What I'm Seeing Now

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Was This Staining Outside Indicative Of A Problem Inside?

Was this staining outside indicative of a problem inside?

Why yes!

Looking up these foundation stains were directly under a third-floor, bathroom window.  The two bathrooms abutted and shared a single drain stack which ended in the basement.

The siding was new, but these stains were old and had two colors, indicating they happened more than once.

Seeing these stains I suspected a plumbing problem indoors.

Looking inside I saw what appeared to be previous leaking, and an unprofessional repair.  So I ran the water in both bathrooms at the same time, and for a while.

The sill plate (the board on top of the foundation) was black and rotted.

The floor joists nearby were black and rotted where they rested on the sill plate.

The rim joist (the board covering the outside opening where the floor joists end) was black and rotted.  That is where the staining in the first photo was manifesting.

And, after running the water, droplets could be seen in the white poly foam.

Someone apparently thought that poly foam would "seal" up the leaking.  It did not.  Open-cell poly foam, like you see here, is not waterproof and should not be used to seal leaks.

Further, that poly foam makes it exceptionally more difficult to get to and analyze the source(s) of the problem(s).

In short, this was a mess.  It will require the investigation of a plumber and a structural engineer.

My recommendation:  looking outside often gives clues as to circumstances inside!  Have a look.  I typically arrive early to walk around a house, first looking at the grounds - grading and vegetation.  Then again looking at the lower half of the house.  And then again (!) looking at the upper half of the house.  By that time, when I walk around the house with the buyer I have informed myself and can talk about things and suggest a plan of action for when we get indoors.  When I see clues outdoors I am looking indoors to see if they lead anywhere.  Sometimes they do!

 

 

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 10 commentsJay Markanich • May 26 2017 10:18AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay Markanich with every post I read of yours, I become paranoid and search for things at my house!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 1 year ago

Barbara - they're coming to take you away, ha ha.  They're coming to take you away, ho ho, hee hee, ha ha.  To the happy house where life is beautiful all the time, and you'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats...

Well, you know how the rest of the song works.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Seek and thee shall find, Jay...great catch and I do not this is cheap to fix!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 1 year ago

You are right Ginny.  And at least I didn't have to knock so it was opened...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Good morning Jay. Temporary fixes can be permanent problems! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 1 year ago

This would be a great situation if the homeowner was looking to get into the mushroom business. I am sure Mighty Mo was still napping when you found this defect.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) over 1 year ago

Glad that you could SPOT the stain and SHOUT it out to the Buyers...GLAD you are going to have a wonderful weekend :)  Jay Markanich 

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 1 year ago

Very true, Wayne.  In this case the "fix" was no fix!  But you knew that.

S&N - the mushrooms were next.  Then comes mushroom management - keep'em in the dark and feed'em B.S.

Like the advertising, S&D!  Isn't that Proctor and Gamble product?  And some glads I know are getting gladder!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Now that was impressive detective work!  I doubt I would ever have discovered such a serious issue such as this based on the foundation stains.  Well done!

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 1 year ago

Gracias, Stephen.  Sometimes one thing leads to another.  In this case it did in a big way.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

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