walls, and generally do damage. Aggressive roots of trees too close can damage foundations!
This is one corner of a house on a recent inspection. Per agreement, this house is to be maintained by the occupant.
This is NOT maintained.
And that shrubbery is FULL of poison ivy to boot!
Is that corner of the house moist?
Yes, I think it is! That purple area is the rear corner of the house. It is slightly above ground level. And it represents moisture.
Held moisture attracts many things - termites, for sure, spiders and roaches! Termites search for wet wood, spiders and roaches will eat termites they can get to, and spiders will eat roaches. The circle of life!
The insect world is a very symbiotic one, and sometimes our habits, and houses, make for healthy habitats!
In one of the few places the exterior foundation wall is visible happened to be in that rear corner. A foundation crack and active termite shelter tube can be seen. It extended further down.
Just above the floor joist is infested with termites, with gaps visible out about 2'.
Notice the cobwebs? Spiders only build nests where there is moving air. By instinct they think insects will fly by. Lots of spider webs indicate lots of moving air!
All along the exterior walls of this basement were spider webs in huge numbers!
So we can conclude that this corner is infested with termites. But this problem with overgrown vegetation exists all around the house. And it is a problem all around this house!
This is another corner!
Notice the termite damage. That's a given.
Notice the cobwebs. So there is moving air.
Notice the numbers of cockroaches! They are even crawling into the termite damage, apparently searching for food. I watched them enter and exit over and over.
Roaches like to congregate near food and moisture. They LOVE moisture. There is no real moisture source visible here.
I don't know if this is a breeding ground, with food source nearby (termites), or if they are congregating here because of the food nearby.
And I checked those egg sacks later and they appear to be black widow spider sacks. They are kind of elongated and creamy in color.
I saw numbers of black widow spiders during the inspection anyway, so they are starting somewhere!
All over the basement the ceiling looked like this photo below.
This is the boiler "room." It is an area approximately 6x6', and is framed by a staircase and carpeting hung from the ceiling.
In many areas of this basement, such as this one, the spider webs hung down 18 - 24"!! I was waiting for a hitchhiking black widow to climb aboard my head! I was continually brushing off the roaches.
My recommendation: keep the sides of your house free and clear of vegetation. Read guidelines on the planting tag as to how far to plant things from the house. Be CERTAIN you do not plant trees next to the house! Pay particular attention to distances they will require. Cutsie shrubs and trees grow up! And when they do damage can only be the result.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage