What I'm Seeing Now

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Floating Porch Corners

Yes, despite everything I saw I was particularly struck by the floating porch corners. 

Sure, the new porch lacked lots of things, like a permit for instance.

The sides are 34" off the ground, so guardrails would be needed.

The stairs are 65" wide, so a handrail would be needed on both sides.

The stair heights are erratic, ranging from 5 1/2" to 8 1/2".  Stair heights should not vary very much, no more than a quarter inch or so (technically 3/8").  Consistently the same height is most desired. 

The stairs are not level.

We can see all this.  We get all this.

A permit would have required that all the be properly done.

But I was struck by something else.

Neither of the front corners were really supported.

They LOOKED supported.

But were not!

And that lack of support represented a sizable part of the corners of those two slate tiles.

LOOKING CAREFULLY, YOU CAN SEE THAT THOSE TWO SUPPORTIVE BRICKS, PRESENT UNDER EACH CORNER, ARE MERELY GLUED THERE!

I could just see everyone getting back from dinner or shopping, and crowding onto the front porch while the door is being opened.  Careful not to fall off (!), one person is standing right on either of those corners, and the magical glued bricks simply giving way under the weight that person. 

And BOOM!  The corner suddenly breaks!  Have a nice day!

My recommendation:  sometimes things are not as they appear!  Look carefully and beyond the obvious!  That might just save grandpa from taking a dive.

 

 

 

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 • April 22 2013 02:44AM

Comments

Jay, this homeowner needs to be trained in the use of foam to fill in the corners.
Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) about 5 years ago

Personally I was disappointed by the obvious lack of foam Norman.  And a couple of drywall screws to hold those bricks more firmly.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Morning Jay where is the duct tape and as Norman said the foam?  Sounds like no one had read your previous posts.  Shame on them. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 5 years ago

LOL, I'm not sure I would call that a porch.  But, they don't look very safe at all.  It would have been better to tear this down and start from scratch.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 5 years ago

Everyone should read my posts James.  By law.

Debbie - and someone is going to buy it?  Imagine...

And it's likely that the sellers have no problem with it, thinking they have a new and solid front porch.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Good morning, Jay.... they would have been wise to just buy precast stairs and a handrail on both sides.... those stairs are ugly.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 5 years ago

Snap! Down goes Frazier! The uneven step height is a bad one, I'm sure that somewhere along the way someone has tripped over that. Uncle Bob... you pesky waskal!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 5 years ago

Sadly, for the home owner who attempts to make this stoop safe, bricks, stone and mortar are a lot more difficult to deal with than would be a wooden stoop.

That storm door doesn't look quite right either.

 

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

This is kind of placed over the old stoop Barbara.  I guess they didn't want the work of removing the old for the new.

Fred - this is a cut and paste job!  Maybe an IT expert built the porch!

Lenn - the opened lock box is preventing the door from closing, but the closer arm is bent!  I bet these homeowners think they have a real solid porch there.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Dangerous situation. Good thing the home inspector didn't stand on that corner ;-)

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

It's amazing what people will do. Then stand there looking proud just before we burst their bubble.

Then they don't like the end results of the inspection and say we don't know what we are saying and everything is right.

Shake your head and have the buyers deal with it.

Have a great day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 5 years ago

The "memory" your feet have of even steps will be lost here...and guess there has been more than one spill due to this issue.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 5 years ago

Jay:  When I'm showing older homes I've seen several ridiculous porches.  I know nothing about the regulations, but common sense (what little I have) kicks in.  As an Attorney I see all of the potential law suites the owner avails him/herself to.  Its serious.  

Posted by Christopher Campa, Northern VA Realtor (LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE) about 5 years ago

Thanks for looking after Grampa Jay, would want to see him hurt.

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) about 5 years ago

Jay, definitely a DIY job. This is an accident waiting to happen.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 5 years ago

Thus the value of a home onspector comes in, which you prove over and over again Jay. Thank you for the education you provide

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) about 5 years ago

Jay, maybe a couple of poles to support the corners with gorilla glue to hold them in place.

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) about 5 years ago

It looks like an accident waiting to happen.

Posted by Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate, Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties (RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales) about 5 years ago

Jay -- it is amazing that they could get the steps that far out of standard.  Besides, if they put on handrails, it would destroy the floating illusion they are going for.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 5 years ago

Jay,  Good for you in stating the obvious!  Looks like an accident waiting to happen. :)

Posted by Berni Kerr, AMP Mortgage Agent - Port Dover ON (Dominion Lending Centre - Mortgage Professionals Inc.) about 5 years ago

Richard - he wanted to hang around for more fun in the future!

Clint - we do shake our heads sometimes!  Let's see who deals with this one.

S&D - it is that memory which is the reasoning behind the stairs being substantially the same height!

Thanks Chris.  Sooner or later this porch is an accident happening.  Life experience is a cruel teacher.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Someone has to Tom!  And mom when she is holding the baby!

Mike - it is an impressive staircase first glance.  But the longer you look, well...

You're welcome Doug and thanks for your kind words!

I will pass that along Mark!  Gorilla Glue works outdoors and is exceptionally waterproof!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

H&L - or many accidents waiting to happen!

Steven - the stairs in the clouds!  Maybe a stairway to heaven for some poor soul.

Berni - we state the obvious and the not so obvious!  At times anyway.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay, I can just feel my left knee slipping out of joint going down these steps without a railing.  This is not a geezer friendly house.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Jay - that is certainly an accident waiting to happen. Just looking at the front picture makes me want to fall down.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

No it is not Pat.  And 34" is a pretty good fall.

Eric - well, you don't have to!  Imagine the stairs with all the safety bells and whistles!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Nice porch and stairs. Permits are so over rated ;)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 5 years ago

Permit me to help you up onto the porch Grandma.  Here, stand right there while I open the door.

Over rated indeed, Jim! 

I got your sarcasm, but I'm betting grandma doesn't when she takes her header!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

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