What I'm Seeing Now

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Water Can Run, But It Can't Hide

When people call me for a one-year warranty inspection, I always recommend they add a thermal-infrared image examination to it to check insulation.  That is really the main reason I recommend IR as leaking usually isn't a problem they haven't already discovered. 

During this particular exam I found water getting behind gutters, into the interior where stucco meets vinyl siding or faux stone and in the bases of porch columns.  While none of those things is terribly unusual, it is important to try to find out why water is getting in. 

Well, a drip edge is really needed on most any roof.  It is intended to prevent water from wicking back under the shingles and soak the sheathing, particularly where there is not much slope to the roof.  This builder dutifully installed a drip edge all around the roof.  However, it seems his roofing contractor is in the habit of not extending it all the way to the ends. 

Water is getting behind the gutters at the edges where large holes have been left for it.  Water uses the most convenient path provided it.

Just under this location, and at the opposite end of this porch, are columns.  You can see the top of one at the bottom here.

There is also stucco siding (synthetic stucco), which needs to be sealed carefully where it abuts anything.

This next photo might give a hint as to why water may be getting into the interior walls and columns.

I would assume the faux stone (and siding, not pictured here) were installed prior to the synthetic stucco.  Those gaps simply have to be sealed.  There is a special sealing caulk that installers use.  It could be that all over the house, where such large gaps were left, the installer intended to get back to work after lunch, or on Monday.  But it is obvious he never did.

This is the smallest gap left on top of the columns.  On a couple the gaps were 3".  Well, THAT is a convenient path for water to flow!

Before I got my ladder out of my back pocket to make sure, I already knew where the water was getting in.  But I wanted to be sure, and take a picture.  Or two.  Or thirty.

My clients always ask the same question, "Is it supposed to be like that?" or "The supervisor told us that those gaps allow it all to breath."  Well, no.  At this house, the damage is done and obvious as to why.

My recommendation:   Agents should recommend a final inspection to your clients on any new construction.  It is amazing the kinds of things I find on a final walk through.  It is also amazing to me how a supervisor can be on site for 100 or 150 days and not find the things I come up with in a couple of hours!  These are problems that home inspectors would find on a final walk-through inspection.  And that BEFORE the damage is done.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • June 01 2009 07:26AM

Comments

People sometimes...more often than not...assume that NEW is inspection proof...oh not...before we have one on NEW...I am there with my roll of blue tape and notes and let them finish the list I punched...and then on with the inspection...would ya like some ice for those shingles...that really makes inspections much more fun !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

I like the thermal-infrared image technology.  It doesn't replace the a good set of knowledgeable eyes and someone on the top of their game.

Posted by Mark Watterson, Utah Real Estate over 9 years ago

Hey Jay,

Water can be so sneaky. It likes hospitality...if you give it any welcome whatsoever, it will come right in and make itself at home. I sure wish you were in my part of the country.

all the best...

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 9 years ago

Good Monring,

I don't believe many inspectors in my are use thermal-infrared image technology. I suppose they really should.. I will ask on next home insprction. Thanks for the info.

Posted by Monique Hailer, South West Florida & Southern Maryland Homes (Schooner Bay Realty., Inc. & CENTURY 21 New Millenniun) over 9 years ago

Hello Jay: I guess it is looking like it is a good thing they had that inspection, as in a few more years the cost for repairs would be pricey.

Posted by Mary Strang over 9 years ago

Water can be a terrbile thing with a house. It can do many things to it. MOLD Uggh

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 9 years ago

Sally and David - you are right of course.  I am glad we are done with icecicles around here!  Hope you are there too...

Mark - it takes experience, eyes, thermal imaging and a good moisture meter. All the toys make for a more fun game and it helps me to choose the right...

Bill - sneaky is as sneaky does!  Who knows, retirement may be in your area of the country...!

Monique - thanks for stopping by!  And you SHOULD ask!

Mary - it might be pricey now, depending on what they find inside those walls!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Harry - water is THE killer of houses, inside and out!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay,

On new house inspections sometimes I wonder why the mistakes I see even exist. It seems like the builder must know better.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Yes, Steve, I think the builder and the subs all know better!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

New construction should always be inspected before closing, but many buyers seem to believe that if the house is new there are no problems.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

I love the way that the contractor... when confronted with the question "is it supposed to be like that..."  rather than saying "oops... we missed that"... simply lied.

btw... I find that water is very good at "hiding".

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 9 years ago

James - no kidding!  I have more problems on new construction than old.

Elvis - (Alan) - Once I confronted a supervisor when I found the subs installing wood trim with interior bright nails.  I asked him why they don't use stainless steel, galvanized or dipped nails.  He asked, "Dipped in what?"  I rest my case...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Great pictures Jay.  Do you think the drip edge is suppose to be like that?

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 9 years ago

Jack - I could have taken more pictures of it.  It was very erratic as they tried to bend it to fit the angle of that not-so-steep slope.  Where it abutted another piece each end was bent funny.  The whole job was not, shall we say, professional?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, if people really understood how "gravity defying" water can be, they wouldn't try to flash things the way they do or leave in out in the places they do:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charlie - right!  Unlike other things, water doesn't always flow down...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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