Archive for the ‘old homes’ Category

And, what is engineered wood flooring?  I Googled up “Engineered flooring” and got About 30,900,000 results (0.98 seconds)

Technically, engineered wood is any wood product that is not solid wood. Producers of wood panel products like to call plywood the first engineered product. Plywood consists of thin veneers of wood that are stacked so that the grain of one layer, or ply, runs perpendicular to the plies above and below it. An adhesive is applied between the plies and they’re bonded together on a hot press.

engineered-wood-sheathing

It is nearly impossible for a home inspector to know how many layers of laminate flooring are involved or how many times it can sanded (if any). Sometimes we might find a left over piece of flooring somewhere on site. If we are really lucky there might be a box of it sitting around. Then, you can do some research to find out general care instructions.

 

 

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Thanks to Home Inspector Kevin Rose for sharing this photo.

” The ENTIRE plumbing system was updated about 20 years ago” says the seller!
Bay Minette, 1950’s house.

Yet another good reason to get a home inspection. Are you going to go into the crawlspace under the home to inspect it?

Old drain pipes

 

After a rainstorm look for water puddling near your foundation.  If there are puddles you need to re-grade, install a moisture barrier, french drain, cut a swale, gutters, etc.

Ideally water will drain 3″+ away from the foundation of your home

I just finished an inspection that the client didn’t want, at first. Her lending institution told her she needed one to get a loan. (That’s another story) During the course of the inspection things went very well. The house was 30 plus years old and had recently been rehabbed by someone local.

When I got to the heating and cooling I found an item which costs only a few dollars and it was incorrectly installed which could cost someone their life. I found that someone used a clothes dryer vent pipe for a gas flu vent type “b” vent. Needless to say, this won’t work, the back side of the vent was cooked with a large hole in it. Carbon monoxide had been pouring into the house while doing this home inspection until I found this safety issue.

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I immediately turned the heater off and asked the clients and their young kids to go outside and get some fresh air. Fortunately they had not been there but a very short time and fresh air is all they needed and they refused medical treatment. I do carry a small medical bag with me and checked my SPO2 levels which were fine.

Lots of lessons to be learned here. Above all else, GET A HOME INSPECTION!

In the recent past I have started using a full face respirator. Currently model 3m 6898 which gives me lots of protection form respiratory stresses. It feels somewhat claustrophobic at first, but after some time it gets easier to use. Just being in  a crawlspace can be touch enough, it’s dusty, wet, stinky and usually very close quarters. This face mask allows easier breathing, literally. During an inspection last week, the mold was so bad under the home some of the floor, joists and beams were not visible. There is no way I want to breath that stuff! As you may know, all of this “stuff” getting into your eyes can’t be good for you either.

3m respirator

I wear a disposable Tyvek suit, full face mask, gloves and special shoes at almost every crawlspace.

 

 

 

 

 

Mold infested crawlspace

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We are often confronted with potential unsafe conditions.

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Whether it’s entering crawlspaces under homes or trying to make it through a golf tournament.

 

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You just never know all the Things We Do.

These foundation piers found installed under a home are another good example of why you need a home inspection!
This home had been maintained by the good meaning home owners. Cinder blocks should not be installed on their sides when used used for support. I found a few of these blocks have cracks and are ready to split and fail holding the home up.

Foundation Piers

Most of the remaining blocks have settled due to improper footings and are leaning, allowing the home to do the same.

These repairs will run thousands of dollars$$$

Very often I am asked how much longer will these appliance last. There are so many variables that I can’t accurately answer the question. Though NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) offers some guidelines and since I see so many different aged units I can often give some guidance.
“Appliances

The life expectancy of a typical appliance depends to a great extent on the use it receives. Moreover, appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable. Of the major appliances in a home, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years. Some of the appliances with the shortest lifespan are: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years)” and water heaters 5-15 years

Mold

At a Home Inspection the other day I saw the worst case of mold in a crawlspace in 11 years of inspecting in Pensacola and Gulf Shores areas. This mold substance is so embedded into the floor and joists under the home I could put my hand right through the framing members.

Should have ventilated

Should have ventilated

 

 

I sure am glad I wear a respirator mask

Chemicals

At an inspection yesterday out in the country, I found some nearly empty barrels of some unknown fluids stored in the pump house. While going into the crawlspace the first thing I noticed was a familiar site, black beams and joists. I assume it’s creosote but recommend they make sure it’s disposed of properly before closing.

I know that creosote is not good for us or our environment, however, I don’t recall seeing termite problems in any of these creosote covered crawlspaces.