You know that big earthquake we are supposed to have? Unfortunately, many homes will probably not fare too well during the big shake.
However, I recently came across a home in Whatcom County that should do all right because of its unique, industrial-grade structural elements. The home featured steel truss construction and steel framing in the attic, which I don’t see very often in residential buildings.
Down below, the crawl space also featured steel framing for the floor joists and steel support columns. As I say in the video, the house is “built like a tank.”
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Vapor barriers are ideal for reducing/limiting moisture in the ground from evaporating and migrating up into the crawl space. This helps to prevent problems that arise when moisture condenses on cold surfaces, such as ductwork and wood.
Unless you enjoy hearing phrases such as wood rot, mold and mildew, you’d be well-advised to use a vapor barrier. The takeaway? A vapor barrier is a good idea.
But what about vapor barriers? As in multiple barriers being used at the same time? Do you get extra credit if you use more?
In fact, I recently came across a crawl space in which two vapor barriers were installed in the crawl space. In my report, I wrote that the use of two vapor barriers actually causes problems because water can become entrapped between vapor barrier layers, prolonging evaporation time which can lead to stagnant water conditions.
In other words, one barrier is more than enough.
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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.
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Almost there isn’t quite good enough for this ladder.
I recently discovered this unique version of an attic access hatch during a recent home inspection in Mount Vernon. The pull-down ladder in the garage was undersized and did not fully extend to the concrete slab below; furthermore, the pull-down ladder hatch did not close fully, which was a safety issue as the garage ceiling is considered a fire separation barrier between the garage and the home.
In the home inspection, we have a very technical term for this: double trouble!
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