mold: Can An All Brick House Leak Through The Walls? - 12/23/16 03:51 AM
Can an all brick house leak through the walls?
The answer, in short, is YES!
Water has to be controlled.  Around the roof, and house, water can be effectively controlled by gutters and downspouts.  If they are not situated properly, or if roof water is not drained properly from the roof to the gutters, back ups and overflows will occur.
A case in point.  Just pulling up to this house I predicted the disaster that was to follow.
For quite some time the gutter from the upper roof had been inundating and overflowing the gutter below because the downspout was missing an elbow and there … (45 comments)

mold: A Year Later And There Is No "Toxic Mold..." - 08/08/16 09:32 PM
A year later and there is no "toxic mold..."
A little over year ago new neighbors moved in next door.  We had the initial greetings and are friendly, as neighbors should be. They have three children who are always happy to see me and I tease regularly.
A few weeks later they decided to finish their basement.
During the framing work, but just before the drywall was installed, we had a huge storm which dumped a couple of inches of rain.
The downspout indicated by the yellow arrow was angled such that it dropped its water directly into the corner on the ground.
The soil at that … (70 comments)

mold: Termite Damage And Fungal Decomposition, To Say The Least - 11/04/15 07:42 PM
This crawl space demonstrated termite damage and fungal decomposition, to say the least.
And all over the place. 
The area has been so moist for so long the vapor retarder, the wax paper on the insulation, has deteriorated and fallen off!  Yes, the insulation was placed with the vapor retarder facing the wrong side.
While in the living area, and walking around, here and there the floor felt weak and saggy.
Going below I found out why!
Where does the moisture come from?
---> The soil had no plastic covering anywhere.
---> The space was not vented anywhere.
---> The insulation was placed incorrectly everywhere.
---> The grading sent … (9 comments)

mold: Sing Along - "Under The Roof Top, Roof Top" - 11/03/15 06:27 PM
Think the Drifters and the lyrics to another song, "Under the Boardwalk," and sing along - "Under the Roof Top, Roof Top."
(Under the roof top) Out of the sun,
(Under the roof top)  We'll be havin' some fun,
(Under the roof top)  Leaves are falling above,
(Under the roof top)  Mold is forming with love,
Under the roof top, roof top.
Under the roof top, Mighty Mo and me,
Down on the carpet is where we will be.
One of the "features" bragged about in this "remodeled" house was the "New Roof!" 
That wasn't all.
The invoice continued:  "New R-11 insulation and new drywall."
 
This is what part of the … (15 comments)

mold: Conditions Ripe For Mold - 10/08/15 08:11 PM
Conditions ripe for mold.
This is a house with a basement inundated with mold.
Inundate - verb - to overwhelm with something; to flood.
Either definition applies.  The basement was inundated with water from three sources.  Just walking in the front door I was attacked by a serious moldy odor.  The house was apparently inundated with mold too!
The rear gutters on the house had been clogged for so long, and cascading over the edges for so long, that a literal canal had been dug beside the rear foundation wall.   Hidden by drywall are apparent breaches in that foundation wall.
The water heater was leaking somewhere … (21 comments)

mold: The Culprit - And The Result - 08/09/15 06:56 PM
This is the story of the culprit - and the result.
Culprit - noun - the cause of a problem or defect.  From the old French word culpable, meaning 'guilty.'
Walking up to the house there was a brick sidewalk in front and leading around the garage to a side door.
It was cracked in many places, from settlement.
There was an extra smoosh of mortar in the gap between the sidewalk and step.
And the sidewalk was inclining toward the house.
It had inclined since that smoosh of mortar, put there, ostensibly, to fill the gap from previous movement.
Why that extra mortar?
My guess - a wet … (21 comments)

mold: Investigating A Flat Roof Leak. But, It Wasn't What They Thought! - 05/25/14 07:34 PM
Reading about my thermal camera on line this homeowner called me about using my camera while investigating a flat roof leak.  But, it wasn't what they thought!
They had a couple of leaks actually, and couldn't locate any of them.
Complaining of a moldy odor in the staircase from middle to upper levels, I found the hardware wall of the master bath shower to be just above the moldy photo on the left.  That moldy spot was discovered by removing a large piece of artwork on the wall!  They did not know it was there.
They thought it might be a … (16 comments)

mold: Half The House Smelled Deeply Of Mold - 03/02/14 08:16 PM
There was a new side and and old side to this house, it had been entirely remodeled, and half the house smelled deeply of mold.
Entering through the door on the new side, which part of the house was on a slab, I knew from walking around the exterior earlier that the older side was on a crawl space.
We couldn't get into the crawl space from outside.  So in we went.
Finding the hatch I dropped down and began, well, crawling!
Insulation which used to be under the floor had fallen down over time.  It was on the ground, hanging, … (64 comments)

mold: Intentionally Trying To Hide Problems On A Flip - Chapter 3 - 03/16/13 09:45 PM
This will be the last in a series of unfortunate posts regarding a real estate "investor" who is intentionally trying to hide problems on a flip - chapter 3.
In the last post it had been revealed by neighbors that there was a substantial foundation crack, improperly repaired, and water was found inside the house after a very minor rain storm. 
That, and roof problems had apparently been letting moisture into the house for approximately 9 months while the house sat vacant between owners.
The new owner put on a new roof, on top of the old.  They tried to use … (22 comments)

mold: Top To Bottom - 08/28/12 07:42 PM
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)

mold: What Should Buyers Do When Mold Appears On New Construction? - 06/12/12 09:51 PM
This problem has been like this for some time.  What should buyers do when mold appears on new construction?
The drywall is in the rooms and was to be installed in the next couple of days.  Nobody said anything to the buyers.
The builder did what they usually do - they called the buyers late one afternoon and said they needed a pre-drywall inspection the next day.  We're so sorry, we forgot that pesky drywall was scheduled for installation the next day and, gee, if you want a pre-drywall inspection we don't mind but, gosh, good golly, our schedule just took … (46 comments)

mold: Mold Is Not The Problem - You Must Treat The Source - 03/16/12 09:01 PM
Inspecting a seven-year-old condo a week or so ago, one of the things discovered was mold.  MOLD IS NOT THE PROBLEM - YOU MUST TREAT THE SOURCE.
My clients were not present at the inspection.  They are an investor couple and have employed me many times, sometimes while not attending the inspection.  Their absence requires careful explanation of found items.
From the outside I noticed two things that bothered me before going in.
And they both looked like potential moisture concerns.
This is a swollen door thresh hold.
It is diverting water toward the corner of the door.
On the left … (79 comments)

mold: "This Is The Room That Smells Bad" - 03/07/12 06:48 PM

People call me to evaluate many things.  Arriving at the house, an older home, I did a little interview to see what it is that they were trying to describe over the phone.
After the "interview," I always go to the complaint area first.  This was in the basement.  From there I knew where the problem was originating.  So I went outside to see why.
When I saw this gap under the sliding door to the deck, I suspected long-term moisture intrusion and was not surprised, when in the basement, to have heard,
"This is the room that smells bad."
(24 comments)

mold: Good Thing This Dryer Vents Into The Attic, Cause It Sure Can't Vent Outdoors! - 02/15/12 09:42 PM
Good thing this dryer vents into the attic, cause it sure can't vent outdoors!
Combine a makeshift laundry room, with a holey (not holy) dryer vent, and the most interesting, but clogged, discharge outdoors I have ever seen and what do you have?
Well, for one thing, you have a lot of mold!
Interestingly, most of the mold was not near the dryer vent!
Most of the exhaust was blowing so much toward one end of the house, the end where the homeowner covered up that pesky vent hole on the side of the house, that the mold really developed there!  … (73 comments)

mold: Wood Gets Slippery When Wet - Resulting In Rot - 01/17/12 10:37 PM
From many (wonderful) excursions into crawl spaces, home inspectors all know that wood gets slippery when wet - resulting in rot.
First we need some excuse to stay wet all the time.
Let's not have gutters on the front of the house!
In addition, the soil in front, and sidewalk, and porch (!), should all incline toward the house.
That will all contribute to making the crawl space really wet!  Home inspectors also enjoy a water view!
That is one front corner of the house, with the standing water extending out about 3'.
The rest of the front wall and the … (31 comments)

mold: Soffit Vent, If You Please - 11/02/11 07:56 PM
For attics that are not intentionally built not to ventilate, attic venting is extremely important.  And if the house has what is called a soffit and ridge vent system, you really want to see the soffit vent, if you please.
It's simple.  There are holes under the gutters called soffit vents.
There's a slice cut out of the top of the roof, which is covered to allow the air out.  That is the ridge vent.
Together they are called a soffit and ridge vent system.
IT IS VERY GOOD VENTILATION, BECAUSE IT IS PURE PHYSICS.
Air comes in, warms, rises and … (41 comments)

mold: Inundate A Foundation With Water, And What Do You Get? - 09/14/11 11:15 PM
This is shared space.  Not only do these townhouses reside side to side, but, being condos, one resident lives upstairs and others downstairs in the same townhouse. 
No matter what the building style, inundate a foundation with water, and what do you get?
I calculate these two roofs together to be about 850 square feet.

Why is that relevant?
Look to the right.  Because they both drain to the same place.
When it rains 1" of water on 850 square feet, that translates to about 530 gallons of water.
Last week we had between 6 and 8" of rain.  That's … (24 comments)

mold: Jay's School of Inspectology - We Investigate Completely! - 08/20/11 10:58 PM
This is a 42 year old house with a clue outside that would lead a home inspector to think things before he goes inside!  And, as with so many things, in Jay's School of Inspectology - we investigate completely!
What's the teensy clue outside?  A four foot wide window well.
And just what is so exciting about that?  This is a 42 year old house.  In those days window wells were not connected to drains or sump pumps, as they are now.
And this is uncovered, meaning it has been a conduit for water flow against the foundation wall.  The wall … (55 comments)

mold: There Was Little Evidence Of Mold, But The Whole House Smelled Moldy - 08/15/11 12:25 AM
Have you ever entered a house and smelled the mold?  Like the whole house is full of it?  That was the case in this house, built in the 60s, with an entirely subterranean basement.
There was little evidence of mold anywhere, but the whole house smelled moldy.
And I couldn't find it! 
The grading was good and the basement walls were dry, according to my meter, and without staining.
There was no evidence of previous flooding.
The water heater was newer, but no staining around it.
I did see a little mold under the entry staircase, which is a typical spot, … (26 comments)

mold: Ducts Under A Slab Will Very Often Be An Issue - 07/22/11 01:47 AM
Sometimes on a slab home, or a home with a lower level that opens up on the rear, I see the duct work running downward from the HVAC system to service the house.
I point out to my clients that ducts under a slab will very often be an issue.
The system seen here services every room on the lower level of this house.  That is the supply duct visible on the left.
Every single register except one blows the air from the floor.
Personally I don't like floor registers even on upper levels because I find them less efficient during … (17 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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