Tag Archives: friday harbor

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.

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.

Video: Log home water intrusion

Evidence of water intrusion was discovered in the dining room, kitchen and bedrooms at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Log homes are tricky because they need to be meticulously well maintained at the exterior to prevent (potentially costly) water/insect damage. Logs exhibit characteristic cracks as they move over time, which is normal, but these cracks- known as “checks”- need to be well sealed to prevent water intrusion. Oftentimes, evidence of water intrusion isn’t visible until deterioration is substantial. Log homes are expensive to repair, so maintenance is everything. In this case, I recommended further evaluation by a qualified log home contractor to sound logs where water intrusion was presenting, make necessary repairs, and ensure that all exterior elements are properly sealed.

Landscaping against building exterior

Why do we home inspectors care about landscaping elements that are in direct contact with the building exterior?  It’s really because, in our moist environment, with landscaping elements right up against the exterior, elevated moisture conditions don’t have time to dry out which can lead to insect damage.  In my reports, I typically recommend providing eighteen (18) inches clearance; however, recognizing this isn’t always practical, or desirable, at least ensure there’s space between landscaping elements and the building exterior.  This photograph was taken at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Deteriorated metal structural support column

When I pulled back an interior plant box, I discovered a completely deteriorated metal structural support column base at a recent home inspection in Bellingham.  This metal support column happened to be in a moist environment, interior swimming pool room, and was definitely compromised. I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor.

Some Hints for June Home Maintenance

  • Check central air-conditioning units according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Replace filters in forced-air systems. Clean debris from outside condensers or heat pump units.
  • Reset thermostats and automatic sprinkler systems.
  • Wash windows, inside and out (try a solution of three tablespoons non-sudsy ammonia to a gallon of water). To prevent streaking, don’t work in direct sunlight.
  • Clean and inspect gutters. Ensure clips, straps and spikes are tight. Flush debris from downspouts with hose. Make sure downspouts and splash blocks direct water at least three feet away from the foundation.
  • Clean mineral deposits from faucet aerators and shower heads by soaking parts in white vinegar and scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
  • Dust ceiling fan blades.
  • Coat outdoor metal patio furniture with auto polish.
  • If appropriate, have swimming pools cleaned. Inspect and service pool liners and filters.

Crude Ditching in Crawl Space

Crude ditching within a crawl space was recently discovered at a home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Crude ditching suggests water intrusion and, if traversed, can collapse rendering the ditching irrelevant. Typically, a ditch is dug, drain rock and perforated drain pipe installed, and then the ditch is topped off with more drain rock and covered with a vapor barrier. This is the proper way to route water intrusion within crawl spaces. In this instance, I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor. Continue reading

Video: Wild animal at home inspection

Inspecting a home in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island today, I happened upon this “friendly” raccoon! So friendly, in fact, that I had some difficulty getting around the exterior inspection without having to whisk the creature away from time to time. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to animals, so never a dull moment inspecting that’s for sure!

VIDEO: Overflowing Air Gap

Water coming out the air gap should not be a regular occurrence, though occasionally it might happen when, for example, someone forgets to run the garbage disposal. Regular water discharge from an air gap points to a restriction in the water flow that should be further evaluated and repaired. This video was taken at a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Continue reading