Tag Archives: northwestern washington


Should you DIY plumbing vents to the exterior of your home?  I recommend leaving this up to a qualified plumbing contractor, as venting is important and getting it wrong can lead to unpleasant sensory experiences and/or improper drainage function. 


Did some mishap during the installation of your deck’s stair system cause one (1) or more of your steps to be uneven in step height?  This can definitely be a tripping hazard and should be addressed for safety reasons.   

For this reason, I recommend further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor.  


As a home inspector, I’m often on the road, traveling around San Juan, Island, Whatcom, and Skagit counties. Along the way, I’m often awed by what I see. On the first Saturday of the month, I plan to share some of these great scenes with you. 

I invite you to share your Northwest Washington imagery, too! Take your picture or video showing why you appreciate the region, tag it with #AllIslandsLife, and share via social media.

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


“I would hate to be in competition with Tim Hance. He’s thorough, efficient and he knows his stuff. He even sent a drone up to photograph the house from the air. He was also fun to work with. I think he enjoys his work, and it shows. The report was very thorough but he also went over things verbally on the spot so I knew right away what his thoughts and concerns were. If you are considering a home purchase you would do well to hire Tim for your inspection.”

Charlie K. 


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.

Kelly Fox

This month, we talk about siding issues with Kelly Fox, president at Frontier Building Supply in Anacortes.

Q1: What kind of exterior wood trim do you recommend that has the best longevity and requires the least maintenance? 

For longevity and low maintenance, I recommend PVC trim from brands like Royal and AZEK. These types of trim options have some limitations when it comes to the color, typically requiring light colors or dark colors without dark pigments. For an excellent all-around product, fiber-cement trim takes any color of paint and matches the longevity of the fiber-cement siding. 

Q2: What’s your favorite type of exterior siding, and why?

At my core, I am a wood guy, and on my own home, I would have cedar siding in lap and shake for the natural beauty that only wood brings. As I age, that may change to fiber cement for the low maintenance and warranties that add value to the home. With advances in manufacturing, fiber cement companies are making great-looking shingle products that finish up like wood. 

Q3: What’s your best advice to homeowners about maintaining the exteriors of their homes?

When I think about maintaining the exterior of a home, I am naturally drawn to what is protecting the investment. In most homes, that is the paint and sealants. The difference between good paint and great paint is the quality of the ingredients. More expensive paints are using higher solid contents and better binders that help the paint cover and hide. While I know that not every budget can afford the best-quality paints, I recommend that you buy the best quality paints and sealants within your means.

Bonus Q: Any excellent, new exterior product(s) you love and can share with our audience?

Synthetic stone products have been around for as long as I have been in the industry and probably longer. Some manufacturers have found ways to “panelize” these products that stack and install like traditional siding without the need for traditional stonemason skills (or expenses). While these might not be for an entire house, they are great for accent wall, entries or can be used to create a rich look of stacked sidings. (I have even seen some of these used to create great fireplace surrounds inside and out!)

About Frontier Building Supply

 In 1975 in an old house on the waterfront of Anacortes, Washington, Frontier Industries was born. Family owned and operated, Frontier was founded on the idea that a combination of exemplary service, first-rate quality, and a competitive price couldn’t miss. Today, with six locations in three counties and more than 70 employees, that same idea forms the very core of the company’s values. Now, doing business as Frontier Building Supply, the organization is proud to be the company the professionals use. Clientele consists of high-quality custom home builders, first-rate commercial contractors, and remodelers. More information at http://www.fbs.us.

A big “thanks” to Kelly for his responses! If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).


Although pink is arguably one of the best colors, it’s not the best to have exposed pink foam board insulation in your attic or crawlspace areas for safety reasons.  I recommend that you cover exposed pink foam board in your attic/crawlspace with a noncombustible material, or remove it if that’s impractical. 

Exposed pink foam board insulation is combustible and could catch fire and creep up on unwary dwellers.  Either take that stuff out, or get it covered!

Having pink foam board insulation in your attic or crawlspace does not mean that your home will undoubtably at some point catch fire.  But because the possibility remains, I recommend you remove or cover pink foam board insulation.  


Knob-and-tube (K&T) wiring was at its peak in popularity between the years 1880 and 1930/40, serving buildings the best way available at the time (it is now obsolete).  K&T wiring is not inherently dangerous in itself, but hazards can arise from handyman modifications and insulation enveloping these wires over time.  

K&T wiring is not grounded, so it cannot serve 3-pronged appliances/outlets.  This type of wiring is not available for new construction, but is not required to be removed in older construction either.  This being said, I personally recommend you remove K&T wiring and have it further inspected by a qualified electrician to be on the safe side.