What I'm Seeing Now

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Famous Last Words - "But I Caulked It!"

Within a couple of months of moving into a house, a couple started having water leaking from the light fixture on the edge of the sitting room off the kitchen. 

The builder came out and there was no issue in the roof near or over the area or light fixture.  They were puzzled.

Mighty Mo was called to the scene and saw residual moisture.

But the builder was right, there was no evidence above that the roof, or gutter, had an issue.

What nobody knew was that the water was also making its way into the floor below.

This was going to be fun!

HERE IS THE DIFFICULTY WITH WATER LEAKS.  THE SOURCE OF THE LEAK CAN BE FAR AWAY FROM WHERE IT FINALLY MANIFESTS.

So, if a leak isn't where you are looking, it must originate where you aren't looking!

That demands a tour!

Looking around inside I noticed a cathedral ceiling on the upper level.

With no evidence of moisture or staining.

But, it's a new house.  There might not be staining yet.  And the underside of the roof sheathing cannot be seen at that point, obviously.

Mighty Mo then detected residual moisture inside the ceiling, corner and going down the wall in that cathedral ceiling, far, far away!

That had to be the spot.

I think water flows downhill and given the configuration of the house it woulda, coulda AND shoulda have made its way from here two floors below and into that eating area.

What was outside right around that area?

A SATELLITE DISH!

Calling the dish company, they sent someone out to investigate and they did determine that the installation was not well done and could have caused a leak.

When they called the original installer, his response when they told him the dish was leaking into the house was, was, wait for it ...

"BUT I CAULKED IT!"

My recommendation:  those might just be the most famous last words in history!!  But I caulked it!




 

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 73 commentsJay Markanich • March 22 2012 03:51AM

Comments

GOod morning Jay. I really have to get one of those thermal cameras. Amazing what you see with on. Have a great day!

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Mighty Mo to the rescue again!  Caulk, the universal "fix-all"...might be more apropos for it to be spelled calk - so it could be another 4-letter word (LOL)

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 7 years ago

Jay, A convoluted path for the water, but water follows the path of least resistance.  I'm always a bit paranoid about any roof penetration for exactly this type of reason.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 7 years ago

Pretty common problem, but very few home inspectors will point anything like this out. My compliments on your level of work.

Thank you for sharing your post with all of us.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 7 years ago

It's a fun tool Randy, but these were some very fun words too!

Not bad Lisa!  Other famous last words might be, "But I duct taped it!"

Bliz - water is often a very difficult diagnosis!  But always follows the path most easily offered.  Look at the Colorado River!

Thanks Joe.  But this one was more fun than work!

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

Just out of curiosity how much did it cost to repair.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 7 years ago

I don't know Raymond!  Did not hear back after my diagnosis and the call about the dish guy!

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

Water intrusion and/or damage is the most confounding defect I can think of.  Often impossible to see the origin, the home owners is confounded, especially when interested parties pass the buck. 

Now, that home owner has the challenge of trying to collect damages from the responsible party.  Good luck with that. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

Caulk "Uncle Bob's best friend". I hear it and see it all the time.

I like the line, but I caulked it just last year. LOL

Have a fine day in Virginia.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

Is that a classic response or what Lenn!?  I suspect the satellite company will come forward, but their answer likely will be, "Once we correct the problem the moisture will go away..."

Clint - I had to laugh when I heard that one.  Those are truly famous last words.

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

Great find Jay...all these dishes sitting on homes is a nuisance...

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 7 years ago

My experience is that any additional penetration of the roof beyond the obvious, properly sealed, items is a potential problem and that the people who install these dish systems etc. sometimes take short cuts that create leaks.

Posted by Lucy E. Thompson (Keller Williams Realty Premier Properties) over 7 years ago

Especially when there is more than one Ginny.  And they all can leak!

Lucy - for sure!  They all are potential problems, and the longer they are they the greater the potential.

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

Water is sooo not the homeowner's pal.....and the mystery ride it can take you on...as noted....best solved from the source of the problem.

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

And this mystery ride was a fun one for me S&D!

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

Jay, isn't this the truth. We had a leak in our basement ceiling. A plumber came in and tore the whole ceiling down. No leak. It was later found on the other side of the house originating from the main level powder room. The plumber could have used Might Mo on this one.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

Pretty amazing how difficult it can be to find the source of the problem! One more reason for an expert!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 7 years ago

Mighty Mo is a lot of fun Michael.  And pretty perceptive.  Leaks often are not originating where they manifest.

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

Barbara-Jo - this one required the infamous house tour!  Which they happily provided.

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

Who would of even thought at the time of installation to check and ensure it was sealed correctly.  These are things we certainly take for granted. Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted by Cheryl Thomson REALTOR Army Ret, Associate Broker in Northern Virginia ( United Real Estate (703.216.5635) cheryltee47@gmail.com) over 7 years ago

Reminds me of a naighbor who used scotch tape for their fix all.....

Posted by Kevin Vitali, Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers (EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales) over 7 years ago

Jay...I think the problem was that the installer only used one of the two most important products for filling gaps.  He used the caulk but forgot the duct tape.

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) over 7 years ago

Cheryl - I think the guy really did caulk it, just not properly!

Kevin - not bad!  Tape is such a universal fix all!

H&S - see my comment #5!  Those are the other famous last words!

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

Hilarious. It's amazing what people think a layer of "__________" (insert whatever...caulk/paint/etc) will do to cover up a major problem.

Posted by Margie Kopp Sorrell, Lake Oconee Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country) over 7 years ago

Your thermal imaging device is one of the best ways to detect leaks before you can see them.  I think it should be standard for inspections but few in my area use them.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 7 years ago

That's often the way Margie.  This was the initial caulking that probably wasn't done well, contrary to the installer's opinion!

Kathryn - I have been saying for years that every inspection would soon include IR and I have been wrong for years!

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

It is actually amazing how much caulk is used in a house! It's all about using the right caulking for the job. Unfortunately, it's not a fix all. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. Great post!

Posted by Donna Bosze, Ask Me Why I'm Different! (Realty Executives Top Producers) over 7 years ago

And, Donna, everyone might be doing it!  But don't forget duct tape.

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

Why anyone would let a satellite company install anywhere put on the eave is beyond me (or a post in the yard). The guy that installed mine years ago cracked the sheet rock in the kitchen dining area. The ceiling dropped down there and he would just jump down the 2 feet.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 7 years ago

Once again, a problem solved by a master inspector. Not sure how anyone could have connected those dots, but you did.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 7 years ago

Because from up there it has a straight, uninhibited view of the satellite Than?

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

Great detective work. With so many different contractors in building a house, 'who done it' can be a finger pointing exercise.

Posted by The Derrick Team - Indy Metro Realtors, Your Pet Friendly Realtors (Carpenter Realtors) over 7 years ago

Tammie - it is a matter of logic and looking around with thermal imaging!  And a lot of fun!

Thanks Derrick.  This was a caulk-gun pointing exercise!

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

Where a water leak is going or where it came from is up there with who built the pyramids...

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 7 years ago

Mighty Mo is clearly indispensable for such quandaries.

Good post and pictures.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 7 years ago

Hi, Jay!

   Amazing technology.  A well written Blog with great photos and a great explanation.

Posted by Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Tough to imagine how long it would've taken to identify without a Mighty Mo Jay.  Takes the fun out of sleuthing your way around the attic or elsewhere doesn't it?

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) over 7 years ago

I hope the installer came back and added more caulking to fix the problem. Maybe he used the wrong color? It's never a good thing when unskilled people poke holes in the house.

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

Jay, you really are a master inspector. Wish there were more like you! Homeowners need to be aware of problems that can happen when having things installed on the house, especially the roof. Thanks for your post today.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 7 years ago

Great post Jay. You are right about water manifesting itself away from the source, your camera can be an excellent tool to detect the problem.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 7 years ago

Richie - we know who built the pyramids!  But as to water, well, those questions are yet to be answered!

It is Anthony.  It is a terrific tool and the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

Thanks Fred.  I've had the camera about 9 years and love using it!

Kevin - there was no evidence yet inside.  Finding it with a conventional moisture meter alone would have been super hit or miss.

 

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

Rob - I assume the satellite company came back out, but hopefully sent a different guy!

Thank you for your kind words Pamela.  Just trying to do a good job!

Tom - it is the best tool for that.  Water is always a difficult diagnosis, even with the camera oftentimes.

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

Hi Mighty Mo !  Great story.  You inspector types get all the latest tech toys !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 7 years ago

Jay -- since the satellite dish was not designed into the house (are architechs even considering that yet?) it not too amazing that it would be a cause for problems.  Great use of "Mighty Mo" to get to the source!

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

Jay - Nothing scares me more than water... so many issues can come from it, around or inside the home.  Nifty camera you got there!

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Water.  Such a wonderous thing.  It can crash, flow, destroy, give life, & is shapeless.  Caulk ain't no match for that ;)

By the way, FEATURED in WE BLOG ANYTHING!

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 7 years ago

It is a great tool Bill.  It's getting old though, about nine years old by now.  But still does a great job!

Steven - how would they do that?  They wouldn't know what direction the house faces, nor which satellite is to be picked up!

Thanks AJ.  It can be a lot of fun - part art, and part science.

Jason - I kind of like dihydrogen monoxide.  We all need it.  But controlled!  Thanks for the feature!

Do I blog anything?

Thanks Erica.  It is fun to figure things out sometimes.

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

Jay, The other one that I cringe when I hear is "I stuffed a sock in it". 

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 7 years ago

Jay:  I have seen more damage from leaking tubs than I care to remember.  It's so simple to correct a leak before it shows up in the dining room or living room down stairs.  Before you know it the ceiling below is coming down.

Posted by Bonnie Vaughan, CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin over 7 years ago

Judi - but that works every time!

Bonnie - caulking is caulking, whether a tub or satellite dish.  And it doesn't last forever!

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

I love it -- I stuffed a sock into it! :)  (#50)  Your posts always get such good comments.  I have seen people use nailpolish to fill a gap! 

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) over 7 years ago

Jay, you are the sleuth!  And nice inspection for my clients today! 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Jay, that home owner  or his insurance company will have a hard time getting reimbursed. Most installers are independent contractors do going after the company will be pointless unless it was one of those rare instances when the installer was from the provider.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 7 years ago

And that's why I never allowed my tenants to mount their satellite dishes on the roof. Don't punch holes in a perfectly good roof!

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 7 years ago

reason number 492 that I'll just stick with cable.   You gotta hate sorry workmanship on the part of the installer.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay--my compliments to the master.  I don't see many professionals finding the source of the leak like you did in this instance. 

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) over 7 years ago

Joy - you would love this post of mine!

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2284563/gumming-up-the-works

It was great seeing you today Pat!  That house was normal.  I really like unknown sparks and leaks to investigate, but clients aren't so cool on that!  I met the seller beforehand and he is of the opinion that the house is perfect, so have fun with that!

Ed - you mean if there is a disaster?  I am sure that dish will last a couple of days, but all things weaken!  Leaks like this only get worse.  Right now I don't know if he would want to go for insurance repairs - that just dings people these days.

Tim - I often see them on posts or deck columns now.

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

Tammy - I see a few dishes in my neighborhood, but not many.

Thanks Janet.  I find this kind of thing fun!

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

Morning Jay not wonder it didn't work they should have used duct tape.  That stuff really works.  Tired it on a tire puncture and away I went. :~)

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

What a neat tool for detecting water. Tell us more about it.

More famous last words: '' It comes with a 100% waterproof guarantee." (as you are standing on squishy wet carpet)

Nicely done!

Margaret

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 7 years ago

And with all the designer colors James, they might have found one to match the roof!

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

Margaret - I have posted many blogs about it!  Look up "thermal imaging inspections."

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

Jay,

Same phenomena with dead flat tar and gravel roofs--can't tell where the hole is.  So Mightly Mo is a thermograpic camera?  Very handy!!

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) over 7 years ago

Thanks Lloyd.  Yes, that camera is the sharpest arrow in my quiver!

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

Hi Jay - I never authorize the installation of satellite dishes on the roof.  I am not interested in roof leaks.

Posted by FN LN over 7 years ago

That would be a good policy Marc.  I think these installations can be rife with disaster, and certainly over time.

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

Jay- I love infrared cameras. I can't understand why other professionals don't use them.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay, these type of situations cause the most grief by far.  Most people put a band-aid on and move on, not bothering to ensure they have found and addressed the root cause

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 7 years ago

There are many trades that could benefit from them, and some inspectors are becoming equine experts with them Eric.

Chris - the manual says to caulk so they do.  And regardless of the job done, they think they have satisfied the requirements!

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

I really dislike those dishes. So many are installed poorly. Many times I have been in an attic and see the long screws the installers use sticking through the sheathing. Not one has been sunk into a rafter. How long before that creates a big hole when the wind rips that dish from the roof. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Driving through neighborhoods I have seen those holes too Jim.  They should at least try to get two of the lags into a rafter.

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

Sounds like duct tape too! Good post. I found this one going through all my groups to see if I should eliminate any or not.

Posted by Sussie Sutton, UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers. (UTR Texas Realtors) over 6 years ago

This is an oldie but a goodie Sussie.  What groups would you eliminate that brought you here?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

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