What I'm Seeing Now

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What Could Cause So Much Moisture In A Bay Window?

What could cause so much moisture in a bay window?

The underside of the bay window was bulging.

Pushing on it the material was very soft and felt wet.  It had rained the night before.

Measuring with the moisture meter the needle jumped to >30%, indicating saturation.

And Mighty Mo showed how the moisture had collected inside the window.  The water was literally resting inside the space.

That is a lot of moisture!

So what caused it?

The window material was all wrapped with an aluminum covering to protect the wood from moisture and rot.

It was well done, and caulked properly.

Unfortunately when the deck was built someone had improperly "attached" decking materials with nails!

And the nails punctured the metal wrapping all over the bay window's wood framing.

Over time, of course, each of those punctures becomes a via for water, which needs little opportunity to get anywhere.  And water will take any opportunity allowed it!

The rain the night before was just the latest opportunity for that water to enter the window space. 

And where did the water go?  To the bottom.

My recommendation:  professionalism is everything!  Surely a contractor needs to understand that a metal wrapping that is punctured will allow water to get behind it and damage the wood underneath.  And that is what happened here.  Physics is physics and will work based on laws that don't change.  We conform to those laws, natural codes if you will, or we face the consequences.  And this bay window has experienced many such consequences.  Don't mess with Mother Nature's codes!  She will win in the end.  She always wins in the end.

 

 

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 49 commentsJay Markanich • March 09 2017 11:02AM

Comments

Another example of being penny wise and pound foolish. 

Posted by Beth Bromund, REALTOR (248) 651-3500 (Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel) about 2 years ago

Those dreaded nails! Seems they cause tons of leaks all over.

Posted by Dennis Swartz, MBA, GRI...experience counts! (Full Circle Property Management) about 2 years ago

You are correct, it is often the DIY who causes building envelope problems.  Good find, and the Tramex meters are excellent tools by the way!!  I have the same meter with digital readout.

Posted by Robin Wells, Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time ( RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections) about 2 years ago

When different people work on different things, one may not understand the other's methods, Beth.  And that may be evident here.

Dennis - nails are great, when used right!

Robin - I remember when moisture meters came out a couple of decades ago and the debate was on whether they exposed home inspectors to more liability!  And they had the prongs which made holes in whatever they were investigating.  I like the Tramex because they aren't invasive.  And Tramex will repair them for free, and when I have done that I have only paid for return shipping.  I have had three meters for many years and didn't know they are digital now!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Robin - I just looked up the digital meter, MRHIII, and it looks really good. 

The colored gage on mine makes it easy for me to explain moisture content in terms of saturation, and the gage makes that visible.  People don't understand that wood is saturated at 30%!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Oh yikes.....that would send me running to the contractor quickly....and send him running back to construction 101 !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 2 years ago

I have seen this happen when a professsional was not hired to do the job.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 2 years ago

Ugh. It seems kind of sacrilegious to ruin a professionally done job with a DIY nail.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) about 2 years ago

The house was 20 years old, S&D, so this has had a long time to develop.  Everything in that bay window is damaged - from structure to insulation.  It's a mess, I'm sure.

Methinks thou has hit the spike on the head, Harry.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Kat - a professional job is usually ruined by a non professional!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Good job tracking down the problem, Jay Markanich 

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty and Management) about 2 years ago

You uncovered thousands of dollars of repairs and the buyers should be appreciative that it will be the seller to correct this defect.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) about 2 years ago

Thanks Nathan.  That's what I do!  Pretty much on a daily basis.

S&N - as said Big Julie (Julius Caesar) - "Veni, vidi, vici."  I came, I saw, I conquered.  Or something like that.  We inspectors observe and report.  And sometimes blog!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

She always wins in the end! Great informational post Jay! Lesson to be learned here!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 2 years ago

Good catch Jay! The client was fortunate to have a seasoned sleuth as an inspector, experience and tenacity is a great combination.

Posted by Peter Davies, Exceptional service, without exception... (Borawski Real Estate) about 2 years ago

Jay

Another good lesson, and now a problem that was created by someone else has to be fixed. One would think greater care would have been taken with the deck install.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) about 2 years ago

Again, a great example of why you get your dream home inspected... crews upon crews working on your house!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 2 years ago

The newer double paned windows if not triple paned kind often leaks sooner than you think. Moisture penetrates.....Junk

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) about 2 years ago

What a shame!  There is a lot of differences in contractors, it's hard to know who to use and how to keep them from ruining your property.

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS (CastNet Realty) about 2 years ago

Trudy being Dutch hates water exactly because of things like this. This is an extreme example but such a shame that so much damage was caused by someone not doing a simple job correctly.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) about 2 years ago

Thanks Sharon.  An expensive lesson!

Peter - I do what I do, and try my best.  Often the information provided by the house is frightful, too!

One would, Jeff, but things happen may seem small at first, but over time grow in importance.  This one was a big deal.

Fred - and the crew makes all the difference.  People ask me if this or that builder is a good one and my answer is that it depends on the supervisor and subs.  The crew makes all the difference.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Sam - the windows were okay, I think.  But puncturing the framing was not!

Ricki - few think to look at work as it is being done, or right after before the final check is written!  But I wonder how many homeowners would have noticed this fiasco.

Things like this cause me to hate water too, N&T!  And I'm not Dutch, but I have gone Dutch on dates...  But to the point, in the end this will likely turn out to be a big expense.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Wow.....That is a lot of water intrusion. I read your comment that the house is only 20 years old. That is too bad.

Posted by April Swenson, CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers) about 2 years ago

April - Mother Nature works consistently over time.  And I have seen the bumper stickers - Water Happens.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

You can't fool Mother Nature and you can't fight her. Might as well respect her rules.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 2 years ago

She is the ultimate local jurisdictional code authority, Marte.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

DIY...synonym for collateral damage!  Hire a pro in the know!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 2 years ago

Would wonder if the person that owned the home when this DIY was done was still the person that owned the home when problems developed, Jay Markanich?  

Gene  

Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 2 years ago

Gary - looks it, but around here there is a lot of what I call 7-11 construction - go to the 7-11 parking lot and hire cheap.

I don't know the history of the home ownership of the house, Gene.  But I understand the sellers were surprised at all of what I found on the house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

The last contractor in seldom worries about the work done by the previous guy as long as they can finish and get paid.  The homeowner has to be alert for issues like this

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 2 years ago

Agreed, Ed.  And many homeowners would not know if a contractor was doing something whacky, like this guy with the nails. 

The only obvious nail was the one in the photo, but I counted about a dozen, albeit well hidden.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

No shoratge of short cuts leading to massive damage. Only if they had done it right. Great catch for the buyer Jay Markanich 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 2 years ago

Thanks Scott.  It wasn't difficult.  I got my first hint underneath and looking around saw all the nails!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Jay, I stopped by thank you for sharing this valuable information. 

Posted by Noel Mayer, YOU'RE RIGHT AT HOME WITH NOEL (FAIRMOUNT REALTORS) about 2 years ago

Thanks Noel.  I post here many times a week.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

This Jay knows things...

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 2 years ago

Wow!  What a terrible situation for that homeowner!  It's always better to pay a little extra to have things done by a licensed professional...just like it's always better to use an agent than to FSBO!!  

Posted by Joel Jadofsky, One of the Top Realtors in Panama City Beach Area (Keller Williams - homes for sale - Florida - Gulf - Beach ) about 2 years ago

I bet that was one unhappy homeowner. My Anderson bay window, that I had installed 19 years ago started to leak last year when it rained but it was coming in at the top and into the house. Called Anderson windows and unfortunatly, it was past the warrenty. But they gave me the number of a local authorized repair person. He came out. Fixed it and at a reasonable price. It's been fine ever since. Took care of it before any real damage was done. 

 

Posted by Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA, Providing the integrity and service you deserve. (Future Home Realty) about 2 years ago

Richie - as always your comments are short, succint and very complimentary!  Thanks!

Joel - the true professional in every profession can make a huge difference.  Why not go that route?

Sam - Anderson will always go the extra mile to help a customer, within or outside the warranty.  Good that it worked out and no more leaking!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Great post. We could probably write a book of examples of how one tradesman can ruin another tradesman's work.

Thanks

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) about 2 years ago

John - I could put together blogs of any genre - sarastic, funny, odd, professional, etc. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Dear Jay,

The devil is in the details. Interesting mystery solved. Thank you. I always learn good things from you.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) about 2 years ago

And I'm glad you do, Dorte!  Please feel free to stop by often!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Hey Jay nice to see that you're still posting great information.  You no doubt saved your client a lot of headaches, the water could have resulted in mold, termites, and/or wood rot and staining.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) about 2 years ago

Thanks!  And there was plenty of rot Eric!  And other things as well.  See my post earlier on the rotting composite decking!  Same house. 

This particular bay window was a mess inside and out.  There was a lot to do on this house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

Penetrating a moisture barrier is never a good idea.  Especially in high moisture environmets.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) about 2 years ago

Agreed, Mick.  Hence the word "barrier!"

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

House detective, that's Jay Markanich !

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 2 years ago

Thanks Andrew, and we see and report on what we see.   This one was not too hard to see, if one looks in the odd places.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 2 years ago

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