This is the last of a small series of three posts called you can ONLY see this kind of thing PRE-DRYWALL.
Pre-drywall inspections are essential to the building process and this is being realized by more and more buyers.
One of the reasons these folks bought this house was the master bedroom design.
It takes up almost 1/2 of the upper level!
The sleeping area is large, with an attached, and large, sitting area. The sitting area is down two steps from the sleeping area.
Separating these two rooms is a gas fireplace.
It can be seen from both sides. They loved the fireplace. They always wanted a fireplace in the bedroom.
Looking more closely at the vent I noticed that the connection between the fireplace and chimney inside the attic was carefully sealed. A silicone caulking formulated for heat, with the ability to expand and contract, was used to seal this connection.
SUCH A SEALANT IS REQUIRED BY THE LOCAL FIRE CODE.
Fire is not the only reason for this. Carbon monoxide and fireplace safety is the other reason.
Looking around the back side of the vent it appeared that the caulking got very erratic.
Not seeing it well I stuck my camera in there to snap a photo.
On the fireplace itself, just before the vent tubing coming out of the box, is an instruction sticker. It teaches how much distance is required between the vent and any combustible materials.
IT ALSO SAYS THAT ALL CONNECTIONS TO AND FROM THE FIREPLACE NEED TO BE SEALED COMPLETELY.
My camera revealed that the tubing is NOT entirely sealed.
Now, this much of a gap, about 1/5" on the back side of the tubing, may or may not represent a serious issue. I think it does as the instructions are specific.
BUT WHAT BOTHERS ME ABOUT THIS IS THAT THE INSTALLER KNOWS HE DID NOT SEAL THE TUBING COMPLETELY. DOES THE SUPERVISOR? IF NOT, WHY NOT? IS HE NOT CHECKING FOR SAFETY, ESPECIALLY SOMETHING AS IMPORTANT AS A SAFETY THING REGARDING FIRE OR CARBON MONOXIDE?
If I can find it, anyone else can find it.
If I can see it, anyone else can see it.
My recommendation: when the builder's representative says you do not need a pre-drywall inspection because their supervisor is there every day, they hire professionals to do the work, the County is by multiple times to look at the house, or whatever they say - IT IS VERY, VERY CIRCUMSPECT TO HIRE YOUR OWN HOME INSPECTOR. You never know what he might find. And, to quote the cliche, you don't know what you don't know.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560