What I'm Seeing Now

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These Stamps Aren't Made For Mailing

It was a lovely home, very large, bricked, huge hip roof with a gabled window on each side, and beautiful, newly-installed cedar shakes.  Gorgeous!  Outside and then inside.  And for $1.5 mil it should be!

My client and I had a good time.  There was little to speak about really - for a new home I was pleasantly surprised.  The supervisor beamed.  He had done a good job.  My client was impressed and very happy.

It was time for the attic.  The pull-down stairs made it easy as the ceilings were 10' high.  There was lots to see in the attic - insulation, ventilation, quality of the truss structure, the two HVAC units.  I climbed up, turned on the light and waited for my client and the supervisor.  He had started tagging along when I complimented him on the house.

Then I saw it.  My flashlight came across something I had never seen before in an attic.

It was a stamp.  Not a philatelic stamp.  These stamps aren't made for mailing.  It was a stamp placed on the wood sheathing by the manufacturer.  It read:

"This side should be installed up."

Now for me, that was a big Uh-oh!  I shined my light elsewhere.  More of the same.  A lot more of the same!    The stamps were everywhere!

Can you say, "Holy Moly Kingfish!"??

I pointed it out to my client.  I pointed it out to the supervisor.

That's why I was there, you should know.

My client looked puzzled.  The supervisor suddenly stopped beaming.

That's when the supervisor blew it.  He said, "Oh, those stamps don't mean anything..."

Given the seriousness of the moment, you should be proud to know I actually suppressed what could have been one really loud, long, bellowing, right-from-the-bottom-of-the-gut laugh.

My client is not a stupid man.  He was buying a house for $1.5 million!  He said, and you have to appreciate the logic here, "Then why are they on there?  Are there stamps on the other side that say, 'This side should be installed down'?"

No answer.  So I filled the void, "Yes."

That's why I was there, you should know.

As I looked at the supervisor, his eyes immediately diverted to his feet.  I think he was mad.  But mad at what?  Me?  My find?  That he was caught?  That I discovered something he didn't know about?  He has been on site for 120, 130 days or more.  I was there a couple of hours, a long morning really.  He didn't know?  Really?

I have to imagine that removing all those shakes, and sheathing, and not damaging any of those many trusses, then re-sheathing, re-tar papering and re-shingling (cutting and fitting all those shakes ... again), all the while not damaging or letting the weather damage anything inside, well, I have to imagine that it was quite an expensive fix. 

I have to imagine that my client was happy ... again.

That's why I was there, you should know.

My recommendation:  When you hire roofers, hire the ones who speak English, or can read.  If it was your house, which would you prefer?

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 19 commentsJay Markanich • February 18 2009 07:31PM

Comments

Somebody wasn't paying attention that day.  Somebody is not going to get paid.

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) over 10 years ago

This is a well written post.  How important was it that they be put on "this side up?"

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 10 years ago

Russ - I think it was more than one day!

Jennifer - I think all that left when they threw the baby out with the wash!

Barbara - with certain applications, particularly the "Eastern" style of cedar shakes installation, I understand that there are different glues on one side than the other.  One does not need to know anything really - just read the stamp!  The roofer was looking at the stamp that said the side he was standing on should be down...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

I'm shocked that the supervisor would make a comment about whether or not the stickers were needed.  Talk about an open invite for a lawsuit!  A good home inspector is worth his or her weight in gold.

Posted by Julie Cleland (Prudential California Realty) over 10 years ago

What a dope!  ( The supervisor..)

It could have been worse. At least it sounds like the house wasn't totally finished.

Just a thought...could the stamps be pulled off or washed off?  And if they can, what are the chances anyone other than you and your buyer would ever know?

That's a scary thought!

Posted by Lynda Hester (Prudential Georgia Realty - Rabun County, Ga.) over 10 years ago

Julie - I am no longer shocked by anything supervisors say!

Lynda - those stamps cannot be washed off.  They could, however, be spray painted out and made not legible.  That would be a lot of work, and dangerous work, but cheaper than replacing roofs.  It might be that doing that was that supervisor's next job...

This house was finished and this was the final walk through!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

What type of roofing material was it? Builders are only as good as their subs.

Posted by Frank Magdefrau, Certified Master Inspector (DeSoto Home Inspection Services) over 10 years ago

Good find!  Your client is a smart man to have such a good agent.  Bet the supervisor called you a few things under his breath!

Tina in Virginia

Posted by Tina Merritt, Virginia Real Estate (Nest Realty) over 10 years ago

Mr Jay,

I wish to correct you. A proper stamp is made for mailing. Perhaps you have not seen the one the US postal service dedicated to my uncle, Dew-berry-seed, more than ten years ago.

Nutsy, at the company computer

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Frank - the sheathing was 3/4" plywood to handle the load of the shakes and to hold the nails properly.  All the products were good, it was the installation that made for problems.

Tina - it was later that I said to the builder, who was mad at me, that he should hire roofers who can read or speak English.

Nutsy - that stamp and a 10 center beside, and you could ride again!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Picky Picky Picky. This side that side, what's in a side.  Hi Jay, was the stamp in multiple languages?  When you consider that only 2 words are necessary to make this job right, UP and DOWN, it seems a small thing to ask.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 10 years ago

Jack - you have to wonder if we aren't at the point of needing multiple languages for things like that.  As to sides, I sometimes get my fried onions on the side.  And to think of it, my wife often gets extra blue cheese dressing on the side... 

Common sense is gone.  Think about it - someone was on the roof looking at the stamp that said that side should be down!  Who knows, maybe they thought it should point down the slope of the roof or something.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Hi Jay - I always appreciate an inspector who is "up front" about issues he finds in a home.  The seller doesn't always like having issues pointed out but the inspection is intended to serve as a "protection" for the buyer.  Job well done!

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc.) over 10 years ago

Jon - thanks.  These stamps aren't seen anymore.  This was about the 1993 or 94 time frame and the plywoods used with Canadian cedar shakes was recommended to be one that had either a different ply, or glue or coating on the outside.  The stamp so indicated.  Some had the stamps on the down side and some did not.  Nonetheless, the stamp in those days was indicative of side.

Now the roofers are using a locally-made CDX,and even going 17/32" instead of what they used even 15 years ago, which was thicker.  But, such is the industry!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Once again, Jay, a very entertaining blog....

Maybe the installer thought "up" was for the inspector's point of view (after all, it was "up" from where you were veiwing it) ;)

Posted by Susan Gonzalez Faux painting murals atlanta (Marietta Mural & Decorative Design) over 10 years ago

Jay,

You ought to see if Nancy Sinatra would come out of the past and put some lyrics to that, like boots. Seems doable.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Susan - THAT is an angle I had not considered!  Leave it to a muralist to see a different point of view...

Steven - you are the only person so far to pick up on that!  I had that title in mind when I came up with this one - only I could not make it in the positive - These Stamps Are Made For...  couldn't figure out how to make it work. 

I thought about "Reading," and "Nailing."  But nothing really made the idea come alive.  So I went with "Aren't"...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Up, down, this side, that side, what's the difference. You put the nails in it and the wood things over it and wah lah, no water in the house. Every things good!

You got to wonder about what goes on when these kind of things happen.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 10 years ago

James - in this case, I think the fix was perty 'spensive...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 10 years ago

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