What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

A Pre-drywall Or Final Inspection Might Have Helped!

When I see problems like this I can only think that a pre-drywall or final inspection might have helped!

During inspections sometimes things don't sound right.  Once is information, two is very interesting and three times is a pattern.

On this inspection the first bathroom vent sounded funny.

The second bathroom vent sounded the same, and made me mention it.

The third also sounded the same as the first two, and the toilet paper test (turning on the fan to see if there is enough air drawn out to stick the toilet paper to the vent cover) failed.

Returning to the other two bathrooms the toilet paper test failed there too!

SOUNDS ARE VERY IMPORTANT ON A HOME INSPECTION.  I PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO SOUNDS.

At this point I know the attic inspection will be interesting!

This house is two years old.  The sellers built it expecting to occupy it for along time.  It has all their favorite features.  But, alas, they are being transferred elsewhere.  You don't expect to find too many things as any problems that existed initially have usually been taken care of.

Looking into the attic space all three bathroom vents discharged right at the ridge vent.

And all three looked like this!

All three vents were blocked by tar paper and very dusty!

And none was blowing much air.

Obviously these folks did not have a pre-drywall inspection.  Or an inspection for their final walk through.  This would have been easy to see.  I always look for light coming through the ridge vent on a pre-drywall inspection.  No light, no vent!  Simple.

My recommendation:  venting is very important.  It is easiest to investigate when the house is skeletal, as would be done in a pre-drywall inspection, but then certainly during the final walk through.  Even more though, this ridge vent was covered throughout its run!  That means that the roofer installed the vent cap knowing it was incorrect.  I'm seeing egregious errors like this more and more and wonder, just wonder, if it is not intentional.  This improper installation is too hard to miss when putting in a 40' vent cap.

 

 

 

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 37 commentsJay Markanich • July 16 2013 04:24AM

Comments

Jay, you discover and uncover the best stuff!  Always a fun read.  What happened to the good ol' days of craftsmanship?  This one is just too weird-- wonder what they were thinking...

Posted by Gary Frimann, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) about 5 years ago

Yes, it sounds like they built their dream home but didn't have any checks & balances.  Those inspections would have helped a lot.

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

Good morning Jay,

The ridge vent on our home here had the ridge vent cut out but never installed and after twelve years had to do a tear off and I made sure we had vents installed this time.

Thank you for the tips.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

Thanks Gary.  Lack of professionalism seems to rule the world these days.

Debbie - I would have checked before they wrote their check to the builder, who didn't check.

Cute Raymond!  Once in a townhouse development a ridge vent installer put vents on a bunch of the houses, but never cut out the roof to vent them!  Yes, he did that on purpose, pure scam.

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

I have seen bathroom vents so dirty that even with them running they do not draw air.  I used to do a match smoke test to see the air draw but the toilet paper trick sounds even better.

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) about 5 years ago

Aw, come on.  You know that if this were a defect, the county code inspector would not have given them the APPROVED sticker.

 

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

I had a shocking toilet paper test yesterday Richard!  I will post on it another day!

Um, he did Lenn!  Approved, signed, sealed and delivered.  I test enough bath vents to know when they sound right.  These people lived with the same sound coming from all of them, assuming that is the proper sound I guess.

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

You can be sure that the owners will be grateful that you found this...it will be like a "breath of fresh air."

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

I hear bath vents are important Richard!  That's the latest I think.

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

Interesting...and another example of why "new construction" does not mean "flaw free."

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) about 5 years ago
It's one thing that roofer was an idiot, but what about everyone else involved that just ignored it. Absolutely amazing.
Posted by Bill and MaryAnn Wagner, Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate (Wagner Real Estate Group) about 5 years ago

Jay, great advice.  We always recommend inspections for our buyers, including those for new constructions.

Posted by Pat & Steve Pribisko (Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West) about 5 years ago

Yes, I would hire a home inspector for new homes to avoid future problems

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay, the person who installed the venting pipes also knew it was done incorrectly. Another reason a pre-drywall inspection is a must.

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

New construction needs an inspection as much or more than a resale home. Some builders do a good job but others do sloppy work. This makes for real trouble down the road whn the home needs to be sold.

Betty

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) about 5 years ago

Not surprising. Thank goodness there are great inspectors like you Jay. Great job.

Posted by Tanya Van Blake-Coleman, Improving the Quality of Your Life (Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com) about 5 years ago

Wow... that's pretty lazy! I am amazed at the width of the ridge vent opening too!

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

If you don't know what to listen for, any sound is alright.  They should have noticed that the mirrors stayed fogged for far too long after a nice, long shower.  The person who installed the bathroom ventilation knew he was doing it incorrectly.  He could use a good beating.  The inspector too, for that matter.

Posted by Roger Stensland, Let's Move! (The Cascade Team Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

The mechanical guy blames the roofer and vice verses, I bet they just forgot to run it on out. The QC manager? Where was he on this job?

Oh yeah. There was not one. Silly me.

Have a good 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

Really great post Jay. I have a question...I've also seen bathroom fan vents discharged into the attic, near the soffit, not to the outside. What do you think of that?

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 5 years ago

This just falls into the category "YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING' and goes back to the builder as "It would have cost you less to do it right the 1st time"   Don't know whether to laugh or cry, just GIT 'ER DONE.

Keep Smilin'

Posted by Brian Schulte, SFR, Sierra Vista, AZ (Allison James Estates & Homes) about 5 years ago

Nothing shocks me anymore. Sorry but I would figure out who the builder is and show it to him. If he is still in Business bet he would fix it.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) about 5 years ago

SOUNDS like the new home owners might have a breath of fresh air. What a shame that the outgoing owners didn't have the benefit of a functioning home. Any signs of mildew ort mold?

Posted by Brad Rachielles, REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA (CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453) about 5 years ago

Gary - nothing new is guaranteed to be flaw free!

Bill - this was certainly ignored by everyone who saw it.  The sellers are not with blame, however.

P&S - that is a sound practice!  I like it too...

Harry - the compliment of inspections all work together!  And the process works!

Agreed Mike.  If there's a proper gap there it's one thing.  But not here!

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

Jay -- in the past couple years, around here, most builders were including a 5 or 10 year guaranty on their workmanship -- did this house have such?

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

Betty - these sellers have this and other issues now, after this home inspection!

Tanya - thank you.  These things long ago stopped surprising me.

Fred - it could be wider to get that optimum 50/50 intake/vent ratio.

Roger - when a homeowner maintains the house, improper sounds jump out at them.

Clint - the supervisor on site everyday is supposed to provide the QC.  Um...

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

Thanks Tom.  That is not a best practice as there is no inducement for the exhausted air to make it outside.  The soffit vent is intended for air to come in, and properly set up it will.  There's no encouragement for bathroom air to go out.

Brian - there is never time to do it right the first time!

Bill - the builder would defer to the sub contractor and say to call that company.

No microbials yet Brad, but sooner or later that would have developed as well.

Never heard of that Steven!  There is typically a 10 year on the structure here, but not on workmanship. 

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

Sounds like maybe the roofer has a good attitude Jay. :)

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

Hey Jay, what is with the mix of Plywood and OSB?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

You have to be a little high to be a roofer Tom.  Altitude and attitude.

Charlie - the plywood is FRT, the brand Dricon.  They do a minimum of 4' on each side with FRT here.

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

Jay, All I got to say is nice work there. Got to love when contractors do this.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

This is, and has been, pretty poor Don.  And ashame.  Now these sellers will have to deal with it.  I never asked if they had inspections along the way, but likely not.

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

Morning Jay I don't remember every reading about this.  Should be an easy fix?  :)

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

Well, James, remove the ridge vent, trying to salvage it, and cut a proper opening.  If the vent material can't be saved a new one would be needed.

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

Jay-Right you are since once the drywall goes up lots of stuff is masked.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) about 5 years ago

Wayne - I think this would have been caught on either a pre-drywall or final inspection.

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

Jay, I have clients that are building new in the Brookside neighborhood.  When we informed the builder that we will do a pre-drywall inspection when the time comes, they said, "you can have a pre-drywall inspection, but we won't fix anything the inspector finds because we only go by the code inspections."   Where has the customer service gone?

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

This blog does not allow anonymous comments