improper installation: Improper Attic Access Ladder Installation - 06/14/16 08:09 PM
I see it all the time, on new construction and old - improper attic access ladder installation.
Attic access ladders span the distance between ceiling and floor.  That distance can vary - 8, 9, 10, and even more feet.
Attic access ladders have to hold weight!  Individuals climbing and descending and things they are carrying up and down can weigh a lot!  The ladder itself needs to be able to support that, and attic access ladders are rated for weight loads.
And … (6 comments)

improper installation: An Attic Access Ladder Simply MUST Be Properly Installed - 09/10/13 09:00 PM
An attic access ladder simply MUST be properly installed.  That's why there are such specific manufacturer instructions that comes with every one.
The ceiling to enter the attic can range from 8' in some houses, to 10' feet in others.  In a garage the attic can be 12' or 15' high.
Even 8' is a long way to fall if the ladder assembly comes loose from its mounting.
I see a dangerous attic access ladder nearly every week.  And the installation instructions are right there, with a sticker placed on the door, with bold, large lettering!  Some lettering is in red! 

improper installation: A Pre-drywall Or Final Inspection Might Have Helped! - 07/15/13 09:24 PM
When I see problems like this I can only think that a pre-drywall or final inspection might have helped!
During inspections sometimes things don't sound right.  Once is information, two is very interesting and three times is a pattern.
On this inspection the first bathroom vent sounded funny.
The second bathroom vent sounded the same, and made me mention it.
The third also sounded the same as the first two, and the toilet paper test (turning on the fan to see if there is enough air drawn out to stick the toilet paper to the vent cover) failed.
Returning to the … (37 comments)

improper installation: Electrical Hidden Treasures! - 05/19/13 10:31 PM
On two successive inspections I encountered electrical hidden treasures! 
One house was remodeled recently and the other decades ago!
The house on the left had a new kitchen arrangement, including cabinets.
I tripped one of the kitchen GFI receptacles and heard it trip. 
But could not locate it anywhere.
Inside, outside, behind the fridge, it was no where to be found!
Not to be deterred we looked further.

Behold and lo, there it was, in the new pantry cabinet, behind the food!
A well-hidden treasure!
Feeling better, we moved on!
The last one was a house that had been … (51 comments)

improper installation: Electrical Wiring Sheathing Color Is Relevant And Important - 03/06/13 08:01 PM
I have to wonder if most homeowners, and/or home do-it-yourselfers, and/or "professional" contractors (!) know that electrical wiring sheathing color is relevant and important.
The question is asked because so often I see outdoor wiring that uses incorrect wiring, or is not protected properly, such as with a conduit.
Take this wiring attached to this deck.
We see two colors, gray and white.
This location is wrong no matter what the color - it is right beside a staircase, exposed to weather and sunlight, and the connectors are made for indoors.
As to color, gray wiring is made to be used … (39 comments)

improper installation: After All The Inspections And County Approvals, The Shower Won't Drain - 02/22/13 06:59 PM
Can you guess from the title that after all the inspections and County approvals, the shower won't drain.
Something plumbing happens on new construction inspections more often than I can mention.
Certainly one of the things during a new construction inspection is to see if all the plumbing works properly.
This is the master bathroom shower stall.
I ran the shower for a while, along with the other components, all at the same time.
Doing that not only tests them for function, but also the water pressure.
In this case the shower did not drain.
So I left it for a … (23 comments)

improper installation: Isn't A Front Porch Roof Heavy? How Should It Be Attached? - 01/27/13 06:34 PM
I like a front porch on a house, which usually has its own roof.  But, isn't a front porch roof heavy?  How should it be attached?
Compared to Mother Nature's power, a front porch roof weighs very little.  It should be attached such that it is a part of the structure of the house.
This porch is about 20' long, with its own roof.
The roof structure is such that a porch swing could be installed and the porch could be used for sitting or relaxing.
It is done right in that it extends off the end of the house, so … (45 comments)

improper installation: Just The Gaps, Ma'am, Just The Gaps - 11/29/12 07:03 PM
Sometimes the obvious is so obvious it is overlooked.  When people call for inspections, in this case a one-year warranty inspection, they know there are problems with the house.  Often I write down a list of things they see as problems, and listen to their descriptions of problems.
One problem in this house was moisture on the floor behind a large TV stand.  They said to me, "It's at ground level.  How can water be coming in?" 
Water flows up, usually, and not down, right?  No wait, that's not it.
A quick look outside revealed just where this water might be … (64 comments)

improper installation: You Can ONLY See This Kind Of Thing PRE-DRYWALL - 2 of 3 - 08/15/12 05:41 PM
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)

improper installation: Faux Stone Might Become The New EIFS - 2 - 03/29/12 07:47 PM
Faux stone may become the new EIFS - 2*.  This is a follow-up to a previous post.
When I see a house with faux or cultured stone installed, I look around and point things out to the buyers. 
On my inspection report, I include language which looks something like this:
" Faux stone siding is found on this house and cannot be viewed except from outdoors and examining the wall structure underneath for damage or rot is not possible without destructive testing.  Improper faux stone installation can cause serious damage.
Specific problems noted with the visible components can include, but may … (47 comments)

improper installation: Prone To Less Sediment - 03/12/12 09:38 PM
This sediment trap may be prone to less sediment.  For sure it is prone!
Gas appliances should have a sediment trap.
There are various nicknames for the technique, but we'll go with that one.
The sediment trap is the vertical, downward protrusion under the gas line.  It's purpose is to capture sediment or moisture in the gas before it gets into the mechanism to be burned.
OK, this one is on the wrong side of the gas valve, but that was the point of another post!
Sometimes I run into things I have not seen before.
It isn't unusual - I … (16 comments)

improper installation: When Faux Stone Is Installed With Faux Glue - Elmer's? - 01/18/12 10:15 PM
We all know Elmer's Glue should not be used to install most housing products, but what really happens when faux stone is installed with faux glue?
Actually faux stone is not installed with glue at all, but a mortar-based mastic.  It is heavy stuff!
Virtually all over this house the faux stone was coming loose.
Some of it was sagging so much, it was bulging under its own weight.
I could push on it and move it.I could pull on it and move it.
My client said, "That's really bad … (54 comments)

improper installation: "Upgraded And Modernized" - 11/27/11 08:47 PM
The house was built in the 60s but the HVAC system was "upgraded" in the 90s.  And the feature list said, "Not just the system, but the duct work was modernized."
If the system was replaced in the 90s is may have been upgraded but it is due again.  But that wasn't my problem!
As to the duct work, modernized would have meant that the smaller, metal ducts would have been replaced with something larger and insulated.  That would be good news and would not be due again for a newer system.
Unfortunately, four of the six modernized ducts looked like … (33 comments)

improper installation: Slipping Insulation - 11/26/11 09:54 PM
One VERY IMPORTANT thing I do on a one-year warranty inspection is sweep the house with my thermal camera to see if there is slipping insulation.
It is important to do this because the camera can definitively determine if the insulation has actually slipped.  Done before the warranty is expired puts the fix back in the builder's lap.
But be careful.  Some "one-year" warranties expire in 11 months!  That's a another little trick employed in recent times.  So check your contract carefully before you hire a home inspector. 
These are two different views of the same room.  It is the fourth … (39 comments)

improper installation: A Sump Pump Should Be Anti-Septic! - 11/13/11 05:42 AM
When it comes to sump pumps, a sump pump should be anti-septic!
Now what do I mean by that?
A sump pump should always discharge outdoors, and away from the house. 
But when a house has a septic system, instead of public plumbing, a sump pump should NEVER discharge into the septic tank.  Here in VA it is not allowed to discharge into the public sewage system either, but that is another story.
There was so much to comment on with this sump pump.  Some of it is not visible in either picture.
For example, it is plugged into an extension … (36 comments)

improper installation: Flipper Forgot Step Two! - 10/16/11 09:48 PM
Sometimes the job isn't done until it's done!  Some things take more than one step and this time Flipper forgot Step Two!
Step One was to install a new water heater.
And it was done well - there are a few things to look for and they were present.
Okay, it was small and really inefficient, but new!
Well, he used the old plumbing, including the gas shut-off valve being on the wrong side of the sediment trap, but we've already had that lesson.
You can see that's been there for a while!
Would he take the time to replumb the … (46 comments)

improper installation: A New Staircase Isn't Always A Stairway To Heaven - 10/02/11 10:28 PM
Sometimes new things impress buyers as they walk around a house, and very often a new staircase isn't always a stairway to heaven.
The deck has been there a while. 
The stairs have not.
There are buyers who're sure, all that glitters is gold,But they're not buying a stairway to heaven.Oooh, they're not buying a stairway to heaven.
The building code limits the maximum stair tread height at 7 3/4".  BUT THE RISER HEIGHT SHOULD BE UNIFORM.
There are reasons for this code.
When walking up stairs the brain remembers the height of each. 
When things vary it is easier to … (20 comments)

improper installation: One Day, Two Houses and Two DIYs By The Same Guy? - 07/06/11 11:23 PM
Throughout the post, there is a hint of what home inspectors don't like to see during an inspection.  This hint appears 7 times and is in bold print.  See if you can find it.
As we know, heat that exhausts from something typically wants to go UP.  It does so because typically cooler temperatures are UP and heat seeks cold.  That's physics.
You and I are not qualified to change physics.  Neither is the DIY guy.  I affectionately refer to DIY guys as Uncle Bob.  The reason is that so often DIY jobs are the same, yet in different places and … (23 comments)

improper installation: There MUST Be Continuity For Load Transfer - Danger, Danger, Danger! - 06/30/11 01:23 AM
There is almost never an inspection on new construction that does not stir up a bees hive!  So often I run into things that I KNOW an architect did not design.  It is the supervisor and subcontractors on site that are very, very relevant to the final product people buy and end up living in.
Nice house.  Pretty porch arrangement.  That upper veranda comes off of the master bedroom.  Very nice porch.
Very unusually, I could see the underside of the upper porch from the front stoop.  There was no covering. 
And in that underside I could see how two of … (15 comments)

improper installation: Please, Box It Up For Me - 06/14/11 12:21 AM
For a few months the lights on our thirteen-year-old wall oven would flicker each time the oven was used.  I didn't know what it meant, but suspected an electrical problem.  Was it the unit, the computer board, connections? 
Then during a baking session one of the elements exploded in sparks in the upper oven!  I looked into it and I could replace the element for around $50.  The lower oven still worked, but the same flickering was occurring.
We have been in this house thirteen years.  We built it new. 
Disgustedly I have had to replace every single appliance in … (52 comments)

Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) Rainmaker large

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bristow, VA

More about me…

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Address: Bristow VA 20136

Office: (703) 330-6388

Mobile: (703) 585-7560

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An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.




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