What I'm Seeing Now

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My Bad

I would say that 99% of the time when a cable or satellite guy goes into an attic space, the insulation is moved, depressed, brushed out of the way to run cable lines, or whatever.

It is so common that on a recent inspection I made the insulation was as expected and it was so mentioned on the report.

What I did NOT do was take a photo or two.  MY BAD.

What had happened was that after moving in the sellers had ceiling fans installed in each of three bedrooms.

To do that the installer created what I called "hiking trails" through the insulation to each spot, and pulled away a crater of insulation to get the support, box and wiring in there.

That's all fine and necessary.

But he NEVER replaced the insulation he disrupted!

DO YOU THINK HE WOULD LEAVE THE INSULATION LIKE THAT IN HIS OWN HOUSE?  I BET NOT!

In the photo to the right, one of the three locations, a hole is visible, and even bare drywall!  Bare drywall has an R-value of about 1/2!

Somewhat hard to read perhaps, looking at the cardboard rulers all over the attic space the average depth of the insulation is about 10".

A builder's rep met us at the house to assure us that he would be fixing what we found. 

But he assured us that they were careful to put in 7.25" of blown-in cellulose, carefully obtaining the desired R-30 this builder's specs desire.  He even asked me if I was familiar with cellulose insulation. 

Well, yes, since before he was born...

But, this is clearly blown-in fiberglass.  It has an R-value of 2.2 per inch.  That is an R-value of about 22!  To get an R-value of 30 there would need to be 13.5" or so.

So they may have some work to do!

I recommended to my client, and her Realtor, whom you may know, that they ask for photos of the re-insulation job once completed.  The builder will likely comply with that request.

My recommendation:  even when things are obvious, and old hat, a photo or two might be best!  It would spare an additional trip to the house should something become an issue!  And then YOUR home inspector won't have to say, "MY BAD!"


 

 

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 19 commentsJay Markanich • July 25 2012 03:28AM

Comments

And a 2nd trip means you need a fresh shirt after hitting those temps in the attic that would boil a lobster without a pot.

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

Speaking of detail in pictures, noticed OSB and plywood both used on the roof.  Not that I've poked around in that many attics, but any idea why both?

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

Good morning Jay,

I can see I would want you on my side conducting an inspection for my buyers!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 7 years ago

That was my second attic of the day Bliz, and I was thoroughly cooked (and humidified) like a lobster thermidor before arriving!

As to the wood, yes, I might have an idea.  OSB (oriented strand board) is the typical roof sheathing today.  This stuff is 17/32", the absolute minimum thickness allowed.  But, since this is a townhouse, at least 4' on each side is Fire Retardant Treated (FRT) plywood.  That brand is Dricon Copper, one of the better brands.  Good eyes!

Dorie - it would be nice if I wasn't so jaded by common problems!    ;>)   It's funny, I usually take photos of problems, and in this case just didn't. 

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

Morning Jay another lesson in something I really never thought about.  I knew we needed it but  sad to say I do not know how much is in our attic but I bet ya I'll know by the end of the day

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

Let me know what you have and how deep James, and I will be happy to help you out.

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

Jay.  Not so BAD.  Your thorough report simply meant that I had a job to do, get the seller to make that REPAIR.  As for the buyer, she'll have lower utility bills thanks to adequate insulation.

 

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

Ha!  Well, Lenn, the follow-up report may have been more informational because I was writing it for the builder's understanding too!  Some think that 12" of that insulation is enough.  Not so.  Some do the bag-per-square-foot installation thing.  Not adequate.  I was happy to do it!  I'm glad our client is covered.

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

Good morning Jay. I look forward to your posts every morning and always leave wishing you lived in Michigan so I could refer you to my buyers.

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

Hi Jay,

I too run into this when inspecting an attic. The biggest culprits are the heating and A/C guys when they run new trunk lines and new drop boot for the trunks, they never re-install the existing insulation. Leaving a big gaping hole around the boot areas.

I hate to see it. It's more work for me when it should have been done right the first time.

And don't even get me started with uninsulated boots, T's, "Y's" or trunk plenums.

Have a good day in Northern Virginia.

Best, clint McKie

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

Jay -- with as many pictures as you normally take, that you might forget one or two once in a while is certainly forgiveable, especially since you had the notes about the problem for the writie-up.

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

Jay, thanks for the reminder... I have heard from home owners many times that they have lots of insulation, but still have cold rooms in their home.  Perhaps the insulation has been disturbed.

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

Thanks Randy, very much, for that very kind comment.  Is it cold there?

Once I had a four hour layover at the Detroit airport.  Very cool airport with that train that goes back and forth.  I had nothing else to do, so I rode the train for a while!  Very fun!

Clint - right, they are culprits in this crime too!  Any crater in the insulation is a problem.

Steven - well, this is so old hat that to me they didn't seem too important.  I didn't consider the outcome, however, when the repair was requested!

Chris - they may be it, or not deep enough overall.  Up there you probably want R-48 minimum.

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

Good evening, Jay. It is amazing the foot prints in the sand, er insulation, I see when inspecting new construction...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Big Foot gets in there Michael, and doesn't clean up after himself!

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

Hi Jay.  They just don't care about the insulation only getting the job done.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) about 7 years ago

Correct!  And the seller included Conrad.  She was very proactive in trying to resolve this.

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

How many times have seen a mini mountain of loose insulation left after the installers have gone? It takes what five minutes to put back. 

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

Jim - you'd think that since they do this all the time they would have a rake or something to take up there with them to put it all back.  That would be fairly quick!

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

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