Tag Archives: Washington


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).

Standalone Saturdays: Sunrise on Orcas

Share your Northwest Washington imagery with the All Islands Home Inspections community. Simply take your photo and/or videos, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook. 

Throughout the year, those who tag their photos will have a chance to win some fun prizes. 

Do you have questions or comments about San Juan Island living or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect


Tim Hance with high school sweetheart (and now wife) Liz at West Beach Resort on Orcas Island (circa 1989), posing with a lingcod caught in front of his family’s resort. 

Even though I grew up in the San Juan Islands and have lived in Northwest Washington most of my life, I’ve never tired of the region’s natural allure. 

Now, as a home inspector traveling the area on a regular basis, I can enjoy many of the elements that make this area so unique. I may be a little biased, but I believe my coverage area—which includes San Juan, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties—has some of the most compelling scenery you’ll ever come across.

As you can probably tell, it’s safe to say I love my job and I love where I live, which brings us to a concept I call “Standalone Saturday.”

What is this? In the newspaper world, a standalone photo tells a story without any (or a limited number) of words. 

On Saturdays throughout the year, I hope to give you a peak of what I see as a home inspector traveling in my neck of the woods through photos I snap along the way. Of course, these shots might include sunrises, ferry rides, rocky coastlines, flowing rivers, and bald eagles. But it also might mean interesting architecture or innovative home improvements.

Share your #AllIslandsLife for your chance to win cool prizes

I’m sure if you know or live in this area, you probably feel the same about how special it is here. That’s why I invite you to share your Northwest Washington imagery with the All Islands Home Inspections community. Take your picture or video showing why you appreciate the region, and tag it with #AllIslandsLife on Twitter or Facebook

Those who tag their photos or videos with #AllIslandsLife will have a chance to win some fun prizes throughout the year. We’ll let you know more about this later in the month.

In the meantime, get snapping and posting!

Do you have questions or comments about home inspections? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect


Vermin—particularly mice and rats—eat (or chew) on seemingly everything. Their varied diets and behaviors have frequently been a source of equal parts puzzlement and awe for me.

I’ve seen them devour electrical wires, wood, rubber…just about everything you can think of in a home.

Recently, I came across a home in Friday Harbor, Washington with vermin-damaged heat pump refrigerant line insulation. Vermin-damaged insulation is something I regularly see on the job, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, which is very vermin friendly. This particular issue was also exacerbated by a small opening near the damage where vermin could come and go into the house like Airbnb guests.

In this case, I recommended sealing or screening this open penetration to help safeguard against vermin intrusion/activity and having the insulation repaired and replaced.

Questions or comments about vermin intrusion or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect


So, the Koi Pond in the backyard isn’t enough, and you want to create an underfloor lake in your home as well? We have an easy solution: consider removing your washing machine’s drain pan!

However, if an in-home body of water isn’t part of your home renovation plans, the installation of a drain pan may be in order. Recently, during an inspection on Orcas Island, Washington, I came across this relatively common issue. Drain pans can help safeguard against water damage in the event of a future potential leak in laundry rooms. 

I’ve seen plenty of occurrences where this small, preventative measure could have saved homeowners lots of cash and peace of mind. Pans are readily available at home improvement stores, in plumbing supply outlets and online, and are simple to install.

Questions or comments about water damage or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @AIHomeInspect


Testing an electrical outlet is simple with an outlet tester. This device is economical, typically costs under $20, and every homeowner should have one. I recommend you purchase the outlet tester with the GFCI button so you can also test bathroom, kitchen, garage and exterior outlets for GFCI protection. 

To test any outlet, plug the outlet tester into the outlet and note the light pattern. A legend on the outlet tester will show you what the pattern indicates (e.g., whether the outlet is wired properly or not). 

You’d be surprised how many incorrectly wired outlets I discover inspecting homes, even brand-new homes! If you discover an electrical issue, you shouldn’t use that outlet until it is repaired. 

To test for GFCI protection, plug in the outlet tester, see if the light pattern is correct and then push the top button. If it trips (e.g., if the power goes off), then the outlet is indeed GFCI protected and working properly (you’ll need to find the tripped GFCI breaker or outlet elsewhere in the home and reset it to restore power after tripping). 

I encourage you to go out, purchase an outlet tester, test your outlets and repair any noted defective.

Questions or comments about electrical issues or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and let us know at @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.