Tag Archives: anacortes


Radiant heating systems directly heat the floor or panels in the wall or ceiling of a house, rather than heating the air, as do forced-air heating systems. The technique can be likened to standing in full sun on a chilly day, or feeling the warmth of a distant bonfire even though the air is cold. Despite the name, radiant heating systems also depend on convection — the natural circulation of heat within a room — caused by heat rising from the floor.

May Newsletter: Structural Issues

Now presenting this month’s All Islands Argus! This month, we discuss structural issues—including an exclusive interview with Sturdy Engineering Corporation.  Sign up for the monthly newsletter today!  Check out this month’s newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/allislandsinspections.com/structural-issues-remodeling-6228011


Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.
This month, we learn about structural issues with Gary Sturdy, PE, owner at Sturdy Engineering Corporation in Anacortes. Additionally, more information about related structural engineering topics is available via our Real Estate Unveiled! podcast page.
Q1: My old house appears to have settled over time and is “leaning” somewhat.  What are some things I should be on the lookout for to see if I need a contractor to further evaluate?
A gradual settling observed over years is an indication of poor soil conditions below the foundation.  The problem must first be identified; applying a fix to the symptoms may worsen it.
The first objective is to determine soil conditions under the foundation, including depth of poor soils.  Once that is determined, a proper solution can be engineered to solve the problem.  As an example, adding width to the existing foundation will add weight and might create even greater settlement. 
Q2: The masonry chimney on my old house appears to have settled and isn’t perfectly plumb; I can see a gap between the chimney and the home.  How can I tell if this is historic or a major structural concern and safety issue?
A snapshot in time will not give you answers to historic events.  That gap might have been there for years without change, which would indicate that the settlement has stopped and the underlying soils are stable.  Continual monitoring with measurement over time or soil testing will determine if the underlying soils are unstable.
An engineer can help you determine how far out of plumb is safe for your particular chimney style and construction.  At that time, the engineer can determine if remedial action is imminent.
Q3: Wood destroying organisms (WDOs), like Carpenter ants, Anobiid beetles, and Pacific Dampwood termites are commonplace in the Pacific NW.  Eliminating elevated moisture is absolutely the key to keeping a home free of WDOs.  Recognizing that these insects literally eat wood structure, is there a general rule-of-thumb for when replacement may, or may not, be necessary? In older homes, for instance, minor WDO damage is commonplace, and replacing all structural elements with minor insect damage would involve substantially replacing most of the home’s structure. Is this really necessary, or is there a more practical, “real-world” approach?
Each piece of lumber has an allowable load, or maximum weight that it can withstand.  For example, a piece of lumber might only be loaded to 50-percent of its allowable value.  In this case, the bugs can eat away a significant amount of wood before safety is an issue.  On the other hand, a piece of lumber that is fully loaded cannot withstand any bug damage. An experienced engineer can determine what repairs are required for your safety, while integrating practical and economical solutions.
About Sturdy Engineering Corporation 
Sturdy Engineering Corporation in Anacortes provides structural analysis & design for residential, commercial, light industrial, recreational, and agricultural structures. These structures may utilize a variety of building materials, including wood/logs, timber frames, concrete, steel, and structural insulated panels. More information at https://www.sturdyengineering.com/#
A big “thanks” to Gary for his responses!
If you have questions or comments about structural issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk about sewer line issues with Bohannan T. McKenzie, owner at Anacortes Plumbing in Anacortes.

Q1: In older homes with original sewer lines, do you recommend video scoping to determine useful remaining life and replacement cost?

Let’s talk about the waste system of your home: in homes older than the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, the internal waste systems were most often assembled using either cast iron and galvanized piping or copper piping. During this era, both types were the best options available. In fact, in this current day, many commercial applications still use the cast iron piping. Since that time, however, we have discovered better ways to vent the plumbing systems. We’ve also uncovered issues with the types of fittings used in that era. Both systems have some characteristics that you should consider. With cast iron systems, the galvanized branches corrode from the inside, causing a “caking” effect on the walls of the pipe. This “caking” reduces the inside diameter, causing the pipe to be too small for waste to pass through as designed. The cast iron fittings are also prone to failure, causing leaks and root intrusion (if near or in the soil). Copper systems do not handle the caustic environment of waste, especially with the use of modern cleaning agents. This type of system is often degraded to the point that the lower-third of the horizontal piping is either paper-thin or completely rotted out. In both cases, I recommend camera-scoping the interior as well as an external visual inspection of the piping. 

Modern homes, built from the mid-1980s onward, were usually plumbed in ABS or PVC. With these systems, there have been a few cases of bad materials, but they are uncommon. Most issues with plumbing systems of this era are due to faulty install, or improper usage.

Q2: With older sewer lines, is annual maintenance necessary? 

Plumbing inspections may not need to be annual, but the frequency of inspection should increase as the piping degrades. As a professional, I would recommend you schedule an appointment with your plumber, who should inspect the piping and tell you of its condition. The piping may need replacement, but pipes throughout the home will be in varying points of the aging process. Your plumber should be able to tell you how often you need an inspection, as well as how you might plan for a future re-pipe of your home.

Q3: Im noticing low-functional flow with some plumbing fixtures. Is there an easy way to figure out if this is the fixture itself or something more ominous with the main sewer line?

If you’re already noticing slow drainage, the best solution would be to call your plumber today. You may only need a drain cleaning, but a trusted professional will be able to show you precisely what is required.

BONUS QIf the sewer line needs to be replaced, what are we looking at in terms of approximate cost?

I’m sure you are wondering how much a re-pipe would cost. Understand that this is mainly dependent on the design of your home, as well as how extensive the re-pipe will need to be—but it is certainly not cheap. Expect the replacement to be in the mid- to high-thousands, per bathroom. Also, expect that if the piping requiring replacement is under slab or upstairs, you will need other trades involved. Some plumbers, such as Anacortes Plumbing, can arrange this for you if you would prefer. 

About Anacortes Plumbing

Anacortes is a family-owned business and has been through the years—although it has changed families a few times. The McKenzie family has been involved with Anacortes Plumbing since 2007. The business has a sincere desire to take care of its neighbors and community. More information at https://www.anacortes.plumbing/A big “thanks” to Bohannan for his responses!

10 ways to turn off a homebuyer

Holding HouseIt is still a home buyer’s market with lower home prices and bank rates. Many home sellers fail to realize that, to buyers, just as important as “location, location, location” is “first impression,” and appearance is its primary component. Based on appearance some buyers don’t even get out of their cars, others don’t make it all the way to your door and many have formulated positive or negative feelings about your home within the first minute, often before they even get to the bedrooms. Yahoo Finance’s Bankrate, Inc. assembled a coast-to-coast team of experts to suggest 10 buyer turnoffs that sellers should avoid at all costs.

Hope you find this useful and timely informative! If you’re looking for a top notch home inspection in Anacortes, Washington or the San Juan Islands (including Orcas Island, Friday Harbor, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island), then you need Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections working for you! Over the past 8 years, we’ve protected over 3,200 buyers from unexpected post-closing expenses. Call (360) 298-1163 to schedule your Anacortes or San Juan Islands Home Inspection today!


Like a fine wine from the Columbia Valley, your home needs to breathe. 

For example, soffit vents around the perimeter of a home can help with attic ventilation issues. However, too much ventilation is not a good thing.

I recently inspected a home in Anacortes that was missing soffit vent screens around the perimeter of the building. When vents are not screened, birds and other animals may decide to put down stakes in your home. 

Not exactly something to say “cheers” about. 

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


Homeowners often get sidetracked when it comes to “to-do” lists, especially in older homes and homes that have not been well-maintained. There is always something to do!

When one task seems to be priority No. 1, another one creeps up and takes its place (sometimes after the first job has already started). Evidence of incomplete work is a common observation in my reports.

Case in point: on a recent job in Langley, I noted unfinished electrical wiring practices in the bathroom. I also called out handyman extension cord wiring practices at multiple outlets in my report. 

I recommended the completion of this unfinished electrical work in a timely fashion.

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


Vegetative growth is not a friend to your home’s exterior systems. Well, at least most of the time.

Unfortunately, here in the Pacific Northwest, this growth is continuously trying to be best buds with roofs, siding, and trim elements. While most of the time this forced friendship appears as moss or fungal growth, occasionally, it looks a little more permanent. 

During an inspection in Anacortes, I found such an arrangement when I noted vegetative growth coming through exterior walls. In my report, I stated there was a possibility of underlying damage not visible without invasive inspection.

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


Google rating: *****

Positives: Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value 

“I had an inspection done on the home I am purchasing and I could not be happier with the entire experience! I have had 4 prior experiences with home inspections, and this was by far the most thorough and professionally handled. To say Tim was friendly and helpful is an understatement! Not only did he answer all my questions, he said to call him if anything came up in the future. He provided the very detailed report within a few hours after the completion of the inspection, which was very appreciated! The report not only detailed the current condition of the home, it also provided a listing of ongoing maintenance with their time frequencies. That list will be invaluable to me as long as I reside there. I cannot imagine a better service experience!!” 

Eileen Brennan 


A couple of Saturdays per month, I like to share recent customer reviews with you. I hope that these client testimonies—which come primarily from YelpFacebook, and Google Reviews—help you to feel more confident in my services while also saying “thanks” to clients who provide me with feedback.

This week, we hear from client Kevin Park.

My customers (you) allow me a chance to do a job I love in a place I’ve called home my whole life. Without you, All Islands Inspections wouldn’t exist. Thank you!

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