What I'm Seeing Now

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History Mystery

This History Mystery post is inspired by Lenn Harley having been inspired by Preston Sandlin!  Boy, it gets incestuous around here!

The building industry changes so much.  Mostly, and I say this from experience, MOSTLY it is changing in terms of building product and technique.  Some things I like and some I don't!

And why are there so many changes?  Money.  What the industry is moving towards more and more, it seems to me, is CHEAPER AND QUICKER, all with the idea of the bottom line in the forefront.

Sure, some of the products are good!  And some of the techniques are good!  But I see changes that don't make sense.  For instance, medium density fiberboard used to not be used outdoors, in fact it was prohibited in many areas.

Now it seems to be used everywhere!

Why?  MONEY.  How can something that used to not work outdoors suddenly work fine now?  MONEY.  How can something that used to be considered trash now be considered "best practice?"  MONEY!

I LOVE SITTING BACK AND WATCHING THE MOVIE EVEN THOUGH SOMETIMES I THINK I KNOW THE END FROM THE BEGINNING.

Don't get me wrong!  I love new products!  I love new ideas!  I love the implementation of them!  I love inventions that make us more productive and get more done, more quickly!

But I am a realist.  I am not an alarmist, but certainly empirical!

OK, maybe Icynene foam all over the underside of roof structures and a totally vent less attic space is in fact the way to go.  I hope so, because if it isn't that will be one huge mess.

And on it goes with new ideas.  Vent less crawl spaces, polybutelene plumbing, glued floor joist structures, oriented strand board for roofs and some siding applications, polyvinyl front porch guardrails and fences, CFL light bulbs, vent less gas fireplaces, roof shingles with copper in them to forestall algae, well, I could go on.

For now we will have to see how they play out.

BUT UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES ARE SO OFTEN THE RESULT, I WILL HAVE TO BE CONVINCED AFTER THE EVIDENCE IS IN.


FOR NOW, FOR ME, SOME THINGS WILL JUST BE A HISTORY MYSTERY.  WE WILL KNOW THE ULTIMATE RESULTS WITH TIME!  STAY TUNED!

 

 

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 33 commentsJay Markanich • October 09 2011 06:26AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. Speaking of ventless crawl spaces. I have been in some built before it was required and they are as "clean" as the day they were built. I have been in vented ones that are full of the "M" word. Go figure...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) almost 9 years ago

Me too, Michael, but along comes Preston's post about how termites are hidden and more difficult to detect and treat in the vent less crawl space, and how you have to destroy the wrappings to get to the termites!  That's what I mean by unintended consequences!

I have been in two really clean, vent less crawl spaces, but I am not looking for termites!

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

The one change that I'm seeing more and more, is building products that aren't from the US. One lumberyard told me, we will continue to see more and more. So, my hunt continues for only US products.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) almost 9 years ago

Money it's nice to have but at what cost to the home owners.  I wonder how long this will continue until someone puts a stop to it

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 9 years ago

OSB is the one that gets me. I still cringe when I see roof sheathing that is OSB... of course that is almost used exclusively now. Give me plywood anyday!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 9 years ago

Short cuts....less quality in construction is something people who are buying a "package" need to analyze...all the wrapping and ribbons can't make up for the unwelcome surprise that can come back to bite the homeowner in the end.

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

Jay, those ventless crawl spaces done with the "wrap method" are just plain asking for trouble---there is no need to do them that way and the problems are obvious---especially in termite country.  Isn't that just about everywhere?  Also there is an exterior grade of MDF that is called XDF---it is slightly better than the indoor stuff when used outdoors :)

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

Joe - that is certainly true.  And we have been burned in that regard!  Not to mention all the foreign stuff that pirates our products!

James - we learn from experience.  Some experiences are good and some not so good.  But mostly the lesson is learned after the fact!  How do you put a stop to something when you don't know what the outcome will be?  It's a tough one, for sure.

Yeah, but Fred, where don't you see OSB on roofs now?  And 17/32s"!

S&D - sometimes quicker is better.  Sometimes not.  We don't know what's in the package until we open it.  That's what I mean by saying I am empirical.

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

Duckster - yeah, but those crawl spaces are the latest, greatest in forward thinking!  Give peace a chance...

I have heard of the exterior-grade fiberboards, and even this manufacturer - 

http://www.packardforestproducts.com/exterior_mdf.html

but I have not seen it used around here.  Some builders are going to PVC for window and door moldings, but again, no history!

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

Some product improvements are very likely to work better. Like galvanized window lintels in masonry walls. Not always cheaper but a huge difference in value for the money.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 9 years ago

I agree Robert, but for the most part things are moving toward cheaper, faster.  Time is money and tempus fugit.

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

Jay: Fascinating!! I love all this stuff but I have only learneed what I know through renovating about 6 houses and being told certain things should or should not be used or done! I would love to have a practical course available to be taken to learn more so that I can also be helpful when showing a buyer a new house,, for instance. Now, I have just enough knowledge to make me dangerous:) all kidding aside, I really mean it---the CE classes that offer construction classes are so pathetic that I get in the middle of one and I just want to throw up!!!  The most they cover is LOG HOUSES and the dos and don'ts of log houses!!! I have an idea---why don't you guys, a group of you from here on AR do a really really good webinar on the basics of contruction---what to do and what not to do and the variations on that...I would  take that course!!! Great post by the way!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Thanks Paula.  Actually this morning in the shower I had an idea for a new group.  I don't know how to do it and have contacted AR.  Maybe I will have a future post when I start it!

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

Jay, 

It's almost exhausting to keep up with what we need to watch out for?  The items that cause distress are the less obvious building items we can't easily see.  

Critical to have every sale inspected to have a better trained eye take a heck of a good look and give the buyers the information they can share about house building practices used to build the house.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago

I agree Michelle.  I am scheduled to get the CPSC recall notices for home products, tools and children's toys.  It is amazing how many emails I get from them!  You CANNOT keep up with the recalls!  I don't know how they do it, but it is frightful to know how much out there should not be out there!

Because of this I have disclaimed recalls on my inspection agreement!  I simply cannot be responsible to know everything!

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

Good afternoon Jay. Vent-less anything sounds scary. Doesn't matter if it's a heater, crawlspace or attic it just doesn't sound right.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) almost 9 years ago

It doesn't to me either Randy, but it's the NEW WAVE!

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

I hope the hot roof thing is a winner; it sure isn't a matter of saving money :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 9 years ago

MDF used outdoors? Use a sponge, it'll absorb less water!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) almost 9 years ago

Jay, you make me glad I live in an 'older house' built in 1997 which may have OSB on the roof (will have to look) but not a lot of these other new ways of building that you mention. And what is medium density fiberboard?? Not sure what you are talking about.

Sharon

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) almost 9 years ago

Jay, I have observed the same trends in fact what used to be customary & usual practive for manufactured homes is becoming more & more accepted practices in track homes & other budget conscious buyer/builders.

I agee with Frank & Sharon #21, older homes were built with better materials.

Posted by George Bennett, Inactive Principal Broker, GRI (Inactive) almost 9 years ago

Builders have been among the most conservative adopters of new technology. I think the reason is that mistakes are very expensive and sticking with tried and true methods and materials was always a safe bet. Delaminating siding, failed flooring, and leaking balconies have underscored how litigious buyers can be when their house starts to fall apart around them. I'm with you on being wary of unintended consequences. I like technological change, but new materials and techniques have to be tested in depth AND by the test of time before I'm going to adopt them.

Posted by Dave Roberts (Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty) almost 9 years ago

Reuben - well, we know how far hope gets (not in the Biblical sense)...    ;>)

Steve - it's the new wave, don'tcha know!  Out here anyway.  Me - yo no geto el uso de MDFo.  That's perfect Spanish...  well, maybe not.

Frank and Sharon - you probably have OSB up there, glued floor I-beams, microlaminated beams and melamine in your kitchen cabinets!  The beams are good, well, until they get wet or really hot.

George - some good and some not so good!  There are still some good product ideas, but we don't know until history proves the mettle of the stuff!

I don't know Dave.  They dove right into the first FRT plywoods, polybutelyne plumbing, synthetic stucco, and now faux stone (the newest, greatest problem since EIFS).  They do have unintended consequences to be sure!

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

So true, Jay.  In the electrical field, arc fault breakers are the new money maker for the electrical material creators.  With less people injured due to arc flash fires than those eaten by sharks, the industry decided it was a must have product.  As a matter of fact, it will soon be required on every circuit other than kitchen and dining circuits.  Add $600-$1000 to a service, and you suddenly know why it's so important today.  Money!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 9 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Great blog, and I do agree - history will be interesting on so many of the current building trends.  I remember just a few short years ago roof materials that were touted with a 50 year life span were being removed locally after just a few years for product failure...expensive test for homeowners.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 9 years ago

Jay, money is the motivator for introducing new products and increasing the bottom line.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 9 years ago

I agree Mike.  I remember that they didn't have the product ready when they wanted to first impliment that code!  Now they want to go through the entire house.  That will be a pain, not to mention the extra expense.  Again, money!

True Lisa - remember the first FRT?  Synthetic stucco?  I could go on.

Michael - as usual.  When the gubment starts controlling the building industry, as they seem to want to control everything, they will make further, and very costly demands, to "save the planet."

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

Jay remember the 1990's and the greatest low cost siding that was ever made called INNERSEAL from LP. I sold lumber at the time and had in my possession a picture of a house fully sided with Innerseal with mushrooms growing out of it on every course. Then came the lawsuits and all the contractors i was warning about this were crying the blues. Put several out of business since they had done an entire subdivision in the crap. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) almost 9 years ago

Ah Scott!  Lousiana Pacific, the lastest greatest new wave!  Another in a long line of many new waves!  You know the great secret of the knot, don't you?

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

Its all about the house wrap Jay. Why spend the extra on plywood when housewrap will protect the cheeper stuff.

Now for the roofs, I will take OSB anyday. I have yet to find any that has delamed, where plywood has so bad you can put your foot thru it. 

Posted by Sean Fogarty, Serving Brevard County, FL and Indian River County (Fogarty Home Inspection Services) almost 9 years ago

Sean - OSB is pretty bad when wet, but the wet doesn't spread so fast.  House wrap is a good idea, but ONLY when it's over something strong!

Thanks for the call the other day!  It was good to hear from you.  Did you see my new group?

http://activerain.com/groups/bestpractices

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

My feeling on much of his stuff is as you say, let's wait and see. History has taught us many of the latest greatest has proved a big fat flop.

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

We could go back through quite a history, couldn't we Jim?  But some stuff really works out well.  Somewhat on the rare side of the spectrum, however.

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

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