What I'm Seeing Now

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Mountains, Yes ... But Drains Should Not Be The High Point

From this yard I could look out and see the high Blue Ridge Mountains, yes ... but drains should not be the high point.

We have two sets of mountains here in Virginia - the Alleghenies (Blue Ridge) and the Shenandoahs.  I have seen, and climbed, the Rockies out west.  And for two years I lived more than two thousand feet high in the Andes Mountains of South America.  Mountains are beautiful, mountains are fun and mountains are a high point.

But if you're a drain, and you are the high point, well, things will get very lonely.

Looking down into this stairwell I wondered why there was puddling and so much debris beside this drain.

After all, there is only about a 2" lip there before collecting water can get into the finished basement.

So it's important that water can flow from here directly to the sump pump to be sent elsewhere.

From the basement it is easy to see why this pattern has developed beside the drain.

THE DRAIN IS PLACED AT THE HIGH POINT!

Not only is there a little slope up toward the drain, which you can tell from the water pattern, but there is a lip around the hole so water can't really reach it.

A photo from below does not do this phenomenon justice, but simply looking at the pattern here describes the problem.

Just six inches more toward the door and this drain would be in the perfect, and lowest, position.  Believe me - physics works!

My recommendation:  it's a good thing they cleaned this staircase just before our inspection as without the moisture and mud pattern this drain issue would have been very hard to see.  I was glad they made the problem obvious!  On new construction inspections everything, really, everything, must be investigated.  Just 10' from this stairwell is planted a leafy tree.  That will also be a problem in years to come, which the client now understands too.  Leaves clog drains!

 

 

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 23 commentsJay Markanich • October 27 2012 03:41AM

Comments

Looks like someone was up early posting. I love it when the builders do something so dumb. Reminds me of the Get Smart TV show. "Missed it by that much". I can hear Don Addams right now.

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 6 years ago

Early here, and then early at the first inspection a bit later Scott!  Put your fingers together as you say that!

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

Morning Jay congrats on the feature physics and gravity work hand and hand to get the work done.  Have a great day

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks James, and drains should take advantage of both!

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

This is odd...since the drain really has one purpose.  And, I certainly don't get why there would ever be a lip around it.  Nonsensical.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

A situation requiring a diligent inspection....hmmm

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

Odd to say the least Debbie.  Sometimes I don't understand the thinking.

Go figure S&D!  And new construction too, when everything is so perfect it doesn't need and inspection!

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

If the plumber would of just done it right the first time, then you would not have to write about it-but he did so Congrats on the feature

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 6 years ago

Darned physics! hehehe

It is important that the drain be free of leaves and debris Jay, many believe that just having a drain is enough.

Congrats on the feature.

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 6 years ago

It may not have been the plumber Harry, but more the concrete guy.  Who knows...

Tom - thanks.  When trees are nearby we always have a talk.  But the physics here caused even more talking!

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

I would guess that it was a combination of the plumber plumbing it too high and the guy that built the concrete forms too low... the concrete guy just troweled everything to fit... incredible. I see it a lot on condo's with concrete rear porches, pitched the wrong way towards the building.

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 6 years ago

You might be right Fred.  The plumber left it a bit long, perhaps even before they poured the stairs and then the concrete guy angled things incorrectly.  Either way, el draino no worko.

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

LOL, I didn't know you spoke Spanish...

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 6 years ago

Actually I am fluent in Spanish and Quechua, having lived in South America for two years Fred.  But my Spanglish is absolutely perfect too.

Correctly put, that phrase would be "el dranaje está tapado y no funciona."

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

I've never met a plumber that majored in physics (at least not yet).  Sometimes the common sense is just not there with some workmanship.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 6 years ago

No doubt, Gary.  But we all have an inherent understanding of physics and fluid dynamics, and are familiar with the cliche that crap flows downhill!

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

Jay -- you stole my line before I could get here.  What is it about water seeking its own level these guys don't get?

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

What your article is really telling people is that even new construction needs inspection. Supervision co-ordination was not effective here or there was none. So get an inspection.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago

Well, remember Steven, they have not had any physics classes.

Robert - of course!  I have been doing new construction inspections for about 15 years, with amazing results, and have posted many times about those amazing things.  The biggest problem with new construction is the word "professionalism."

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

Good afternoon James. Whaaat? Water won't run up hill? What if you ask it nice?  lol

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 6 years ago

It can't be, Randy, that the Roman aqueducts went from higher to lower ground, can it?

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

Leaves also clog gutters. I see alot of that now. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Yes, that tree nearby will eventually be a problem Jim.  I suggested that they move it.  For sure the builder won't.

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

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