What I'm Seeing Now

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Seven Things I Don't Understand

First thing I don't understand:  if these folks want to put a deck on the back of the house, the ledger beam (the main support for the deck, a 2x12 that bolts to the house onto which the deck joists are attached) is interfered with by four appurtenances. 

Home inspectors call objects that pass through walls that service other things, like the furnace vent, hose bib and two vent covers above APPURTENANCES

There is only one place to put that ledger beam.  It must be attached in a way that meets codes, meaning many through bolts into the house, in a W pattern.  The deck structure is attached to it and has to accommodate all that stuff!

Another deck support beam could be built there instead of attaching the deck to the house, but that would set the deck out from the house a few inches and in my opinion that looks goofy.

Second thing I don't understand:  the ONLY basement window is under the door.  So, if, instead of a deck, these folks wanted to put in a patio and not deal with all those appurtenances, how can stairs be placed to not interfere with that window? 

If a deck is there, this window provides very little lightification to the room (that's my word) and concrete stairs would cover it completely.

Third thing I don't understand:  the exhaust for the furnace vents right onto or under the deck.  Look at its height!  The top of the plastic bell is higher than the top of where the decking would be.  The deck will have to accommodate that, and that'll be perty fer sher, and the plastic is vulnerable to being stepped on.  And the bell is too high to extend the exhaust to the far edge of the deck because it's too high.

Fourth thing I don't understand:  it'll be really easy and fun to get to that hose bib!  And wrapping the hose will be just as fun, and very good looking.

Fifth thing I don't understand:  those two vents.  One is a bathroom, which is marginally okay, but it still needs to deal with the deck.  The other is for the dryer.  This is no fun all around.  It's covered with a grate and will be oh so fun to keep clean!

Sixth thing I don't understand:  I think, well hope anyway, that the black drain tile (that black plastic tube) is intended to drain a window well.  But the way the house is situated on the lot means that the grading will cover a large portion of the bottom of that window.  So basement lightification will be restricted by the window well material even if no deck is ever placed there!

Seventh thing I don't understand:  why anyone would design this?  Did an architect design it?  The supervisor decide that this is how all those appurtenances would be handled?  Is this how all the homes are built by this builder? Is this the first house with such a "design?"  If so, am I the first to point this out?  No one else sees these problems in advance as I have?  Ummmm...

I have a solution.  A zip line attached to the rear door could wing the homeowners into the back yard to a platform built 30' from the door.  What better way to get into the yard!  Hey, that's certainly as well thought out as everything above!  Personally I'd love it!

My recommendation:  you have to think in advance.  This sort of thing would have been caught had I seen the plans for the house before this was built.  This design would be a problem no matter the elevation, if the future deck was high or low.  These buyers are being left a problem!  This is NOT a Golden Rule circumstance.  And get a pre-drywall inspection!

THINK AHEAD!

 

 

 

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 47 commentsJay Markanich • December 08 2011 05:15AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. Sae-La-Vie... As we all know, in the construction business that brown stuff happens all the time. So much for competent tradesmen and supers doing their job... 

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 7 years ago

A host of valid concerns or should I say observations.  That's why there are Fords, BMW's and everything in between

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 7 years ago

And they are apparently doing it Michael, despite the stupidity of what they are doing.

James - they are both!  And will certainly be a lot of fun once that deck is built!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay,

They must have run into this problem before with this particular design. I don't know how much latitude the local builder has to deviate from the original plans. That really is a mess though.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Rich - if this is the original design, someone ain't thinking!  And I assure you the supervisor would not want his house built this way.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

It looks like there was a "to do" list of things that had to be "ta done" and as long as there was a back to the house...throw it all out there...wherever (pre-deck) it seems to fit...yicks !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 7 years ago

Jay, I have a solution---forget the dang deck----just put a little tiny one at the door :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay - Your recommendation to "think in advance" is asking a lot of builders and subcontractors. Most have difficulty thinking about what they're doing at present.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 7 years ago

S&D - your thinking is as good as mine.  I have no idea what they were thinking!

Charlie - how about a board sticking out and the homeowners can play "Walk The Plank."

They have plans John.  You'd think that with everyone going over everything someone would notice this slight glitch!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, if they stick some wood under the ladder the ladder rung will line up so that the plank doesn't slope too much :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay -- why would you think they are going to put a deck or stairs from that door?  It is obviously just to open for the fresh air, and beautiful view, since there is a fence on the door frame.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 7 years ago

Yet another idea Charlie!  You see, it's best to open these things up to other minds!

Steven - and it had a guardrail!  Perfect!  They can put lawn furniture in the kitchen.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay,

 I got a solution. A Plexiglas deck so you can see the window below the deck.  Also I sure hope that is no egress/ingress window.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Works for me Don!  But then you have that pesky furnace flue to deal with...

Still thinking.  A plexi box around the vent?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I love 'lightification', but I don't understand the zip line.  Sure, it'll get people out just fine... but how do you get bacK?  For shame, Jay ;)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Zip lines are for going, not coming back Reubs!  That's what the wet basement door way (previous post) is for!

Maybe the walk the plank thing Charlie and I came up with?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Well I just don't understand this post!  Kidding.  Congrats on the feature.  I don't understand how I missed this.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Debbie - I don't understand either.  And until your comment did not know it was featured!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Definitely one of those, "How many things are wrong with this picture moments."  Wow!  Not a lot of forethought on this one.  Jeeze!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 7 years ago

No one was thinking here, not at all.  I want to know who that builder is, Jay!  Give me a hint.  Pretty please.

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) over 7 years ago

Apparently I am the pioneer Mike.  And you know who takes the arrows!

Coral - I don't remember!  I had to look it up to remember even where it is - Gainesville.  It wasn't yours.  Remember, yours was very boring.  I am still yawning.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay from the things you pointed out not much consideration was given to future remodel or addition,  The things we see day :)

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 7 years ago

That's right Jennifer!  I like to think in advance.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

And they are selling?

Posted by David O'Doherty, Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC (Raleigh Realty Inc) over 7 years ago

IMO, the lightification, your word, will be completely defractilated, my word, with the combinationaclism, my word, of the dirt and dopification, another my word, of the suprervisor or nincompoop, someone else's word, ahndling of this giant mess. Thanks for letting me put my owrd in. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 7 years ago

This house sold David!  The latest in a neighborhood of sales.  They don't build until the lot and elevation have sold.

Love your word(s) Scott!  Keep'em coming...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

In PA, many builders don't allow home inspections.  That certainly doesn't make sense!

Posted by David Artigliere, ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect (Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia) over 7 years ago

Really, wow designed this.  Or do they just go down stairs and sent the vents out forgetting what is upstairs?

Posted by Chuck Carstensen, Minnesota Real Estate Expert (RE/MAX Results) over 7 years ago

Number 7 is the main point to me, VERY poor planning by their architect or the home owner should have made the deck decision much earlier in the design.  Looks more like a patio would fit this better, even then, you now have stairs over that bedroom window......poor poor designs.

Posted by David Niles (Niles Real Estate Investments www.NilesREI.com) over 7 years ago

What a great post, and good observations!

What a dumb way for this home to have been designed, wonder what it's like on the inside???

Posted by Jeff Coon, Branch Manager (Annie Mac Home Mortgage) over 7 years ago

Jay - I think someone wasn't thinking right when they design it or just a pure sloppy work.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 7 years ago

I love your word " lightification" and the sad thing is, I actually know builders like this in our area.  I used to be a F-18 mechanic and we always said, they built the outside of the plane first and then tried to cram everything inside of it after.  It's kind of the same way with home builders now, I don't think they are thinking things through anymore.  Great post, thanks for sharing.

Posted by Jim Linaburg (Hayes Realty) over 7 years ago

It does look pretty crazy! I might need to re-blog this one. Looks like someone just wasn't thinking ahead about how things will work finished.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 7 years ago

Oh my word, Jay. That certainly is quite a nightmare for the buyers.

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) over 7 years ago

Our kids think the zip line is a great idea!
Mel

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Jay, planning is key to success. I'm surprised an architect would design a house like this.

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Chartwell Kansas City Realty) over 7 years ago

Jay,

I guess, the builder feels it's not their problem once the home is sold. Most buyers would not have a clue that these problems exist. I wonder what the builder what have done if the buyers added the deck during the negotiation process. Great feature!

Posted by Ron T. Weems Jr., Managing the details one home at a time. (Weems Property Group | KW North Sound) over 7 years ago

What the hell? I guess if the basement window wasn't there the deck could be lowered and a step could be put at the door. I guess they could put the ledger on either side of the vents and hose bib and then frame the area around it to carry the load, similar to what you would have to do around a bay. Orrrrr someone could have used a little brain power and avoided the whole mess.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) over 7 years ago

Well it looks like this builder certainly didn't plan ahead...or care very much about what a potential buyer would want in a deck or patio!  Good post as always!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) over 7 years ago

David - no it doesn't!  What are they afraid of?

Chuck - don't know, but until I brought it up nothing was a problem!

David N. - agreed on all points.   But to accommodate the window, the patio needs a horizontal porch, supported out a few feet, and then steps.  Goofy looking.

There was a lot of good stuff Jeff.  But a couple of posts on it have been done already!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Mike - I am baffled all around.  Who knows if the architect's plans were translated correctly.

Jim - they were thinking small signature!  Then they had to miniaturize everything!

Lizette - it is a wondrous design to be sure!  But so far I am the only one to point it out.

William - but the builder will leave them deckless and they will have to figure it out in the future!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Mel - so do I!  You have some great kids.

Maria - and it might be it wasn't designed this way!  Don't know for sure!

Thanks Ron.  The buyers would have proceeded unawares and then, later, would go to build a deck and the deck guy would say...  well, you can imagine.

Robert - they SHOULD have thought it through first!  Around here they require a platform outside the door at least 36", no step first.

Thank you Sherri.  They are leaving these folks with a mess! Or thought they would.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I actually think it is funny except that it is so sad.

Posted by Faye Y. Taylor, Homes for Sale Floresville, La Vernia & San Antoni (StepStone Realty, LLC ) over 7 years ago

Faye - there's a lot going on in that photo!  Well, there will be once they try to finish off the yard!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I think I see the lightification. You know all that stuff is ugly to look at, so the forward thinking builder, designer, whatever stuck it all out the back of the house. So it interferes with putting in the deck, but the house looks better. And we know looks count for more than function. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago
There are many unknowns that the photo cannot answer but you've certainly identified some real design flaws. Please get back to us once it's complete so we can see what they were thinkg and how they finally handled the issuesnyou bring up.
Posted by Frank Castaldini, Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco (Compass) over 7 years ago

Jim - isn't the basement "man cave" supposed to be dark anyway?  That's darkification I think.  How often do we see aesthetics trump function!?

Frank - I expect to do a final and I am anxious to see how this is worked up.  I'm betting they leave it alone!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

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