What I'm Seeing Now


The Dormers Are Really High. No One Will Notice The Flashing.

I can hear it now - supervisor to sub:  "The dormers are really high.  No one will notice the flashing."

On this new construction my client called me and an engineer to conduct a pre-drywall inspection.  We both found the same things!  Not talking one to another we each developed lists that matched. 

The builder said two things:  no other inspector had noticed anything and until our inspections they thought they had built perfect houses, and they made many changes due to what we had found.

And they didn't mind!

Having me back for a final inspection and before I got out of my car, I saw that the dormers on the front of the house looked odd.

My distance vision is very good, I'm told better than 20/10, so I see stuff!

Breaking out my binoculars (20X with an image-stabilizing button) I examined both and found them to be the same.

Very high, and hard to see except from across the street, they both looked like this.

The "flashing" was merely nailed to the framing and the shingles rested without any flashing whatever.

Did they think this was finished?

No matter, it makes the report!  With a photo if possible.

I have a hard time with distance photos in that the camera is hard to stabilize and the focus isn't always really sharp.  But you can get the idea here!  This is schmuck work.

When I see things like this I look at the neighborhood. 

On the first set of townhouses the flashing was done correctly, with the wood framing over the flashing and the shingles with their own counter flashing, also under the framing.  This set of townhouses represented the Best Practice.

The second set of houses was much worse, only basically acceptable.  The flashing and shingles had been glued to the framing with roof tar, which covered the nails.  Is it long lasting?  No, but the county would not say anything.  I would of course.

And on this set of townhouses the flashing on every dormer looked like this.  I don't know if their standards diminished as they moved along (to meet specific quarterly financial deadlines) or if they used different subs.


Perhaps they thought nobody would notice.  Maybe until now nobody had.  But to fix this properly both dormers will need to be taken apart and completely redone.  Have fun with that!

My recommendation:  you are hiring a home inspector to NOTICE!  He is there to observe and report.  A final inspection covers the entirety of the house - outside and inside.  And everywhere the inspector is allowed access!  Some inspectors even go nuts.  In this house the master bathroom shower door leaked onto the floor because I was able to direct the shower head onto it.  But the other shower was such that I could not direct the water flow.  So I climbed into the shower and splashed the water with my hand!  The door did not leak, but I paid the price!  Laying wet stuff on the floor registers and cranking the heat dried everything quickly!  So all's well that ends well...




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 21 commentsJay Markanich • December 02 2013 01:48AM
The Dormers Are Really High. No One Will Notice The Flashing.
I can hear it now - supervisor to sub: "The dormers are really high. No one will notice the flashing. " On this new construction my client called me and an engineer to conduct a pre-drywall inspection. We both found the same things… more