What I'm Seeing Now


The Dormers Are Really High. No One Will Notice The Flashing.

I can hear it now - supervisor to sub:  "The dormers are really high.  No one will notice the flashing."

On this new construction my client called me and an engineer to conduct a pre-drywall inspection.  We both found the same things!  Not talking one to another we each developed lists that matched. 

The builder said two things:  no other inspector had noticed anything and until our inspections they thought they had built perfect houses, and they made many changes due to what we had found.

And they didn't mind!

Having me back for a final inspection and before I got out of my car, I saw that the dormers on the front of the house looked odd.

My distance vision is very good, I'm told better than 20/10, so I see stuff!

Breaking out my binoculars (20X with an image-stabilizing button) I examined both and found them to be the same.

Very high, and hard to see except from across the street, they both looked like this.

The "flashing" was merely nailed to the framing and the shingles rested without any flashing whatever.

Did they think this was finished?

No matter, it makes the report!  With a photo if possible.

I have a hard time with distance photos in that the camera is hard to stabilize and the focus isn't always really sharp.  But you can get the idea here!  This is schmuck work.

When I see things like this I look at the neighborhood. 

On the first set of townhouses the flashing was done correctly, with the wood framing over the flashing and the shingles with their own counter flashing, also under the framing.  This set of townhouses represented the Best Practice.

The second set of houses was much worse, only basically acceptable.  The flashing and shingles had been glued to the framing with roof tar, which covered the nails.  Is it long lasting?  No, but the county would not say anything.  I would of course.

And on this set of townhouses the flashing on every dormer looked like this.  I don't know if their standards diminished as they moved along (to meet specific quarterly financial deadlines) or if they used different subs.


Perhaps they thought nobody would notice.  Maybe until now nobody had.  But to fix this properly both dormers will need to be taken apart and completely redone.  Have fun with that!

My recommendation:  you are hiring a home inspector to NOTICE!  He is there to observe and report.  A final inspection covers the entirety of the house - outside and inside.  And everywhere the inspector is allowed access!  Some inspectors even go nuts.  In this house the master bathroom shower door leaked onto the floor because I was able to direct the shower head onto it.  But the other shower was such that I could not direct the water flow.  So I climbed into the shower and splashed the water with my hand!  The door did not leak, but I paid the price!  Laying wet stuff on the floor registers and cranking the heat dried everything quickly!  So all's well that ends well...




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 21 commentsJay Markanich • December 02 2013 01:48AM


Oh yes, that does sound difficult to fix.  It makes you wonder what the supervisor is supervising.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 7 years ago

Seeing my report he will wonder exactly what got supervised, Debbie!


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

Must be the builder had different crews...none with the exceptional eye, work ethic....attention to detail that should be required....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 7 years ago

The supervisor should require the exceptional detail S&D... these are expensive townhouses!

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

Jay, great catch! I recently represented buyers in a to-be-built home is a new subdivision in Venice, Florida. Now I have no doubt that the builder will do an acceptable job, but I do not leave anything to chance. When I recommended to the buyer that they invest and I say again, INVEST in a home inspector before the expected closing in 2014, the buyer's response was, that that was unnecessary! Not only that, when I again recommended that the buyer hire a law firm to overview the contract and shop the closing costs, again I was rebuffed.

Needless to say, I have addenda the buyer must sign before closing indicating refusal of these services to indemnify me and my company. End point: your clients were smart to enlist your services. Some buyers think they know it all and will pay the price in the end.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) almost 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

It is a good thing there are inspector's like you available.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 7 years ago

I've seen similar "flashing" details. Someone forgot or didn't care that gravity works.

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

Jay you sure have a good "eye" for things.  Play on words. 

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

What are you doing across the street Jay?  :)

Improper and lack of flashing is probably the leading cause of water damage. Great catch!

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) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

I like Norman's comment. Many many times new homes are sold here without a home inspection simply because they think it's a brand new home what could be wrong. Just about anything. DUH.

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) almost 7 years ago

It sure seems like it would be easiest to do it right the first time instead of having to tear out and replace.

Posted by Mona Gersky, GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate. (MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, having a good and practiced eye makes all the difference. It is high and difficult to see, but it's the work that people do when no one can see that defines who they are...

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) almost 7 years ago

I like Norman's comment. I get a kick out of the price shoppers, they pay 300K for their house and try to save $25 on their Home Inspection by calling them all and getting a price quote. 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 7 years ago

Of course, the buyers can always call the county for another inspection.  I don't know why more do not if the thing is at a stand still.

No matter who the supervisor, or sub, it's the builder who's responsible.

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

Jay, I recently had a client interested in new construction. We explained that we would be doing a pre-drywall and a final inspection. The builder said, "Go right ahead, but we won't be making any changes. Our homes are built to code as required. If it's passed the code inspector, it doesn't matter what your inspector wants." My client decided not to buy that house. Yeah!!

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 7 years ago

Norman - show him/her a couple of my posts!

Raymond - thanks.  And we are everywhere!

Jim - and that it really likes to get in!

An eye for the high James?

I knock on doors and ask for cookies Tom.  Don't you?  All it takes is a puppy-dog face.

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

I believe it is an eye problem called myopia, Clint!

It is easier Mona!  But they always seem to want to do it!

Tom - which is why I look there first!  And then again from a different angle.

Fred - when I hear that I say I am probably the most expensive and if they are looking for cheap they will be able to find it easily.  The follow-up question is, "Is that what you want in a home inspection?"

Lenn - they don't need that now!  The whole row of houses is like this.  The other "inspectors" didn't find this problem to be a problem!

Good decision Tammie!  But are you saying that upon being informed of this problem the builder wouldn't take care of it?  I don't know about that...  sounds like bluster to me.  Which, by the way, I have heard before from builders!

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

 Good morning, Jay. it is amazing what builders think that they can get by with isn't it? Thankfully, people purchasing the property had a good inspector to look out for their best interest.

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

Standing in an upstairs bedroom in this house I could show my client the dormer of the house across the street Michael.  From up there the house across the street was far away, but very visible.

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

Jay, I see that with head flashing quite often. Really makes you wonder sometimes. 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

I don't wonder so much Don.  Seeing it so much, as we do, I just look for it, and report it!

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

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