What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

A Pre-Drywall Inspection Is The Only Time To See This

A pre-drywall inspection is the only time to see this.

A thermal camera can show where areas are not insulated or not insulated well.  But why find that out after the house is built?

A pre-drywall inspection is the only time to see the house in a skeletal condition.  THAT is when the insulation should be examined.  And it is the ONLY time that areas that will need to be insulated can be examined.

See these photos and notice the large areas where insulation will be difficult, if not impossible, to install.

Long areas along exterior walls between the basement ceiling the floor of the first level MUST BE COMPLETELY INSULATED.  If even a small gap exists between the insulation and the first-level floor, for example, it will feel like no insulation is present.

Each of these areas is 30' long, 16" high, and very wide.  One is under a long family room wall above and the other under a long living room wall above.  These walls will influence each of these rooms, but particularly in winter. 

This is what the International Residency Code says, in part, about insulation.  Virginia subscribes to this code.

Walls

Corners and headers shall be insulated and the junction of the foundation and sill plate shall be sealed.
The junction of the top plate and top of exterior walls shall be sealed.
Exterior thermal envelope insulation for framed walls shall be installed in substantial contact and continuous alignment with the air barrier.

The words "substantial contact" and "continuous alignment" are there for a reason.  The words "shall be" are there for a reason.  As stated above, even a 1" gap between the insulation and the floor will feel like there is no insulation present.

My recommendation:  some things in a house can only be seen pre-drywall.  Where insulation should be installed, or where it cannot be easily installed, is one of those things.  House designs have to be such that access is provided for insulation.  There is only one shot to get insulation correctly installed.  If large areas have been built into the framing that discourage or prevent insulation, it will affect the house forever.

 

 

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 15 commentsJay Markanich • June 27 2016 03:53AM

Comments

That's excellent information Jay Markanich and continues to enforce the importance of home inspections for new or older homes!

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) about 4 years ago

A year from now I would find this with my thermal camera Jennifer.  If that time is within the one-year warranty the builder would be asked to fix it.  And the builder gets upset with the home inspector.

We all know it's the home inspector's fault.

Now is the easiest time to address this!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay Markanich ,

What a great post! This is exactly why I advise my clients who are building to have an inspection before the sheet rock goes up. I'm bookmarking your post!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 4 years ago

Thanks Dorie.  I have had many pre-drywall posts, each showing a particular reason (and there are zillions) for having a pre-drywall inspection.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. I am a big fan of a pre-drywall inspection. There is still time to correct mistakes! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 4 years ago

Jay Markanich It is very sad that builders do not follow-thru to make sure these error never occur. Incredible energy losses do result from these oversights!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) about 4 years ago

That's the idea, Wayne.  Iffn' they do it.

S&N - these were two of six such areas!  And guaranteed, during insulation the "professional installers" would regard those as small areas, too hard to get to, but gee, they are so small what's the difference?  No big deal.

The code is a MINIMUM standard!  And the minimum is substantially addressed by the code in this case.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Have to wonder how many/what percentage of contractors actually follow this part of the code..hmmmm....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 4 years ago

If you want my opinion based on experience, S&D, less than 10% are probably aware of the code and/or install according to the code.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

You can walk in just about any older home with your thermal camera and see hot/cold corners and headers. I know some of it is insulation sagging, maybe even because they didn't staple the insulation. Best to catch it and take care of future problems before you cover it up!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 4 years ago

Corners are one thing, Fred, and always reflect a lack of insulation because they are hard to do.  Which we both understand.  However, these are voids and will always be voids unless some proactive action is taken to solve what will be a problem.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Thanks Jay!  Another project for my honey-do list.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 4 years ago

Really Stephen?  You have to send me some photos of you cramming insulation into tight spaces!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, the proof is in the pudding! 

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 4 years ago

The proof of this problem would have been felt in the winter, Andrea.  Good, and better, to catch it now while it is more easily addressed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments