What I'm Seeing Now

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Pre-Drywall Inspection Things You Really Like To See - 1 of 2

Pre-drywall inspection things you really like to see - 1 of 2.  These things all represent BEST PRACTICES.  They are wonderful to see!

For me, pre-drywall inspections are crucial.  They are the only time to see the house in a skeletal state.  There is no other time to see these things!

I think the most important thing to look for is weight transference.  Do load-bearing walls line up on top of load-bearing walls or other support, like a foundation wall or steel beam?  Do load points line up on top of proper support?  Are headers properly sized and properly supported on each side?  Pre-drywall is the ONLY time to see this.

It was a pleasure to do a pre-drywall inspection not long ago where the house could have been used to train home inspectors on what things should look like!  Here are a few examples of what was seen:

Drywall screws were used to attach drywall!

This was the first thing I saw in the garage.

You laugh, but drywall screws are often used by subcontractors for EVERYTHING EXCEPT drywall!

And their depth was properly set!  They didn't go INTO the drywall, but only slightly dimpled the paper.

And, the drywall used was Type X, which is a 5/8" thick fire-resistant product, required for garages. 

Insulation was stapled high and low, with the flaps OVER the studs!

This is what the flaps are for!

Again, usually what I see is insulation jammed in beside the studs, which is improper and reduces its
R-value.

And more often than not there are NO staples.  They say the drywall will hold the insulation in place over time.  As a thermographer I can tell you that this is incorrect - gravity works over time and draws insulation down.

The front porch was adorned with four columns.

They have special, and decorative, headers and footers, not seen here.

They are structural, waterproof so they won't rot, and look, they were caulked to keep moisture out and SECURED to the front porch concrete!

Each column has two anchors!

And notice that each column is measured and centered in its space.  This is not haphazard placement.  It is thought out in advance.

This house is equipped with the best attic ventilation - called soffit and ridge venting.

And it is properly done!

Good air flow is provided for by using proper materials.

Improper material placement would look like this.

The good soffit material is set so that insulation can be blown right to the edge of the roof.

The plastic is such that it will never rot and will always be a proper 2" from the roof sheathing, allowing enough air to enter through the soffit vents under the gutters.

In this photo you can also see a proper window header, with caulked gaps, stapled insulation, hurricane straps securing each roof truss, and the HVAC register has been taped so there is no air leakage.

Notice on the left that a ruler is stapled in place so the insulation installer can see the depth he is dealing with as he blows it in.  Not only is it green (which I have never seen before), but it begins at the ceiling drywall!

I have seen blogs by other home inspectors in which this same kind of rule had been intentionally bent by the installer so that instead of getting 15" or 18" of insulation, much less would be blown in yet look the proper height.  In other words, the installing company was lying about the depth of the insulation, to "save" themselves money, and overcharge their client.

SUCH IS NOT THE CASE HERE!  This is an honest installation, so the insulation depth the buyer sees is the real depth!  They will be getting what they are paying for.

One final thing.

In this last photo another green insulation ruler can be seen.  That is one of seven that were placed in the attic space.

The insulation installer will be able to blow a consistent amount of insulation into the area, stated to have an R-38 value.

Also, each bedroom is equipped with a ceiling fan location.

Each is centered into the room where it should be.

Notice two things:

1.  The very strong support can hold any fan made, and me!
2.  The electric box is a "flush mount" box.  This means that it anchors two ways, and only sticks down 1/2" so the fan is flush with the ceiling and does not encroach downward, but yet retain its strength.  The box is screwed into the wood from below and onto the side.  It is very secure.

I enjoy being able to explain things like these to buyers.  They feel good about the home they are building and the inspection too!

My recommendation:  it's the little things that add feature to the house.  Certainly the big things are important - like weight and load transference!  But when there is a multiplicity of little things that add up to careful construction and value the buyers always benefit.

 

 

 

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 28 commentsJay Markanich • February 10 2013 04:47AM

Comments

I like to see the insulation ruler in more than just on location.

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) over 7 years ago

Good stuff. Great to see a quality job. I would have enjoyed inspecting this house too. 

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

For sure Richard.  Many are really needed.  And one such post about bending those rulers to fake people out was posted by Jim below.

Jim - this was a lot of fun, for me, but especially the buyers!  They had a marvelous time.  And I explained everything.

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

Love the "cheater" ruler trick. Makes me wonder what else they skimped on when I see that. Imagine the insulation company doing a call back on that issue. They won't be too happy. Have a great day. 

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

That looks like a quality build!  How many times do you typically inspect homes if the buyers bring you in early in the process like these did?

Posted by M. Lynn Delatte (Developers Realty) over 7 years ago

Crap like that really bothers me Scott.  You have to wonder about people.  We are all screwed.

Lynn - not very often.  I was thoroughly impressed!

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

I really enjoyed your post. It was very informative. Unfortunately, I do  not see this kind of quality very often at all-even from the custom/semi-custom builders. This is exactly what I would look for(and have)when a client or myself is having a home built. You would not believe the responses I would get from builders when addressing quality issues at various walk through phases.

Posted by Jason Anderson, Realtor® (Mercury Properties) over 7 years ago

This was most impressive Jason.  And such a pleasure to see!

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

A very helpful and informative post, Jay.  Great details!

Posted by Jim Gilbert, The Gold Homes Team (Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway) over 7 years ago

Hey Jay - great post!

Before drywall, I also like to check a few things that will "show up" when the house is trimmed out.

A few examples,

1)Check for nice straight studs and walls where the kitchen cabinets will be installed.  Your cabinet installer and countertop installer will thank you.   (You can't bend a granite backsplash to make it fit tight on a bowed wall).

2) Location of light switches.  Did the electrician take into account the size of the trim before placing the gang boxes? (many times the helpers just go to the nearest stud)

3) Blocking-  I hate fastening towel racks, toilet paper holders, closet components etc with drywall anchors when there isn't solid blocking to secure it.  After, six months of use they will start to wiggle loose.

-I liked the caulked headers above the window mentioned in the post.  We also check to make sure the header cavity is insulated.

Posted by Frank Free, Lake Norman Real Estate since 1992 (Lake Realty) over 7 years ago

J&D - this is Augustine Builders down in Acquia Harbour.  Check them out!

F&M - thanks!  Blocking is also important in the kitchen to hold the cabinets.  Here they caulk or foam exterior gaps.

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

I've sold Augustine homes. They are a class act.

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

Jay, the buyers must be very happy. They know the quality of workmanship they are getting by have a pre-drywall inspection. Another example of Augustine Builders pride in their construction practices.

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

It appears the builder has gone to great lengths to do the right things. I wonder if they heard you were coming and kicked it up a notch.  :)

Thanks for the Featured post Jay Man.

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

I thought so as soon as I saw the very clean house Lenn, ready for our inspection.  And the supervisor, John, came by to introduce himself and is not one of the dime-a-dozen supers.

Mike - they were ecstatic.  They loved hearing me talk, and praise.

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

They did not know I was coming, but the supervisor said he had heard of me Tom!  Interesting, to say the least.

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

I "preach" this inspection to all of my new construction clients. I've built two homes and always had them inspected pre-drywall! Unfortunately, maybe only 50% of the clients listen. They are so worried about spending any extra $300-400 and I keep telling them it's cheap insurance. The worst that will happen is that nothing much is found and they have piece of mind and is $300-400 worth it on an expenditure in the hundreds of thousands?

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) over 7 years ago

Well, good for you Nina!  I have been preaching it for about 15 years and it is catching on more and more.  My fee is cheaper than that...

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

Nice to see positive work and good blog posts.  Let's keep this going, if you can.

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 7 years ago

That's why I started my Best Practices group Ken!  A while ago!

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

Refreshing to see a good work posting for a change. Looks like they are planning to attach drywall directly to the bottom chords of the trusses. (Truss uplift anyone.)

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 7 years ago

Thanks Robert, I agree!  See my Best Practices group in the comment above yours.

Yes, they are.  Those are W trusses with a center vertical, so they won't go up at all.

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

with the quality that is going into this house I would say that this is Jay's new house.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) over 7 years ago

In the market, I would have bought it in a heartbeat Chuck!

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

Its does ones heart good to see best practices in place.  I won't mention any names for this one time but it is obvious he was not working on this job. 

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

These all seem to be professionals to me James!  And over and over I saw good work.

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

That's a nice job on the insulation. I had to spend a some time recently going over how to install batts properly with the insulation contractor so we could get up to at least a grade 2 installation. Most new homes here are using blown in.

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

They don't use blown-in in the walls so much here Rob.  I saw it on a house recently and was so impressed I wrote about it! 

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

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