Floor joist blackened in crawl space possible temites

Crawl Space: Inspection of beams and joist appeared to be painted black on the sides but not on the bottom. The sub floor was not black and appeared newer. I am not a termite inspector . Does anyone have any ideas what is going on here. The crawl floor has no vapor barrier and floor structure is not insulated.image image

Possible smoke sealer from fire above?

Did you do any probing of the wood, especially at the missing column support area?

I don’t for absolute truth. Ask the owner.

The vapor barrier on the floor would be a good recommendation.

But, I would insulate the perimeter walls and not the floor joists cavities.

Report what you see.


I have no idea why it is black. @lkage had as good as reason as any and other good points.

When I see a coating. I consider it a possible remediation measure and throw it back to the seller for more information. (I don’t make the remediation accusation, just ask them why it is coated)

I also probe it. See if I can identify char or smoke like Larry stated. You can sometimes smell the char if rubbed between your fingers.

I’m not sure what the relationship between the black and termites would be. Not something a pest control contractor would use here in GA in my experience.


I did not enlarge the pics, but there was no termite evidence observed. :cowboy_hat_face:

<MG State Lic Termite Operator #2446


Creosote wood preservative.


Can you imagine how that would stink up the house?
From link:

" The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) lists several potential dangers of using creosote - treated wood in buildings occupied by humans. The health risks include: Respiratory illnesses. Skin damage, including rashes, blistering, and peeling."


If you lived near the ocean back in the day, it was often used as a wood preservative. I can remember my grandfather using it on his house, and yes, it smells like a wharf.


I don’t need to google it. I used to play on the Wharf as a child, my grandfather was the harbormaster, and I spent the summers crawling under and jumping off the pier into the harbor and then going home smelling like creosote. I know that it is no longer used. :smiley: O, the good old days. Finding lobsters under the wharf and sneaking them home for mom to cook. For sure, that was a no, no, but kids will be kids. LOL. :smiley:


The good ole days. We use to have a lot of fun in the old government wharf. :grinning:


it could have been a mold problem in the past, they had it cleaned and then they painted it. not sure why black.