Tag Archives: home inspector

Flooring 101: How to care for wood flooring

Wood flooring in homes is certainly a beautiful feature, but it’s important to keep it dry. Pay particular attention to wood flooring in bathrooms, kitchens and adjacent exterior doors. Signs of water intrusion include staining and cupping (warping) of wood floors. Even if you notice subtle cupping or staining of your wood floors, take action as soon as possible; water damage only gets worse with time. I use a high-quality moisture meter at inspections which reveals underlying moisture not visible to the naked eye. 

This tool has saved countless homeowners from costly water damage, catching it before the problem becomes quite expensive and extensive. Well-maintained, wood floors will provide years of lasting beauty and value to your home. My personal favorite type of wood flooring is distressed or historic/reclaimed clear vertical grain (CVG) fir. It’s a Pacific Northwest classic!

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

COME ON NOW, GIVE ME A CHALLENGE, THAT’S TOO EASY A DEFECT TO SPOT! OR, MAYBE THEY WERE TRYING TO HIGHLIGHT IT?

Sometimes, home inspection problems can be hard to spot. And other times…

A recent inspection in Bow provided one of these “other times,” when I discovered an active plumbing leak in the bathroom. It was kind of impossible to miss the bright, yellow bucket that had been installed to catch the dripping water. 

It certainly made my job easier. 

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

ANOTHER ADVENTURE WITH LP INNERSEAL COMPOSITE SIDING

I’ve written about LP InnerSeal composite siding a bit here on the blog because I encounter it relatively often. As you might know, LP InnerSeal siding is a product that was subject to a class-action lawsuitfor premature failure and elevated maintenance requirements. 

Despite these issues, the siding will potentially deliver years of serviceable life if well and proactively maintained (e.g., painted and caulked). However, it does require high maintenance. 

I recently came across a home in Freeland that had deteriorated and swelled LP composite siding, together with fungal growth. In my report, I recommended that my clients have the siding further evaluated by a qualified contractor, one familiar with LP InnerSeal siding and its unique painting requirements.

Do you have questions or comments about siding issues? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

GHOSTING: NOT JUST SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS AFTER A BAD DATE

If you own a wood stove and live in an under-insulated house, there is a good chance you’ve seen mysterious-looking stains on your walls and ceilings. This “sooting”— a phenomenon known as “ghosting”— typically suggests incomplete combustion byproducts condensing upon cooler framing members. 

In other words, hot meets cold, and then invites dust and/or soot particles to the party. While it may resemble mold, it’s usually not.

I recently noted this during a visit to a home in Friday Harbor where visible soot outlined underlying framing elements. As you can see in the picture, ghosting can sometimes create unique patterns. 

If your home is experiencing “ghosting,” learn about addressing the possible causes

If you have questions or comments about “ghosting”-related issues, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

3 Questions: Melnick Electric

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 electrical issues with Gunnar Melnick, owner of Melnick Electric.

Q1: I’ve noticed that my light dimmer switch is hot to the touch.  Is this an issue that I should be concerned about and have repaired right away?

When you encounter a warm dimmer, make sure it’s not burning to the touch. Dimmers can be warm from the current passing through them, but they should never be hot to the touch. If you encounter a hot dimmer switch, call your local licensed electrician to service it.  
 
Q2: I have a newer home with those fancy AFCI, GFCI, and dual-function circuit breakers (e.g., the breakers in the electrical panel that have “test” buttons).  Periodically, I lose power in a circuit and have to reset some of these breakers.  Is this normal or should I be concerned?

AFCI and GFCI breakers are a new standard for safety. They both have two jobs that will save your home (and even your life) from an electrical fire or shock. Whether the device has been installed in a new home or older, if you ever have a tripping breaker, you should call a licensed electrician to come and inspect the circuit. 

Q3: These new tamper-resistant outlets in my home are driving me crazy!  Sometimes, it can be impossible to insert an appliance plug.  Do you have any advice to help with this common complaint?

Tamper-resistant outlets are a wonderful safety feature for any home. They’re designed to keep anything that’s not an appliance plug out, such as paper clips, forks, or small objects. When trying to plug in appliances, try to angle the prongs so the left prong enters first, following with the right and the lower. When all else fails, a little wiggling helps with these outlets.

About Melnick Electric
Gunnar Melnick is the owner of Melnick Electric in Oak Harbor, Wash. The business is licensed, bonded, and insured. Contact Gunnar at 360-720-4764.
 
A big “thanks” to Gunnar for his responses!

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

PRETTY IN PINK? NOT SO MUCH

Occasionally, I come across pink foam insulation in crawl spaces. This scenario most recently occurred during a home inspection in Friday Harbor. 

Whenever I see it, I recommend that my clients cover it with a non-combustible material for safety reasons.

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

MORE HANDYMAN FLUE PIPE WORK: CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT GETS WINDY?

Sometimes, I see the nuttiest things when it comes to handyman repairs. Case-in-point: I recently came across a pair of metal corrugated flue pipes on a rooftop in San Juan County that penetrated the chimney chase.

Aside from having an “alien-like” quality in appearance, they were also not properly terminated or secured.

Do you have questions or comments about home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

Fun Facts Friday

Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the United States, serving eight counties within Washington and the Province of British Columbia in Canada.

New York City has operated the Staten Island Ferry since 1905. The ferry carries approximately 25 million passengers annually, running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Hong Kong’s Star Ferry was founded in 1888 as the Kowloon Ferry Company. The fleet of 12 ferries operates two routes across the harbor, carrying more than 70,000 passengers per day. 

THE AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING BRICK GOES TO…

I see lots of old houses with lots of handyman repairs when I’m on the job. While these repairs may not be up to code, I have to applaud ingenuity when I see it. 

For example, I recently noted handyman construction practices at an exterior deck stoop in Mount Vernon, where a brick was strategically placed to prop up a deck support column. Well-played, homeowner. Well-played…

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