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The Builder Says A Washing Machine Drip Pan Doesn't Catch Leaks Anyway - 08/31/12 04:12 AM
Are drip pans under washing machines, or water heaters, or HVAC mechanisms on upper floors important? In this house, the builder says a washing machine drip pan doesn't catch leaks anyway. If not, then why are they used everywhere else? When I see a laundry room on an upper level, and in this house it is on the middle level, I always look to see what's underneath it. Sometimes when there is an unfinished area underneath the builder does not put a pan under a laundry room. Does the code require it? No. Nor does this county. But what about common (89 comments)
Redskins Game Visit - 08/30/12 03:38 AM
Scoring some really good tickets to the final Redskin pre-season game, we arrived early enough to see some warm ups and have a nice meal. Only the "older" set would wear the Number 9. That is former quarterback Sonny Jurgensen's jersey and number. The first team did not play. The second (and/or third) team played reasonably well. The team looked much sharper, to me, than in past years at this time. There will have to be some difficult decisions to be made. And we had a lot of fun! We'll see how the season goes! Oh, the Redskins won, 30 - (17 comments)
Top To Bottom - 08/29/12 02:42 AM
It is said that a home inspector looks at a house from top to bottom. And that is certainly true. Often what is happening on top can be manifest at the bottom! Why? Gravity and things, like water, flow downhill. So when I saw a couple of roof problems, part of the manifestation of those problems was visible in the front of the house. My client asked if what we saw here could be causing a problem indoors. "Certainly!" I said. "We'll look." You know what? We looked! Merely 10' away from this problem, in the corner of the room under (25 comments)
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 28 August 2012 - 08/28/12 04:52 AM
"Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." Pericles (495-425 BC) His name meant "surrounded by glory." And he was. Pericles was a very respected statesman, orator and general in ancient Athens. Pericles was also a proponent of education and was such a proponent of and participant in Athenian democracy that he was pejoratively called a "populist." Athenian democracy demanded that citizens participate. And they did, in large percentages. Even still, the percentage of the population that actually participated in politics and voting was about 20%. But to be a citizen (18 comments)
"Kitchen Fan Comes As Is." The New Normal. - 08/27/12 03:55 AM
Sometimes on listing information it will mention something like, "Kitchen fan comes as is." That's a tip it doesn't work. In this case they could have said, "Or isn't, as the case may be ... whatever." This is The New Normal. I was exceptionally amused when I saw the "kitchen fan." And this apparently happened some time ago! They were using the range with things in this condition! Now, before you say there is no kitchen fan, and you might be right, there is a kitchen exhaust! What, you say? YES! THAT FLAP LEADING TO THE OUTSIDE STILL OPENS! SO YOU (25 comments)
There Is Only One Way To Check Up On Builder Insulation Claims - 08/26/12 04:17 AM
Often the R-value of insulation is touted by builders and there is only one way to check up on builder insulation claims. You have to look. I measure it! How does insulation work? Insulation blocks or traps air. R-value, or resistance value, expresses the thermal resistance of the material used. The material blocks the passage of heat toward the cooler place. Heat seeks cold. Every insulation material has a resistance value attached. And they differ per inch! R-value is calculated by multiplying the material's stated resistance value per inch by its depth. (That's the easy way. There are ways using division, (18 comments)
You Know It's Going To Be A Fun Inspection When ... - 08/25/12 03:33 AM
You know it's going to be a fun inspection when ... The first thing you see is not quite correct! So, did the boys cut and install a floor register that is too big? Or, did the boys simply buy and install the wrong sized register covers? How about a quiz? Pick any that might apply: 1. This is an upgrade. It's a laundry chute for GI Joe or Barbi & Ken clothing.2. There is nothing amiss here. Keep going about your inspection. Everything is fine. (Jedi mind trick)3. The register cover is made to slide left and right depending on (28 comments)
"Shouldn't The Door On My House Be Like The One In The Model?" - 08/24/12 04:24 AM
In this case "Shouldn't the door on my house be like the one in the model?" was the question, but anything could have been substituted for the word "door." Unless the contract stipulates differently, I think what comes in the model should be the example of what comes with another house. I think the quality of work that is done on the model should be the example of the quality of work that comes with another house. FYI - this same door in the model home was large, metal and had two difficult-to-manage handles controlling a substantial locking mechanism built into (43 comments)
Stopping Air Flow With Spray Foam - A Best Practice! - 08/23/12 02:51 AM
I see this very seldom - stopping air flow with spray foam - a best practice! Slowly builders are coming around to the idea that spray foam over the rim joist helps a whole lot toward controlling temperatures between floors. After all, the area between the floor and ceiling is a space that is typically not insulated. Rim joists are insulated, but, in my opinion, badly, with a small piece of fiberglass poorly fitted into the space. Air infiltration is common and poorly managed. Since that area is so large, not controlling the temperatures in there will do a lot to (20 comments)
A Builder Anticipating Future Electrical Usage - As A Best Practice - 08/22/12 01:28 AM
It is always good when I see a builder anticipating future electrical usage - as a best practice. One thing home inspectors run into is under-powered electrical supply in a house. Older wiring often isn't sufficient for modern electrical needs. Codes have changed to reflect this, but what is in an older house is in an older house. I do a lot of new construction inspections. Recently I did an inspection on a fairly large home that had one gas furnace, a gas cook top, and a gas fireplace. The rest was electric - water heater, dryer, double wall oven, lower-level (28 comments)
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 21 August 2012 - 08/21/12 03:31 AM
"The best guarantee against all exploitation is the market." Henri LepageFrench Economist This is a simple statement. It is also a bold statement. Any time you use the word all, or never, you are probably in trouble. But think about this. ALL exploitation? Exploitation is taking advantage of another in a more vulnerable state. If someone is willing to do anything, or take any job, to make money, one would suspect that exploitation could be the natural result. Vulnerabilities make it possible that exploitation can happen between individuals, businesses and even markets. Can people take advantage of others really? When freedom (16 comments)
This Must Be Considered "Finished Carpentry" On Some New Construction - 08/20/12 03:06 AM
At this point in my career as a home inspector I like to say that I am continually amazed but seldom surprised. This must be considered "finished carpentry" on some new construction. HOW UNFORTUNATE. There is laminate flooring throughout the house. Looking like hardwood flooring, it must be treated as such when the finished carpentry is done. Trim and molding needs to be set right. Things should fit together attractively. FINISHED CARPENTRY SHOULD LOOK FINISHED. Most of the doors in this house looked like this. This is the left side of the master bathroom door. The room is set up such (26 comments)
Really, Is It So Important To Follow The Manufacturer's Instruction? - 08/19/12 04:33 AM
I wonder how often this is said by "contractors" - "Really, is it so important to follow the manufacturer's instruction?" Or, "I have been doing it this way for 20 years..." The answer to the former is yes, and the answer to the latter is - SO WHAT! On this new construction the manufacturers' stickers were present on most everything. This is the sticker on the pull-down attic staircase. This sticker is approximately 12"x12". It is right in your face when the stairs are pulled down and hard to miss. It has various installation instructions. Even diagrams! Most notably, for the (23 comments)
You Can ONLY See This Kind Of Thing PRE-DRYWALL - 3 of 3 - 08/18/12 03:49 AM
This is the last of a small series of three posts called you can ONLY see this kind of thing PRE-DRYWALL. Pre-drywall inspections are essential to the building process and this is being realized by more and more buyers. One of the reasons these folks bought this house was the master bedroom design. It takes up almost 1/2 of the upper level! The sleeping area is large, with an attached, and large, sitting area. The sitting area is down two steps from the sleeping area. Separating these two rooms is a gas fireplace. It can be seen from both sides. They (13 comments)
You Can ONLY See This Kind Of Thing PRE-DRYWALL - 2 of 3 - 08/16/12 12:41 AM
Truly, you can ONLY see this kind of thing PRE-DRYWALL. This is the second of three posts, all on the same house. Staircases are very important. They typically have their own structure, which is a "balloon" structure, and it can extend from the basement all the way to the upper level. The stairs themselves are typically manufactured elsewhere, and brought to the site to be installed where the plans direct. Stairs can carry a lot of weight at one time - either from people or belongings. How they are attached to the structure around them is very, very important. This is (32 comments)
You Can ONLY See This Kind Of Thing PRE-DRYWALL - 1 of 3 - 08/15/12 06:51 AM
You can ONLY see this kind of thing pre-drywall. This is post 1 of 3 posts. I am often asked by clients why a pre-drywall inspection should be done. After all, the supervisor is there every day and the County (or other local jurisdiction) will also do inspections. That is true, but they don't do what I do, nor do they look at what I look at. And, sometimes, I find things the builders likely know about but do nothing about it. Take, for example, this triple micro-laminate beam. Micro-laminate beams are very strong. Tripling them is extremely strong. A triple (32 comments)
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 14 August 2012 - 08/14/12 04:16 AM
"Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it." Will Rogers (1879 - 1935) A man of many hats, Will Rogers was best known for his humorous, and sometimes caustic, quips and one liners. He did a little bit of everything, giving him a broad experience and circumspect view of life. From being a gaucho, to Vaudevillian, movie actor and radio broadcaster, for decades he entertained with his personality and style. Never one to back away from a controversial statement, even though he backed FDR and the New Deal (which was really Hoover's old deal wrapped (18 comments)
How To Choose A Home Inspector - 08/13/12 05:11 AM
So, does the buying public know about how to choose a home inspector? How would YOU go about choosing a home inspector? One very common way is email. I happen to know this to be true. Think about it - does email seem like a good way to interview anybody? A doctor or dentist? A school administrator? A new boss? How about a plumber? It takes a lot of time by email, and the answers are likely not very complete! IF IT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE EMAIL IS A SOLID METHOD TO INTERVIEW THEM, THEN WHY WOULD IT BE THE PREFERRED METHOD (54 comments)
I Happen To Love SPAM - What's Wrong With The World? - 08/12/12 04:36 AM
I happen to love SPAM - what's wrong with the world? Things are getting way, way out of whack. SPAM is a wonderful food. The word itself is wonderful! It's a contraction of two words - Spicy and Ham! Contract the two and get SPAM! My first introduction to SPAM was when I was 11 years old and on my first Boy Scout camping trip. Seeing it cooking on the campfire griddle it smelled a lot like ham. But I didn't know what it was. They explained to me, teasing of course, that it was made up of everything on (41 comments)
Even On Vacation I Am Doing Inspections - I Can't Help It! - 08/11/12 04:00 AM
Yesterday I returned from my annual 3 day vacation. We go to the water and I merely float all day amid crashing waves. Far enough out to not get crashed, but to excite the lifeguard, I do absolutely nothing but think. We stay at a little boutique hotel, family run, with a kitchenette and a door and patio to the beach. We have to reserve it well in advance. One other thing I do while there is talk with people. I talk to everybody. I speak with the employees. I speak with the owners. And I find out stuff. Sometimes I (31 comments)
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 7 August 2012 - 08/07/12 03:19 AM
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand." Milton Friedman (1912 - 2006) In honor of "Uncle Miltie's" 100th birthday, we salute him by using one of his most sarcastic quotes! But, what do YOU think? Is it true? Is there much "taken over" by the bureaucrats that is not later unrecognizable? Would not the Sahara Desert "taken over" by the bureaucrats not later be unrecognizable? What causes shortages? It is simple supply and demand. When demand exceeds supply there are shortages. Certainly. So how do we get (58 comments)
Not All Paints Are Meant For Every Application! - 08/05/12 05:26 AM
Again, I see something that I can't verify, but don't trust to the point of having to flag it. Not all paints do the same job! Not all paints are meant for every application! Often, very often, I see the insides of wood-burning fireplaces painted black. That includes the big masonry fireplaces, and the smaller metal ones with the small, concrete firewalls. In this case it is the enclosed metal fireplace with the sectional firewall inserts. Who ever did this was thinking, "I see a concrete wall and I want it painted black...." Yes, there had to be some singing involved. (23 comments)
Everyone Likes To Pull Apart The Wishbone - 08/03/12 04:19 AM
Everyone likes to pull apart the wishbone. And I am no exception. Like most people I love to pull apart the wishbone. So, after enjoying most of the meal, I looked around the finally found the wishbone. It was cute! No longer attached to the larger member on top, it would have been easily removed. I guess the chef in this case used some string to hold the bird together. I only needed to remove the string holding it up, break the bones from their connections on the bottom, and wham, bam, I would have a wishbone to break! Needing the (21 comments)
A Young Hostess Enjoys Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day - 08/02/12 03:47 AM
My daughter is a hostess (among the other jobs she does) at this Chick Fil-A. Her boss, "Mr. Mike," hired her to help him create RAVING FANS. He does not want patrons, he wants raving fans to come back and come back and come back. Yesterday was Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day. My daughter was scheduled to work. The previous evening they called her to work a couple more hours than usual. She agreed. Before the store opened for breakfast the line was crazy! They ran out of breakfast stuff around 10am (and they had more breakfast food stocked up than normal). (36 comments)
The Grand Canyon - 08/01/12 03:13 AM
So to speak. No, not THAT Grand Canyon. But certainly a good reminder of how THE Grand Canyon was formed. Water and time! Erosion! Incline and slope in one direction. Water and time! In this case I walked around the rear corner of a house to see a slope in the rear corner of the lot that went directly to the house. Thinking that might be an issue I went further and saw this. It's a gorgeous guardrail! Gorgeous maybe, but, um, 1. There is no deck on this house, so where did it come from? 2. I confess to never, (29 comments)
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