During a recent home inspection on Orcas Island, I came across a CMU masonry chimney system that made me feel like I was a comedian. That’s because it was cracking up. Get it, “cracking up?”
Okay, I admit that was pretty bad. Alright, back to the chimney, minus the poor attempt at humor. Maybe…
Chimney cracks do come in all shapes and sizes. As you’ll see in the video, this particular crack extended nearly the entire length of the system when viewed from the outside. I say nearly because outwardly, it appeared to stop just short of the home’s independent footing. This is important because if it did, it would be a telltale sign of potential significant structural damage.
However, without popping off the chimney cap at the top, it was impossible for me to know this for sure. The best course of action, in this case, was to recommend further evaluation by a qualified contractor, who could verify my initial hunches and also seal the cracks.
While these cracks were probably not a big deal, they were the likely contributing factor to water intrusion (presenting as efflorescence deposits and water stains) near the fireplace in the home’s living room. Invasive moisture is just one of many reasons to repair chimney cracks.
See, no more terrible jokes. At least until next time, right?
Do you have questions or comments about chimney cracks or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@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, in our inaugural edition of “3 Questions,” we spoke with Norman Flint—owner of Timberline Construction LLC—about some common roofing questions.”
Q1: What’s your favorite type of composition roof and why? “Architectural composition is the most universal and widely used. It has longevity and looks good on a variety of buildings.”
Q2: What are your thoughts about pressure washing roofs? “Pressure washing roofs tend to cause more damage than benefit. Moss treatment products are best applied early. Consistent maintenance for moss is a better approach. Once the moss gets rooted, it is a difficult process of scraping and light pressure washing. It is best to address moss in the dry months when the roots of the moss are dried out.”
Q3: For asphalt composition roofs, what are the most significant issues you discover when inspecting roofs coming to end-of-life? “The biggest problem with any roof coming to the end-of-life is that owners wait too long to replace them. This leads to a host of issues, ranging from (roofing) blow off, leaks, water damage, and rot-related issues.”
About Timberline Construction Timberline performs full construction services for new construction and remodels, including services related to roofing, siding, decks, additions, etc. The company—started in 1990 by Norman—is based in Eastsound on Orcas Island, and serves Orcas Island, Shaw Island and the outer islands.
“We are a small, hands-on crew, which ensures quality for our customers,” Flint said. A big thanks to Norman and Timberline for their responses.
Questions or comments about roofing or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).
It’s surprising how often I come across this issue when doing home inspections: metal flue pipes serving furnaces and water heaters that come in contact with roof sheathing and underlayment in the attic. When this occurs, it’s a very obvious safety issue.
This issue is especially common when roofs are replaced. Why? Contractors may neglect to appropriately cut back roofing materials during installation.
If you want to make sure your home doesn’t inspire David Byrne to write another song about burning structures, you’d be well-served to provide 1-inch of clearance, free and clear, around the flue pipe at all times. And again, this is especially important if you have had your roof recently replaced.
Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections shares a video of water intrusion in a crawl space from a recent home inspection. Water intrusion in crawl spaces is never okay, and should be dealt with by a qualified contractor as it can lead to structural issues and insect damage.
Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections shares a video of an uncapped chimney at a recent home inspection. In the past, chimney caps weren’t installed because people used their fireplaces all day/night as a source of heat; the constant updraft prevented water intrusion becoming an issue. Today, that’s not the case for most homeowners, so it’s really important to install chimney caps to prevent water intrusion that can lead to expensive damage. Thanks for watching!
Tim Hance discovered a “free-spinning” Jacuzzi tub faucet at a recent inspection on Orcas Island. If your faucet handle does this, typically the valve needs replacement; a plumbing contractor may very well advise simply replacing both faucets, especially if they’re older.