QUIT BUGGIN’ ME: STAY ON TOP OF YOUR INSECT ISSUES

Insect-damaged structural elements in a home, yikes! It’s widespread in older homes but can happen with any home or structure. The common denominator is ALWAYS elevated moisture, which leads to insect activity. Wood destroying insects are attracted to moisture and seek it out, so it’s imperative to keep your home dry.


Elevated moisture from plumbing leaks, water intrusion in the crawl space, and improper ventilation can all lead to insect activity and damage. If you see piles of dust or what looks like sawdust in your home, you may very well have an insect problem requiring further evaluation, repair, and treatment.


I always recommend homeowners have someone look into their crawl spaces and attics once annually, looking for signs of water, elevated moisture, or wood destroying insect activity. Wood destroying insects in our area include carpenter ants, Anobiid beetles, and Pacific Dampwood termites. All of these insects are attracted to moisture, all seek it out, and all eat or damage wood structures.


If your home is dry, these wood-destroying insects have zero interest in your home. ZERO! Keeping moisture away from a home is the single most crucial factor in helping prevent wood-destroying insect activity and damage.

If you have questions or comments about bug infestations or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

REAL ESTATE UNVEILED! PODCAST: DAVID BRADLEY OF BRADLEY ENGINEERING TALKS HOME STRUCTURAL ISSUES

David Bradley

David Bradley, owner of Bradley Engineering, Inc., in Bellingham, popped by the studio for the second episode of the Real Estate Unveiled! Podcast to discuss the latest in structural engineering issues.

Bradley Engineering is a full-service structural engineering firm that addresses structural needs in a variety of settings. These include residential, multi-family, small retail businesses, manufacturing, industrial, wood-framed construction, steel fabrication, solar panel installations, retaining walls, and more.

During the podcast, Tim, Liz, and David examine several structural subjects, including:

• When are foundation cracks serious?

• How do you know if a foundation crack is active or historic?

• When are interior cracks a cause for concern?

• What are general fixes for the most common foundation issues?

• How much do foundation fixes cost?

• How can you tell what elements are load-bearing in a home structure?

• What is involved with seismic retrofitting? 

Links for Seismic Retrofitting

• Simpson Strong-Tie: https://www.strongtie.com/resources/literature/seismic-retrofit-guide

• Project Impact: http://www.soundseismic.com/live/page/project-impact

More about our guest: David Bradley has been a practicing engineer for 31 years. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. In 2001, David and Isabel started Bradley Engineering. For 17 years, Bradley Engineering has been serving Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Snohomish, and King Counties with clients that include homeowners, designers, architects, contractors, business owners, business managers, and nonprofits. His areas of expertise include structural engineering on buildings and equipment, including virtually all wood-framed, steel, and concrete construction. David is also well-versed in seismic retrofitting of existing buildings and OSHA fall protection.For more, subscribe to our newsletter at https://allislandsinspections.com/category/newsletters. If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

Fun Facts Friday

  • Ayers Rock is a red granite monolith, 859.53 metres above sea level. It is 8.85 kilometres in circumference, and is 347.3 metres above the plain.
  • Between the towns of Ooldia and Nurina in Western Australia, is the world’s longest straight stretch of railway, 478.4 kilometres in length.
  • No part of Australia is further than 1000 kilometres from the sea.

UNCONVENTIONAL VENTING: PLUMBING ISSUES NEED FURTHER EVALUATION

Recently, I inspected a house in Ferndale where I noted handyman drain-waste-vent plumbing practices at the exterior. 

The property owner had installed an exposed ABS drain line, and the laundry room utility sink was unconventionally vented adjacent to an exterior wall. A qualified contractor should always evaluate these types of unorthodox issues, which I cited in the report.

If you have questions or comments about plumbing issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

AN EASY WAY TO START A MOLD FARM IN YOUR ATTIC

Do we have any attic mold farmers out there? Trying to raise some mold, and don’t know where to start?

Good news: I’ve got a very efficient, straightforward solution: direct your bathroom vent ducting into your space! Make sure that the ducting does NOT vent to the outside. Then, before you know it, you’ve got an excellent crop of mold!

Okay, you know I’m kidding. I recently came across disconnected bathroom vent fan ducting (and mold-farming techniques) in an attic space on Lopez, which I cited in my report. 

Remember: If you are going to grow something, grow it outside of the attic.

If you have questions or comments about ventilation issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

STANDALONE SATURDAYS: HEY, I RECOGNIZE THAT TRUCK!

On Saturdays throughout the year, I hope to give you a peek of what I see as a home inspector traveling around San Juan, Island, Whatcom, and Skagit counties through photos and videos I’ve taken along the way.

I’m sure if you know or live in Northwest Washington, you probably feel the same about how special it is here. That’s why I invite you to share your Northwest Washington imagery! Simply take your picture or video showing why you appreciate the region, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook.

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

Fun Facts Friday!

  • More people visit France than any other country.
  • France spans twelve different time zones – more than any other country in the world – thanks to its overseas territories, which are dotted round the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the South American continent.
  • France boasts more roundabouts than any other country. 30,000 in fact – which represents over half of all the roundabouts in the world.

IS YOUR WINDOW GASKET A BUDDING ARTIST?

You know them as the world’s greatest artists. Van Gogh. Monet. Rembrandt. Da Vinci. And…your window?  

Yes, it seems windows are not immune to creating art (albeit without intention). 

In this case, the canvas is the walls of your house, and the paintbrush refers to deteriorating window gaskets. As you can see in our example pictures from a recent inspection in Sedro-Woolley, the seals have gone full Jackson Pollock.

Unlike most art, however, this piece has only critics because window gaskets perform an essential function: they help to keep the cold and the heat out of your house. Gaskets are typically comprised of neoprene or butyl rubber and are installed to seal and lock windows in place.

If the seals do deteriorate, air and water can also breach the window elements. While the scene may look dramatic, keep in mind these windows may not have reached the end of their serviceable life, and there may be options for repair.

If you have questions or comments about windows or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

LIVING ON THE EDGE: DRIP-EDGE FLASHING DETAILS PLAY A BIG PART IN PROTECTING ROOFS

In my reports, I address flashing details (or the lack, thereof) quite often. Considering we live in a very wet environment, this makes perfect sense.

Today, I’d like to discuss metal drip-edge flashing details briefly. A drip-edge flashing detail is a material applied on a roof’s edge that gives the roof system more capacity to direct water away from the system.

Why is drip-edge flashing important? Well, lots of reasons, including:

• Insects and small pests are better deterred from infesting a roof system

• Water is better directed into building gutter systems and away from exteriors and foundations

• Shingles are better shielded from water damage

• Underlying rooflines are better protected from rot

I recently came across a home in Langley that was lacking drip-edge flashing. As a result, some of the roof system’s OSB sheathing was swelled and deteriorated. I advised them to address this as soon as possible.

If you have questions or comments about roofing systems or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).