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bellingham property inspection: Attic Venting (King of the House) Bellingham, WA Real Estate Inspections - 04/29/12 09:02 AM
In the Pacific Northwest, we have lots of precipitation and moisture. Since those of us who live here realize that, you would think that houses would be built in a manner that makes them resistant to moisture problems. It is amazing to me how many houses in our climate have roofs with poor to no drainage and poor or missing gutters or downspouts that empty next to the house. Another problem, maybe not as intuitive to understand, is the case of the under ventilated attic. General guidelines for building state that attics should be ventilated. Around here that venting, usually, consists (7 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Active Rain Can Be The Power In Your Veins - 08/21/08 10:24 PM
It is with reluctance that I write this blog. I consider some of the information to be bordering on proprietary, so I will write around that. If you belong to Active Rain, never take this site for granted. Work in the rain, tend to your crop in the rain, and the rain will richly reward you with a bumper crop. I see blogs from new people who state that they received their first business contact from Active Rain. I have a confession -- Active Rain is the power in my search engine optimization. Two years ago, I had a nice little website for (66 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Botched Up At the End - 02/22/08 12:29 PM
Inspectors see any number of decks. Some are well built. In this wet climate, we like to see the structure built out of pressure treated lumber and concrete piers that isolate wood from soil. As the composite deckings get better looking, to look much like wood, they are becoming more common. Even though these materials are good, weather-resistant decking, many people who install the material do not follow the manufactureer's installation guidelines -- which are quite specific. The manufacturer's define where you can, or cannot, use the material and also the distance to centers (joist spacing) is important and depends on (2 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Mount Baker Home Inspector (King of the House): Uncontrolled Runoff Water - 02/22/08 12:12 PM
There is a tendency, when homes or cabins are at alpine regions, to ignore the runoff water from the roof. That means, they do not bother installing gutters and downspouts. The argument against them, by those who do not install them, is that the gutters can be bent, damaged or torn off the home by accumulated snow and ice. The other side of it is that, when no gutters are installed, rain runs off the roof to the soil below and then splashes up against the siding. Below is a photo of a gutter at an alpine home. Fact is, it was not snow (1 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Bellingham Home Inspection (King of the House): Coffee And A Light - 02/22/08 12:19 AM
I saw a recent blog about can-lights written by Charles Buell. He was explaining the finer points of can-lights, inspecting can-lights, and can-light safety. In the comments, he and another AR member were talking about safety features found in some can-lights -- that cause them to shutdown if the bulb is overrated for the fixture and they get too hot. This discussion tickled my memory gland and I remembered a photo I took at an inspection. Whoever put in this can-light, he took the term very literally. It really was a can-light, by Folgers as I recall. You can just see the (2 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Bellingham Home Inspector (King of the House) -- Two Problems, One Attic - 02/21/08 04:48 PM
This is an interesting photo in that there are two problems, or at least possible problems. The knob and tube wiring, which had been modified in various places, is the most obvious problem. Some insurance companies will still cover knob and tube wiring (with a higher premium) but many of the most affordable insurance companies will not even consider insuring a house with knob and tube wiring. A primary risk is fire, and also the system has no equipment ground. The other possible issue in the photo is vermiculite attic insulation. It could be okay, but based on the age of the (2 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Whatcom County Home Inspections (King of the House): Scenes From This Old House - 02/21/08 10:54 AM
This Old House -- a famous song and a famous expression. As a home inspector, I see lots of old houses. The one below was a classic example of a 100 year old plus farm house that had been built and lived in over all those years. The modifications and repairs were not always, in fact seldom, done right and the maintenance had fallen by the wayside over the years as well. Sometimes people ask: "Why would someone pay an inspector money to report on such obvious problems?" I do not always have a good answer for that. With many homes the problems are subtle enough that it takes (5 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Home Inspection: It's All About Straightening The Pictures On The Wall - 02/17/08 05:22 PM
The title of this blog is deceptive, down right silly -- if you know anything about the scope of a home inspection. Silly as that title above might be, it is apparent to any working inspector that some naive sellers are under the false impression that the home inspector comes to a house to do something as menial as performing a quick visual scan looking for any crooked pictures on the wall. I describe this to others as "people having a mistaken belief that we inspectors are there to pull out a torpedo level and put it on the picture frames to see which ones are cockeyed". Seriously, I am (40 comments)
I know an individual who, sarcastically and with a smirk, makes fun of duct tape repairs. Can you imagine that -- making sport of the greatest repair miracle cure of the past 100 years. It is a product well known around the world, and in Canada too. This same person is a stickler for doing things by the book, as in following manufacturer's guidelines. Well, in doing some research the other day I found a product, a high quality product, where the official manufacturer's repair specifies the use of none other than duct tape. So, how do you like them apples Mr. Anti-Duct (10 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Big, Mean, Nasty Termites: At Least They Are Not In Your House - 02/11/08 10:34 PM
As a home inspector, who also teaches a class in wood destroying organisms through the state college system in Washington State, I always take a camera along with me on hikes or vacations. I have some cool, and very illustrative, photos that I have taken of all kinds of wood problems, like classic cubical brown rot on wood in the famous city of Pompeii or wood that is in good shape and nearly 1000 years old from Bologna. However, I think that the one time I was really happy to have my camera was in the Yucatan of Mexico a few (5 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Garage and Appliance Safety - 02/11/08 09:39 AM
I would not say that this is a frequently seen problem on my inspections, but it certainly is not uncommon either. This is a new house and nobody bothered to put in a barrier to keep someone from accidentally running into the water heater. A metal bollard (post) should be put in front of furnaces and water heaters that are in the path of a vehicle and, therefore, might be clipped by drivers. Even careful drivers can have accidents and hold onto your hat with teenage drivers on premises. In some older installations, instead of the metal post, there might be a concrete (1 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Bellingham WA Property Inspection (King of the House): Shade On Me - 09/10/07 10:45 PM
While the two photos below are not from the same home, they are presented to make a point. The top photo gives a great example of the way people let trees smother a roof. This kind of vegetation, pretty much no matter what you do, will create additional stress on the roof. Needles and leaves end up in any roof valleys, in gutters, in and around roof and ridge vents -- just about anywhere they might land and stick. The other issue is the shade that the trees create. In the climate here in western Washington, that shade leads to fungal growth (4 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Bellingham Home Inspection (King of the House): Neglected Maintenance - 09/09/07 06:54 PM
At home inspections, sometimes at otherwise good houses, I am often surprised at the simple things that are easily corrected but were not dealt with by the seller. For example, the dirt will be piled on the siding near the gardens. The one maintenance issue that I see over and over again is heavy debris in the gutters. I have even seen debris in the gutters when the seller has told me that he cleaned them a few days before. Granted, some locales have more needles and organic material than others, but it is still apparent that the gutters were not (3 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Bellingham Home Inspection (King of the House Inc): A Common Appliance Problem - 09/09/07 05:55 PM
While it is not necessarily in the standards of practice, most inspectors do a limited inspection of appliances. From my experience, I find that one appliance problem seems to be the one that I see more often than the others. Some of the more common things I see are leaking food disposals and dishwashers, electric burners that do not operate, microwaves that had fires in them at one time, but the torn gasket on the refrigerator probably takes the cake. I talked to an appliance professional. He said that the cause of this is easy to figure. People store juice in (1 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Seeking Experienced Realtors: Zero Lot Lines - 09/09/07 04:03 PM
I would be interested to hear from some of you out there. In this area of the country where, historically we had lots of room, we did not have many, or any, zero lot line homes. Over the past few years a number of them have sprung up. I look upon them, at least usually, as a duplex cut right down the center. Here is my area of interest: In those I have inspected, the realtors involved, who have usually not sold many of these, have indicated to me that -- unlike condos -- the areas of responsibility are usually not well-defined. That (7 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Shifting Sands and Murky Waters: Condo Inspections - 09/09/07 03:43 PM
In my part of the country, we are seeing more and more condos. Often like the condo in the photos below, these condos afford residents spectacular water front views. A private homeowner frequently cannot afford a lot in such an area, but common ownership by all the unrelated parties makes it possible. Condos do present some complications for the home inspector. Those complications mainly have to do with areas of responsibility for repairs and what must be inspected. That might vary from state to state by the way. In this state, if there is a crawl space under the condo, a licensed inspector should (0 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Oh My Leaking Roof: Chimney Flashings - 09/09/07 12:58 AM
While I would not say it is unusual, it is also not all that common to be able to capture the photos below which go together so nicely and illustrate a point. Home inspectors see a multitude of problems with old metal chimney flashings. Often roofers do not help matters when putting on a new roof. They pry back the other flashings and install a new step flashing that goes under the shingles and up the sides of the chimney. They leave everything else the same and often try to push the old counter flashing, embedded in the chimney mortar, down (2 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Connecting those dots! - 09/08/07 05:57 PM
I was doing an inspection at a nice condo. Checked the dryer vent outside, or what I thought was the dryer vent, just to see if it had lint inside of it. Prior to looking, I had turned on the dryer. I was surprised to find that no warm, or cold, air was coming out the vent. I have seen this before, so looked down behind the dryer. Expected to find it was disconnected. It looked to be okay so I made a note to look carefully in the crawl space. Sure enough, I get in the crawl space and see (0 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Just To Prove I'm Not A Model A! - 09/08/07 03:23 PM
I recently wrote a blog explaining why I think there is limited validity to attempting to train serious home inspectors merely by supplying them with videos and Online courses. Now, I did not say that I do not think there is a place for modern technology in the training of inspectors. Much of our class at Bellingham Technical College relies on custom power point presentations. Also, for fun, I put together some time back a few simple Online tests that students take in class the first few days, or when they are considering taking the class, just to see what they know. If (0 comments)
bellingham property inspection: Bellingham WA Home Inspection (King of the House): Little Round Holes In The Logs - 09/06/07 11:11 PM
The photo below is something you prefer not to see at a log home. A log home, by its very nature, is more prone to possible problems with wood destroying insects and wood destroying organisms than most types of homes. The other problem is that it can be hard to impossible, based on the size of the logs, to know what is under the surface. The exit holes in the log, 1/8" in size and round are obviously from the anobiid beetle. This pest reinfests and, over time, can turn any home to a pile of gritty powder. A problem with (4 comments)
Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals.
Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.