insulation rvalue: "Why Do You Need To Check The Insulation? It's A New House." - 01/11/17 04:04 AM
"Why do you need to check the insulation?  It's a new house."  So asked the builder's supervisor.
The answer is simple - because a home inspector observes and reports a variety of things during a home inspection, whether the house is new or old.  And insulation is a HUGE part of that inspection.
So what was promised?
Virginia requires an insulation certificate for new construction.
It is to be provided by the insulation company verifying what they have done.
It lists the kind, weight (red arrow), and depth of the insulation.
The formula stated on this cert would obtain an R-44, shown in the red circle.
The stated … (9 comments)

insulation rvalue: In New Construction Buyers Should Be Asking For This Insulation - 10/03/16 08:30 PM
In new construction buyers should be asking for this insulation.
What insulation is that?
Mineral wool - old-school, batt, mineral wool insulation.  Why do I say old school?  Because it was first introduced in 1840, and used as a blown-in product in attics in the 50s and 60s.  It was displaced by fiberglass, unfortunately so in my opinion, as mineral wool looks to be the superior product.  And builders are coming back to it.
Why?
For many reasons, and all of them good.
Let's list a few.
It keeps homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer.  Isn't that what insulation is for?  In a … (14 comments)

insulation rvalue: A Garage Wall Is Still An Exterior Wall - 06/22/16 09:07 PM
A garage wall is still an exterior wall.
And, as such, if it abuts the house, it needs to be insulated!  Remember the 5% Rule!
On a new construction inspection I noticed something interesting.  The room adjoining the kitchen and garage was very warm.
The area in this photo is in the garage attic space.  It is above the garage ceiling, but still abuts the house.
It opens to the entry from the garage, which is also a combination mud room and laundry room.
Entering that space from the kitchen I noticed it was kind of warm.
It had its own floor register and was serviced with … (11 comments)

insulation rvalue: An Older House Often Means Older Insulation - 02/07/16 07:09 PM
An older house often means older insulation.
This is a three-story, 1941 semi-detached, all brick, with a flat roof.  It is typical construction for this era and in this place.
There are newer windows, but what appears to be original drywall.  Original drywall means original insulation.  What kind of insulation? 
In the era between WW1 and WW2 typical brick wall construction was two layers thick, with the interior supporting wood structure tied into the exterior walls.  This is a brick structure with a wood interior.  In contrast, what is built now is a wood structure with a brick facade.
The wall studs in that … (14 comments)

insulation rvalue: If It's Supposed To Be Energy Star Certified, Certify It Rigorously! - 11/05/15 07:42 PM
If it's supposed to be Energy Star Certified, certify it rigorously!
I am taking a stand here.  I'm tired of buzz words that get used, and used, and more used, and over used, until they become meaningless.
What is a buzz word?
Defined:  from my Oxford English Dictionary: 
Buzz Word  /'bez. werd/  noun  a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time, or in a particular context.
Not much could be considered more of a buzz word than this concept of  GREEN.
Services tout themselves as "green."  Commodities tout themselves as "green."  Products tout themselves as "green."  Regulations and so-called … (15 comments)

insulation rvalue: There's A Bathroom Vent Around Here Somewhere - 08/31/15 08:21 PM
In an attic I found one bathroom exhaust vent, but not the other one, and I thought, "There's a bathroom vent around here somewhere."
The problem with the one I could see is that it has been venting into the attic space for so long the moisture has damaged the roof sheathing.
Judging from the amount of damage, this may have been the case with the previous vent.
Bathroom exhaust fans should vent the air (and humidity) directly to the outdoors.
So, if this one is venting indoors, what about the other one?
I looked.  As much of the attic floor had been covered with plywood … (19 comments)

insulation rvalue: "Please Check Out The Remodeled Bathroom!" - 07/07/15 09:53 PM
The feature list said, "Please check out the remodeled bathroom!"
Not much raises my antenna higher or more quickly than a feature list which states there has been remodeling!
And the bathroom was beautiful!  Including the large, very quiet exhaust fan.
Looking at it nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  In fact, the bathroom looked pretty good.
It was 930am, so the attic had not heated up too much yet.  Hopefully it wasn't over 120F up there!
So up the home inspector went.  Time for some recon.
And there it was!  Shiny and new.  With a nice new housing.  With a nice new metal vent tube.  With a … (12 comments)

insulation rvalue: When Is R-13 Insulation NOT R-13 Insulation? - 10/25/14 08:51 PM
When I can see the insulation installation during a pre-drywall inspection, I am able to speak with my clients about this question:  when is R-13 insulation NOT R-13 insulation?
Basically when it's compacted too tightly, it leaves gaps, is smashed inward beside studs or slips down inside the wall.
But start at the beginning.
The number associated with R-value is insulation's ability to RESIST heat transfer.  Hence the R.  More fully stated, R-value is Resistance Value. 
Heat seeks cold.  Heat moves toward cold.  Insulation is an attempt to prevent heat from passing through the thermal barrier it provides. 
Your thermos prevents … (36 comments)

insulation rvalue: I Saw An Insulation Best Practice And A Not-So-Best Practice - 09/12/14 06:18 PM
Busy all day with new construction, and looking at attic insulation, I saw a Best Practice  and a not-so-best practice.
The Best Practice  is the use of a ruler to determine insulation depth.  On this pre-drywall inspection, notice how the bottom of the ruler comes to the bottom of the truss rafter?  That's so the insulation depth is accurately measured.
One of the most common rubs I have with builders is over the value of insulation.
Insulation provides a thermal barrier, no matter the type.  And each type provides different R-values determined by depth.
R-value, or Resistance Value, is the quality … (16 comments)

insulation rvalue: When Attic Insulation Is A Mess - One Small Step For Man, One Giant... - 08/21/14 08:46 PM
New construction inspections are always interesting - especially when attic insulation is a mess -
One small step for man, one giant leap for a poor indoor environment.
Attic insulation is very often a problem in new construction. 
How?
Usually the builder advertises a high R-value (which can only be defined as depth of insulation), but they try to do so in funny ways.  They say the insulation they blow in is "special" and of a higher R-value so they only have to blow in 9"!  Or they say there are so many square feet in the attic and they … (51 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

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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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