In general, handyman construction practices are not recommended by home inspectors. As is typical in historic homes, certain liberties with respect to common building practices have been undertaken over time. While we can’t really bring historic homes per se “up to code,” significant handyman shimming practices are be logical to repair and improve. What really drives pricing is access (i.e., how much space is there underneath the home for contractors to work?). If it’s really tight, it will take more time; sometimes, excavation is required which drives the price up too. If you do require excavation under an historic home, make sure the contractor doesn’t get too close to the foundation or footings, as this would be a potential structural problem too.
Do you like waking up to the sound of birds in the morning? Though this may be your preferred version of an alarm clock, I recommend screening openings in soffits on the exterior of your home to safeguard against bird and animal activity/intrusion. If you see bird droppings running out of soffit vents, there’s a chance birds are getting into your attic and the soffit vent likely needs to be re-screened. Don’t just cover it, as this can lead to elevated moisture in the attic.
As a home inspector, my job is to find problems that need to be addressed.
Bugs, unfortunately, sometimes make this task a little too easy.
When I see wood that’s been gnawed on by carpenter ants or anobiid beetles, I’m not so much a detective as simply the bearer of bad news. Fortunately, most insect damage isn’t the end of the world (or wooden beam).
During a recent inspection in Oak Harbor, I saw insect damage at the base of a 6×6 support column in a home’s crawl space. In my report, I recommended the replacement of deterioration and the insect-damaged structure.
If you have questions or comments about insect damage or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).
One of the more interesting (and challenging) aspects of my job is crawling around underneath homes. While it’s not necessarily my favorite part of the job, I do, on occasion, see some curious things.
During a recent crawl space excursion in Whatcom County, I noted that many of the CMU masonry block support columns underneath this particular manufactured home were installed upside down (e.g., the holes in blocks should face upwards).
Additionally, I noticed that some of the CMU masonry block support columns had settled, and some are not fully bearing underneath the floor structure. In my report, I suggested further evaluation of the support columns by a qualified contractor.
If you have questions or comments about asbestos issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).
Have you noticed standing water in your driveway? It may be time for exterior lot drainage improvements.
Standing water is not only frustrating and sometimes dangerous for walking and parking (especially when water freezes), but can also cause some serious damage to your concrete driveway. If water sits for too long and seeps into cracks in the concrete, often freezing during the winter months, expansion and further damage/cracking is possible. If snow or rain remains too long on the surface of your concrete driveway, discoloration is likely.
Check out this link for some more information on the dangers of standing water in your driveway: How To Fix Standing Water In Driveway: What’s The Solution? (homelogic.co.uk)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know we are overdue for “The Big One.”
Perhaps you’ve seen or heard stories on the news, or read about terrifying accounts like this New Yorker article from a few years back that pretty much freaked everyone in our region out.
Yeah, it’s going to be a doozy.
Good news: From a housing perspective, there are a few key tasks you can undertake now to prepare your home. While preparations can’t prevent all the damage, they can go a long way towards making your house—and loved ones—safer.
First and foremost, make sure your home is bolted to its foundation. If your house is a somewhat recent construction, chances are it already is. However, for older homes, it may not be bolted.
Also make sure that items in your house—particularly big furniture that might tip over and even home décor—are bolted to walls or affixed in place.
Small things that can make a big difference.
I hope this helps!
If you have questions or comments about seismic upgrades or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).
Frequently, handyman construction practices are undertaken to make life easier for home residents. A lot of the time, these “fixes” work just fine. Occasionally, however, there needs to be corrective action taken because of safety concerns.
I encountered just such a scenario during a recent home inspection on Fidalgo Island. I noticed handyman construction practices at a ramp from the garage interior to the home, which I considered a potential safety issue because the boards deflected a lot when I walked on them. When I note these types of things, I always recommend further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor in my reports.
If you have questions or comments about handyman construction practices, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).
I always enjoy coming across homes with quirks or unexpected features. Definitely one of the perks of my job.
Case in point: during a recent visit to a home in Coupeville, I found a crawl space access hatch that was placed strategically behind a bookshelf. Not only was this a stylish, efficient, and space-saving design, it also made the chore of going into a crawl space a little more entertaining.
If you have questions or comments about structural issues, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).
Moisture meters are awesome! They detect underlying saturation not visible to the eye which, caught early enough, is easily fixed and avoids water and insect damage. I use my moisture meter at every inspection, and I consider it one of the best tools in my arsenal.
Recently—during an inspection of a house in Bow—I used my moisture meter on a bathroom linoleum floor. During my testing, I noted saturation between the toilet and shower when I probed it with a moisture meter, suggesting a likely plumbing leak from the toilet (and possibly the shower). As a result, I recommend further evaluation and repair by a contractor.
Do you have questions or comments about moisture issues in your home? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).
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.”
If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).