THAT SETTLES IT: SETTLING CRACKS ARE NOT ALWAYS THE END OF THE WORLD (MOST OF THE TIME)

Even though it may be a bit alarming to see a large crack in the foundation of your home, a good deal of the time it’s not something to fret over. For instance, the character of a crack can tell you a lot about how serious it may be regarding structural integrity. 

During a recent home inspection in Langley, Washington, I came across a good-sized break in a concrete foundation that had “rounded edges”—as opposed to a “sharp” or “fresh” cracks. This pattern told me it was likely historical. Furthermore, structural engineers had outfitted the home with concrete supports to contain any further settling issues, and the homeowner provided me with a letter from an engineer that showed the matter as previously evaluated.  

In the end, monitoring for movement into the future and repairing if noted is all you can do.

Do you have questions or comments about foundations, settling cracks or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

STANDALONE SATURDAYS: MOSS-COVERED HILLS & ISLAND VIEWS

Share your Northwest Washington imagery with the All Islands Home Inspections community. Simply take your photo and/or videos, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook. 

Throughout the year, those who tag with #AllIslandsLife will have a chance to win some fun prizes, such as a $20 gift card to Starbucks (which happens to be this month’s prize)! 

To be eligible for this first contest and a chance to win a whole lot of caffeine, please tag your imagery by Feb. 25, 2019. We’ll announce the winner in our new, shiny newsletter, so make sure to subscribe using the signup form below.

Subscribe to the All Islands Argus Newsletter

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View previous campaigns.

Do you have questions or comments about island living or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

Fun Fact Friday!

  • On average, there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonalds BigMac bun.
  • The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.
  • The bagpipe was originally made from the whole skin of a dead sheep.
  • In ancient Rome, it was considered a sign of leadership to be born with a crooked nose.

‘UNCONVENTIONAL’ + HOME INSPECTION = TROUBLE

I use the word “unconventional” in my home inspection reports quite often when it comes to an assortment of issues. While “unconventional” may be a positive attribute in certain circumstances and specific industries (such as successful marketing or sales campaigns), it’s virtually always considered a negative adjective for home inspectors. In my field, uniformity is king!

This week, our “unconventional” examples originated during a recent inspection I conducted in Bellingham. I noticed an unconventional vent pipe protruding through a master bathroom toilet tank, and—admittedly—I had no idea as to its function. Funnily enough, I saw an identical issue in a separate bathroom toilet. 

In my report, I recommended the clients (potential buyers) inquire with the seller or a qualified plumbing contractor as to the function of the protrusion.

Do you have questions or comments about unconventional installations or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

CEDAR VS SPF TRIM: CEDAR WINS & IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE

I recently came across a common issue during a home inspection in Eastsound on Orcas Island: deterioration and fungal growth at window head trim elements. Unfortunately, in this case, there was the possibility of underlying damage not visible without invasive inspection.

The builders on this home used Spruce Pine Fir (SPF) trim, as opposed to cedar wood. I recommended the owners consider replacing any deteriorated SPF with cedar because cedar is naturally rot resistant and will have extended serviceable life upon installation.

In other words, cedar is ideal for homes in the northwest. It may come at a higher price up front, but its long-lasting features will make it a great value down the road.

For homeowners debating between cedar and SPF trim, there is no contest when it comes to quality.

Do you have questions or comments about window trim, construction materials or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

STANDALONE SATURDAYS: BEACH ACCESS AND OCEANSIDE STAIRS

Share your Northwest Washington imagery with the All Islands Home Inspections community. Simply take your photo and/or videos, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook.

Throughout the year, those who tag with #AllIslandsLife will have a chance to win some fun prizes, such as a $20 gift card to Starbucks (which happens to be this month’s prize)!

To be eligible for this first contest and a chance to win a whole lot of caffeine, please tag your imagery by Feb. 25, 2019. We’ll announce the winner in our new, shiny newsletter, so make sure to subscribe using the signup form below.

Subscribe to the All Islands Argus Newsletter

* indicates required
Email Format

View previous campaigns.

Do you have questions or comments about island living or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

WANT EVEN MORE HOME REPAIR & MAINTENANCE INFO? SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Are you really into learning about houses? I’m guessing you are, or you wouldn’t be reading this now. Hopefully, our blog helps satisfy some of your curiosities. 

However, if you are seeking even more, then consider signing up for the All Islands Argus. The Argus is All Islands Home Inspection’s brand-new, monthly newsletter. It’s free, features exclusive content, and it’s delivered monthly straight to your email.

Every issue, I will examine a topic related to home inspections. For example, in our first issue published last month, roofing was the topic. I gave tips on roof maintenance, and we heard from a roofing company that answered three common roofing questions. Subscribers were also presented with a chance to win a free $20 Starbucks gift card.

If you want to learn even more about houses and have some fun along the way, subscribe using the signup form below.

Subscribe to the All Islands Argus Newsletter

* indicates required
Email Format

View previous campaigns.

Do you have questions or comments about home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

3 QUESTIONS: ASBESTOS WITH CAZ ENVIRONMENTAL

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk asbestos with Dan Dunne, Manager at CAZ Environmental in Bellingham.

Q1: In your experience how common is asbestos in our area? 

“Because of its unique properties of being fireproof, chemically resistant, waterproof, and durable, asbestos was deliberately mixed into thousands of different building materials.  We commonly see asbestos in popcorn ceiling, vinyl floors, drywall and drywall mud, roofing, fire blocking, mastics, attic insulation, siding, stucco, window caulking, heating ducts, and water pipes.”

Q2: Even though 1978 was the cutoff year for asbestos, do you recommend testing homes with “popcorn” textured ceilings constructed in the 1980s tested, too? 

“A common misconception is that asbestos is banned in the United States.  A wide variety of products are allowed to contain asbestos and be manufactured, imported, processed, or sold in the U.S., including cement corrugated sheet, cement flat sheet, clothing, pipeline wrap, roofing felt, vinyl floor tile, cement shingle, millboard, cement pipe, gaskets, and roof coatings. 

“Many manufacturers have stopped adding asbestos to their products, even if allowed, due to the clear link between asbestos and lung disease.  However, asbestos mines in Asbest (Russia) and Gansu Province (China), continue to produce more than a million metric tons of chrysotile per year.

“The continued use of asbestos is part of the reason why any building material that is disturbed or demolished is required to be tested for asbestos and, if positive, to be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor.”

Q3: What is the typical cost for an asbestos test and how long does it take to get results? 

“Asbestos tests cost $500-$1500 per home, depending on the number of materials in the home that need to be sampled.  We also process samples that are dropped off at our office for $50 per sample.  Results are generally available the next business day.  Asbestos removal in a home can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000, depending on the type and amount of material being removed, and how easy it is to access.”

About CAZ Environmental

CAZ Environmental was founded in 2013 with a mission to protect the health and safety of its clients, employees, and public throughout Northwest Washington. The company works with 13 employees to sample and remove asbestos, lead, and mold in residential, commercial and industrial settings that range from mobile homes to mansions. 

If there is one thing Dan Dunne recommends, it’s this: When in doubt, get it tested.

“Whether you are a property owner, contractor, or handyman, the fines, lawsuits, and medical issues that result from improperly removing or disposing of asbestos can quickly ruin your day,” he said. A big “thanks” to Dan and CAZ Environmental for their responses!

Questions or comments about asbestos or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

IN RAINY NW WASHINGTON, CHIMNEY FLASHING DETAILS SOMETIMES NEED TLC

The following is not exactly a news flash: Rust is a common issue here in the Pacific Northwest. I know, shocking, right? Living in a coastal environment has a way of helping rust to blossom (although, as you undoubtedly know, some areas in our little corner of the world get far less rain than others).

The highest-exposure sections of a home typically lead the charge when it comes to rust, and this includes chimney flashing and counter-flashing details. Taking care of these features is very importantbecause the flashing is what seals the space between your roof and your chimney. Rust and corrosion at these areas may allow water to enter the home and be pretty darn expensive to repair or replace.

Recently, during a home inspection in Oak Harbor, I noticed this issue. I recommended that the client use an exterior-rated metal paint to extend serviceable life of the chimney flashing details that were beginning to rust and corrode. These types of preventative measures can potentially save a good bit of coin later.

Do you have questions or comments about flashing details or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

IN RAINY NW WASHINGTON, CHIMNEY FLASHING DETAILS SOMETIMES NEED TLC

https://youtu.be/H4aNiQW7_ec

The following is not exactly a news flash: Rust is a common issue here in the Pacific Northwest. I know, shocking, right? Living in a coastal environment has a way of helping rust to blossom (although, as you undoubtedly know, some areas in our little corner of the world get far less rain than others).

The highest-exposure sections of a home typically lead the charge when it comes to rust, and this includes chimney flashing and counter-flashing details. Taking care of these features is very importantbecause the flashing is what seals the space between your roof and your chimney. Rust and corrosion at these areas may allow water to enter the home and be pretty darn expensive to repair or replace.

Recently, during a home inspection in Oak Harbor, I noticed this issue. I recommended that the client use an exterior-rated metal paint to extend serviceable life of the chimney flashing details that were beginning to rust and corrode. These types of preventative measures can potentially save a good bit of coin later.

Do you have questions or comments about flashing details or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).