« Eeeeeeeeee! | Main | Prepared to Repair »

December 09, 2009


Mothballs take FOR-E-VER to air out. I used to own a house that we rented to a family member who had a slight mothball...obsession?...they were everywhere, even inside the refrigerator, which we had to throw away. Ugh. Depending on how bad it is you may need to repaint, although if it's just coming from underneath a good airing out might work wonders...here's hoping!

Oh my gosh! You're buying MY house!

Not even kidding. Been there, done that. I just read the first paragraphs about the foundation out loud to my husband and we laughed maniacally.

Ach. Yeah, we were thinking we'd seal the crawlspace anyway...

Ick. And very toxic.

You are so brave. Those issues would send me running.

I wonder what other smell from the crawlspace they are trying to cover up with the sweet smell of naphthalene? Was the house empty for a while? They might have been trying to deter neighborhood cats/critters, so check for openings and such, too, once the mothballs are gone.

And that aroma can be near impossible to get out of any textile, so make sure any remaining drapes, carpet, etc is removed or you may never shake it. Not sure how much it permeates wood floors--you might have to not only seal between the crawlspace and subfloor but also refinish/reseal any hardwood floors. The tile should be golden, though.

The crawlspace is dry as can be, so I'm pretty sure it's an animal thing. Raccoons, possums, maybe even a skunk, neighborhood cats...the list goes on. We even get coyotes around here.

No textiles will remain, but I'm wondering about the floors.

We'll see what the estimate will be (that's just to take care of the immediate concerns) and then go from there. Thing is, a house of this age in this city is very unlikely *not* to have about this much work needed, unless it's a recent gut remodel done by folks who lived in the house (as opposed to a flipped house, which will look pretty but feature a tangle of burnt wires tucked behind the wood paneling that somebody used to finish a dirt wall).

We looked at one beautiful gut reno, but it was on a really busy street and set about two feet below the street line.

Radon may not be that bad to remediate. When we sold in Mich, the buyer discovered radon (which had not been there when we bought 5 yrs previously). We split the cost. I think we paid about $500.

We are under contract (as of this morning) for a house that has mold and no kitchen or bath. But it does have a basement! And no moth balls as far as I know. I'll be interested to follow along with what you find.


I don't know the market in your area at all, nor what "old" means where you are. But where I'm from there are 100 year old houses without any of those sorts of problems. Is it your agent who's telling you this is just what you are going to get? Have you talked to other folks?

Sorry to wet blanket, its just, that sounds like alot....

(I'm sorry - just ignore me)

You seem very careful, so I assume you will also check for asbestos....anywhere there's popcorn. The test is cheap and fast. Getting rid of it, not so much.

With a dirt crawlspace, I don't think radon will be a problem. It tends to be more of an issue when the foundation is just a hole dug into the granite or limestone ground.
But woo boy, home ownership.

I live in a house where the previous owners had sealed a hole they punched in the foundation with a car floor mat and silicone. I did it up right with tar roof repair and concrete.

Cat, a legitimate question -- but judging by the fifty-plus houses we've seen and all the people we've talked to, this is really normal for Nashville (not a city known for its architectural preservation or perpetual prosperity). On top of that, the area we're looking in is still gentrifying, meaning that for many decades it was...decidedly un-gentrified.

And yeah, it's 100 years old! Miraculously there's almost no termite damage, no signs of damp or mold problems, the exterior and the walls are in good shape -- it's just the underneath that needs some attention.

I'm curious where you live that people take such good care of their houses! It seems like everywhere we've lived, older houses were crazy messes. Even the 1950s rowhouse we lived in in Philly had the ancient clay gas pipes that ruptured...

And Anna, no popcorn or asbestos.

So no foundation means that it's built on piers? i am trying to picture it--we've ended up jacking up the house and replacing foundations in my family, but it sounds like you won't be doing that?

Yep, it's on piers, but pretty low down -- the porch is right at ground level, and it's about four feet off the ground in back.

Think Tahitian resort hut over the waters -- except instead of tropical waters, it's good old Tennessee dirt beneath.

That's so exciting - good luck!!

Having bought a house that needed a complete foundation replacement in earthquake country, that wouldn't rattle me too much actually, assuming the price is REALLY good, 'casue all that stuff...it isn't that big a deal to do , but it's gonna be spendy. People just hear foundation and they get scared off. Personally, the new kitchen we did was far more traumatic than the foundation replacement.

But again, the price better be good or walk away. Whatever quote you get, add 30% to estimate what it will really cost.

Congrats and god luck!

Hooray. Exciting.

Well, I guess it is too late for tips but I wish I'd found out more about the neighborhood and my immediate neighbors. Do not like.

Wow, timely. My husband and I just put a bid on a place that is scaring me to death, it needs so much work. Selfishly, I find this post very comforting, and will be checking back often to see how things are going. Good luck!

The comments to this entry are closed.