shoreline wa home inspectors: Playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"----with darts! - 12/04/10 03:21 AM
You never know when you are going to be called upon to play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”
So, while you are awaiting that call, it is best to line up partners so that you can be on the winning team.
I am sure we all have lists of such people----scratching names off every now and then as we find someone better.
NO?
You "protest" that you have no such list?
Well, I don’t either----but if I was going to start such a list I have found at least one person that would not be on it.

Of course … (22 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Are there really gofers in Seattle? - 11/08/10 01:11 AM
As a builder we always had someone on the job called “Gofer.”  You know the guy---that has to “gofer this” and “gofer that?”  As a worker, before starting my own business, I paid my dues as a gofer too.
One of the best gofer stories I remember is when I was being a gofer for my dad.  My Uncle Bob---who worked for my dad----sent one of the newest gofers (with less seniority than me) down to the local auto repair shop to get a muffler belt.  Another time is was to the hardware for ten pounds of 17 penny nails.
The … (38 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: The mysterious death of Mr. n’Dent! - 11/06/10 03:17 AM
Sometime when I wasn't paying attention----Mr. n’Dent died. 
How I could have missed this historic event is beyond me.  There was no announcement in the papers, or on the radio (if  it was on NPR I missed it)----and certainly not on TV.
How could this happen?
It seems there should have been at least some sort of obituary, or calling hours or SOMETHING!  But nothing----no place to send condolences to----or to send flowers to.  There was no favorite charity (like the Famous Writers School) named to send donations too.
Mr. n’Dent had a long, illustrious and useful career providing many … (36 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Makes me want to go take a nap in the sun. - 11/05/10 05:35 AM
     Cats and lying in the sun are almost synonymous.
     When the code changed to require more insulation in the walls of our homes, a result was that walls became thicker.  These thicker walls meant wider window sills----perfect for a cat to spread out on and bake in the sun for a while.

     On a recent inspection I noticed some dirt marks on the window sill that almost looked like the patterning of mold.  Nothing in the home would lead anyone to suspect mold but there it was.  It turned out that is was merely kitty footprints.
     … (24 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Reflections - 11/03/10 04:04 AM
     It is easy to feel separate from the things around us---from other people-----from the whole world.  It takes a lot of work and courage to see how interconnected everything is.  There is even a worldwide movement that sees the earth as a superorganism where humans are but a part of the whole organism----some might argue a cancer the way we act at times.
     The total degree to just how interconnected we all are may be outside the grasp of the mind’s current state of evolution.  Add to that the various pressures to deny interconnectedness and some people can live … (16 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Nothing weighty here----just a matter of scales----and keeping your underwear on. - 11/01/10 03:57 AM
     How many homes have scales in them?
     There are none in mine----unless you count the postage scale.
     With so many people watching their weight, or needing to watch their weight, I guess it should be no surprise that lots of homes have scales in them.
     But why are they almost always in the bathroom?
     Sometimes they are even called “bathroom scales!”
     Is there some kind of metaphor about “excess” or “getting-rid-of” or “shedding”----or something else I am missing?
     Perhaps it is private in the bathroom and one can be naked with one’s self image.  … (32 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: There are almost always GHOSTS in your ductwork! - 10/31/10 02:28 AM

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shoreline wa home inspectors: When was the last time you looked at yours? - 10/29/10 01:49 AM
     Grey water.
     Sounds appetizing doesn’t it?  Water that drains from your kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, laundry sink, dishwasher, and clothes washer is considered “grey water.”  In other words----not quite as nasty as the "brown water" that drains from toilets.
     A leak from either can be nasty but not quite as bad as leaks from toilet drains can be.  If you have to pick a type to leak for 30 years into your crawl space, you would want to pick grey water.  For example a leak from a kitchen sink drain.  The resultant crud that would end up in … (24 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: This is 911----what is your emergency? - 10/22/10 01:02 AM
     Inspectors are always harping on not letting vegetation get too close the home.  In Washington State it is considered a conducive condition for wood destroying organisms and insects and must be reported on by Licensed Home Inspectors and Licensed Structural Pest inspectors.

     It also creates pathways for rodents into the structure.  In many homes if rodents can get to the gutters of your home they can find a way into the roof structure----or make a way of their own.
     Vegetation can also affect electrical wires running to the home.
     Another thing that vegetation can do is … (19 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley - 10/21/10 01:42 AM
     When I was inspecting the outside of the house I didn’t think too much about this planter on the edge of the walkway.  Looked pretty much like a planter on the edge of the walkway.  What do you think?

     When I was inspecting the interior and got to the teenage boy’s room at this location----and saw the dirt and foot prints on the window sill I realized this planter was actually stairs----disguised as a planter. 
     Now I couldn’t tell whether this was to let the girlfriend in the window, or for him to get out the window … (32 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Well, how does that float your boat? - 10/17/10 03:54 AM
     As a Licensed Structural Pest Inspector, the inspection of House Boats for conditions conducive to wood destroying organisms almost seems like an oxymoron.  And yet the few that I have inspected, or worked on, have had no more issues with wood destroying organisms than other Pacific NW homes.

     It just isn’t logical that you could throw some logs in the water---chain them together---build a house on top----and not have any problems.  Some of the Seattle House boats have logs that are 100 years old----and still floating.  Many of the land-bound homes of Seattle, that are 100 years old, … (22 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Why are there gutters inside my attic? - 10/15/10 04:40 AM
     Being an old New England Yankee myself, I always recognize “ingenuity” when I see it----no matter how misguided.  Back in the days when the term was coined it most likely meant something “positive.”  Today the “genius” root of the word often seems to be missing.
     Take a look at this fairly typical chimney on a Seattle home.  One of the most unusual things to notice, right of the bat, is how straight it is---given that it is an older home. 

     This is likely an indication that at some point the chimney was re-built.  I don’t like … (28 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: If my house "MELTS" your house----is that a problem? - 10/14/10 03:11 AM
     It is usually pretty easy when I am inspecting homes, and I come across problems, to simply recommend what needs to be done to remedy the problem.  Even if the problem requires “further evaluation” by some other professional----at least there is some kind of answer/resolution/repair than can be performed to resolve the issue.
     For the most part a house is an assemblage of concrete, wood, drywall, doors, windows, electrical components, heating components, plumbing components, insulation, interior finishes and roofing materials.  All of these components are assembled in a logical, coherent, and systematic way. 
     When they are not-----well … (38 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Did you find any "time" under your kitchen sink? - 10/10/10 05:00 AM
     When you have two sinks in your kitchen, it doubles your blog fodder----or more!
     Like the hands on a clock, going round and round, the revolving shelve under my second kitchen sink can be seen as a reminder that you only have one more week and a day to get your posts entered in the “Proof that I can blog about anything!”Contest.

 
     All the rules can be found by clicking on the Old Bathroom Sink below.


Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
 
 
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shoreline wa home inspectors: I got a call the other day to inspect the “White House!” - 10/08/10 04:05 AM
     No---not THAT White House.  This was merely a house where every square inch of the unfinished basement was painted white.  By painted----I mean painted---not just a light dusting to sort of cover everything up.  It was more like it had been dipped in paint-----allowed to dry----and then dipped in paint again. 
     Now I have seen unfinished basements painted before, but this was closer to a work of art----without a gap showing anywhere----nothing bleeding through----just clean crisp white.  The Beatles would have been impressed.



     The fact that it makes ancient wiring even more dangerous should … (24 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Would you sign little Tommy House’s Report Card? - 10/07/10 03:17 AM
     I frequently get questioned from both buyers and their agents as to whether the house “passed” inspection----as if we give the house some sort of passing grade or failing grade.
     When we look to the inspector to pass or fail the house we may miss the entire purpose of the Home Inspection. 
     Information----simple as that. 
     Every buyer will take that information and make it fit with their dreams or not.  Will it “pencil out” or not----it always comes down to “money” doesn’t it?  How does what the inspector finds affect the dream?  Does it … (30 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: A Room With A View----always sunny in Seattle! - 10/03/10 04:14 AM
      Everyone wants a room with a view don’t they?
     On a recent inspection the neighboring house----an older home in a gentrifying neighborhood----was VERY close to the building I was inspecting.  Did I say it was VERY close?  This modern building had a concrete block wall on one due to the proximity to the neighboring house.  This is how buildings are constructed in any densely developed downtown areas where the buildings are stacked right up against each other----to provide a fire barrier between the two structures.

     Before the new building was built, the people in the neighboring house---the … (30 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: Ants know how to Party-down! - 10/02/10 02:23 AM
     In the NW, the Home Inspector, assuming they are a Licensed Structural Pest Inspector, had best be on the lookout for ants wandering around the exterior of the building----especially Carpenter Ants.  On a recent inspection of a building with EIFS siding (Synthetic Stucco), I noticed Carpenter Ants trailing along the sidewalk.  Following the trail I found where they were coming and going from the building at a hole under some door trim.  Note the Carpenter Ant at the center of the picture.

     This is almost never going to be a good thing and I made a mental note … (20 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: To B-Vent or not to B-Vent----that is the question! - 10/01/10 03:43 AM
     A couple of weeks ago I had a soccer game at a local high school where I saw an "interesting" B-Vent pipe running up the side of the gymnasium.  I didn’t have my camera with me, and I could have kicked myself in the head----as it is totally out of character to not have it with me.  You just never know when blog fodder is going to show up. 
     I knew my next game was at the same field so I made a mental note to bring my camera with me the next time.
     Now I know … (27 comments)

shoreline wa home inspectors: A Dozen Essentials for a Smooooooth Home Inspection - 09/30/10 02:36 AM
     For some time now I have wanted to put together a long list of all the things that a seller should consider doing to get their home ready for the home inspection.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized my list was starting to look more like my 90,000 item report template, than a “to-do” list for a seller to get ready for the inspection.
     And then I got to thinking----if sellers actually did all those things then I wouldn’t have a job!  Well, I don’t “really” believe that---based on what I know about how things … (91 comments)

 
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) Ambassador large

Charles Buell

Seattle Home Inspector

Seattle, WA

More about me…

Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

Address: Shoreline, 17123 22nd Ave NE, Shoreline (Seattle), WA, 98155

Office: (206) 478-7371

Mobile: (206) 478-7371

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My blog is intended to provide information related to home inspections in Seattle, surrounding communities and anyone else interested. Sometimes I will provide information that has nothing to do with home inspections. Enjoy! Google+
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