Category Archives: Industry News

Video: Handyman Support Posts in Crawl Space

Handyman support columns and bases were discovered under a masonry fireplace in the crawl space at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Upside down CMU masonry blocks (holes should face upwards!) and aggressive shimming, together with the lack of a positive connection between the post base and above floor structure, warranted further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor.

Roof membrane failure

Why isn’t there snow on the deck in that spot?  Looking closer, you see that the deck membrane has failed, together with the underlying structure.  If you note any seams or openings in your flat roof membrane, it’s important to seal them right away.  Water is unforgiving and leads to structural and insect damage if left unchecked.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.

Video: Completely Disconnected Ducting in Crawl Space

I discovered completely disconnected ducting in the crawl space at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. In this particular instance, this ducting was for mechanically ventilating the crawl space area, and had no bearing on the heating system for the home. That said, because it was disconnected, clearly the ventilation system wasn’t functioning as intended or designed and required repair. I frequently discover completely disconnected ducting in crawl space areas for furnaces which significantly compromises the heating efficiency within homes and nicely heats the crawl space areas. Most often, homeowners have no idea because they rarely traverse their crawl space areas.

Water intrusion in attics

One of the reasons it’s important to inspect attics is to look for signs of water intrusion.  Here you can clearly see water intrusion from a roof leak in the attic.  Nothing was (yet) presenting at the interior finishes within the home, but it’s a matter of time before the roof leak worsens and leads to roof structural damage and leaks to the interior.  I always advise my inspection clients to have someone take a peek into their attic and crawl space on an annual basis looking for signs of water intrusion; if you find it sooner than later, the repairs are much less expensive.  Water is the enemy to homes in the Pacific Northwest!  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

LP InnerSeal composite siding

If you have composite siding, installed in 1996 or prior, that has the signature “LP” knot pictured here, you likely have LP InnerSeal composite siding, a product that was subject to class-action lawsuit for premature failure and elevated maintenance requirements.  Well and annually maintained (e.g., painted and caulked according to LP’s requirements), this product will deliver years of serviceable life, but it does require elevated maintenance for sure.  I’ve inspected many homes with this product in excellent condition.  I’ve inspected many in poor condition.  Deterioration typically happens first at the bottom lap edge of lap siding boards and panels.  Water wicks into the exposed bottom lap edge causing the composite siding to swell, edge-check (crack), obviously deteriorate, and sometimes it presents fungal growth.  Also pictured here is clearly deteriorated LP InnerSeal composite siding.  With deterioration, there’s always the possibility of underlying damage not visible without invasive inspection.  Therefore, for this recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, I recommend further evaluation by a qualified contractor, one familiar with LP InnerSeal siding products.  Other areas that commonly deteriorate are at siding/siding and siding/trim abutments and where caulking has failed (e.g., around exterior penetrations like windows and doors).

Video: Water Intrusion and Damaged OSB Sheathing in Crawl Space!

Water intrusion and damage were noted at OSB structural wall sheathing in the crawl space at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. I like to say “Water is the enemy” to my clients, because much of what I report as a home inspector in the Pacific Northwest has to do with water damage. Water can lead to structural damage, settling, mold, and insect activity/damage (e.g., carpenter ants, anobiid beetles, termites, moisture ants, rot fungus, etc.). So, if you see water intrusion, deal with it sooner than later because repairs become much more expensive with time.

Fire hazard: Wood stove flue

The wood stove flue pictured here is in direct contact with roof tar paper, a clear safety issue.  If you’ve ever tried to light tar paper, you’d find it makes great fire starter!  Double-wall metal flues typically require at least two (2) inches “free and clear” of combustible materials for safety reasons.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor was advised for safety reasons.

Bathroom vent FAIL

Close, but not close enough!  Bathroom vent ducting shouldn’t discharge into the attic.  Instead, it needs to be routed all the way to the exterior to help prevent elevated moisture conditions in the attic area that can lead to mold growth.  I also recommend insulating vent ducting in the unconditioned (unheated) attic area to help prevent condensation within the ducting itself.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.

VIDEO: Standing Water and NON-FUNCTIONAL Sump Pump in Crawl Space!

A non-functional sump pump and standing water conditions were discovered in a crawl space at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. It’s important to monitor crawl space sump pumps to ensure they’re functioning properly as standing water conditions can lead to structural settlement and insect activity/damage. Inquire with contractors about a remote monitoring system to alert you remotely to a non-functional sump pump; this will keep you from having to go into a dirty crawl space!