What I'm Seeing Now

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Sometimes You're Baffled, And Sometimes You're Not

On pre-drywall inspections I can mostly see what cannot be seen after drywall installation, and, as to what I can see, sometimes you're baffled and sometimes you're not.

Take this master bedroom for instance.

Those pieces of cardboard in these photos make up what are called baffles.

They are properly placed.  Notice how the cut outs on the sides keep the cardboard 2" or so from the sheathing.

That is to allow for roof ventilation.

Air comes in under the gutters through soffit vent openings, moves along the sheathing, and due to convection passes up and out through the ridge vent at the top of the roof.  It's excellent ventilation and pure physics.  It never fails.

Those baffles allow insulation to be blown to the very edge of the roof, WITHOUT covering the soffit vents.

That way air can flow.

I saw these baffles all over the upper level and well done.

Until I got to the other end of the master bedroom.

There were no baffles.

This side of the roof has a tray ceiling detail, which makes the ceiling higher and allows room for a ceiling fan.  You can see the flush junction box for the ceiling fan in the upper right corner.

However, this area needs insulation all the way to the edge of the roof too. 

Without baffles the soffit vent openings will likely be covered with insulation, and so ventilation will be compromised.  Without the necessary air flow that section of the roof will be subject to extreme heat in summer and ice dams and icicles in winter.

The cardboard baffles would have to be added before the drywall goes up.

That's why we do these inspections! 

My recommendation:  on a pre-drywall inspection we look at a myriad of things.  There is no typical defect found.  And that's the idea, to get enough visual to get a pretty good idea of what is going on with the house prior to the drywall installation.  Drywall covers up a multitude of sins!  It's best to catch as much information as we can before the drywall installation.

 

 

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 13 commentsJay Markanich • October 29 2014 01:26AM

Comments

Jay, a pre-drywall inspection can uncover problems easily corrected which become major when the drywall goes up! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 5 years ago

Right Wayne.  I had a steel beam resting insufficiently on the foundation not long ago.  The builder kicked a fit at my noticing it.  Then the County made them change the beam!

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

Before is soooo much easier...and prevents sooo many issues from becoming problems that don't need to be when they are dealt with at the right time.

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

Good morning Jay,

It would be a cheap fix now and a pay me more later situation!

Make yourself a great day.

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

Better to catch it now and not wait until after.  As usual I had no idea.  Think I'll look in the attic and see what I have or not.  thanks

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

But, but, but, I'm sure the county inspector would have found that defect before approving the house for close-in.

I'm sure.

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

And NOW is the time to deal with it S&D, as you suggest.

Nobody would likely notice the situation later Raymond, to be able to diagnose it.  They would only know that the room isn't comfortable and those icicles are forming every year.

James - sometimes you can see the baffles clearly from the attic access.

For sure Lenn.  It was upstairs as far from the front door as you can get.  For sure.

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

One point of correction, ventilation does not in itself prevent ice dams. In fact the insulation and air sealing plays a much more important role in the prevention of ice dams than ventilation. 

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

I am baffled... as to why anybody getting a new home built would not do a pre-drywall inspection!! They are fun to do & there's a ton of stuff to look at. I have found some crazy construction techniques that you cannot ever see after the drywall goes up!

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

Jay, Just baffling that is all I have to say 

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

Jim - my experience, and the experience in the link, is that if the soffit gets warm ice develops building up from the gutter.  When the soffit stays cold less melting occurs, if at all.

Fred - not sure!  I do so many of them and every one of them has something or other, sometimes serious.

Don - clearly it is baffling why the one side is baffleless.  Less baffle, more baffling is the formula.  Kind of counterintuitive.  Formulas in algebra baffled me too, but that is another form of damming altogether.

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

Jay, Understood, but the idea is to first slow or prevent melting in the first place. Which is why the ceiling plane is one of the more important consideration in ice dam prevention. Ventilation, make that properly installed ventilation, is also a key player. 

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

I see what you're saying now Jim.  And in CT you might have a little experience with ice...

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

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