bellingham home inspection: Behind the Bedroom Door - 06/23/15 03:08 PM
Awhile back, I performed a home inspection at a house that had been subject to an armed home invasion. There were damaged doors and holes in walls. The invaders had kicked down a main door to get in. But the most interesting, and creepy sight, was an interior bedroom door that the tenant successfully used to keep the bad guys out.
The tenant told me that, in the middle of the night, he heard a crash and smash which was the main entry door shattering. He heard his roommate yelling in the hallway and then he heard other voices, he did not recognize, … (10 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Oops, Another Good Reason To Go On The Roof - 12/31/13 12:37 AM
I had a surprise at a house, in Bellingham, a few weeks ago. That surprise brought home to me the importance of an inspector walking the roof when it is possible to do so. The surprise, also, reinforced the importance of hiring a home inspector. The subject house was in a wooded area and there was a good view of the front of the roof but, as a result of the trees, no view from the ground was possible at the back. Trees obscured the view of the sides as well.
From the front, roof access was not difficult so I climbed … (5 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Please Shut The Door - 05/19/13 04:39 AM
This is an amusing and a revealing photo taken recently at an inspection at a large commercial building. It was dark inside the building, and bright sunlight prevailed at the outside. The picture tells the story, pretty poor energy efficiency at this door. You might be thinking that I should have shut the door before snapping the photo. Well, look again, fact of the matter is that door is shut and latched.

All that daylight is the result of a poor fit, lack of weatherstrippings and a threshold. When you put those missing ingredients together, you have a door that … (36 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Flashing the Deck or Landing - 12/22/12 04:30 AM
Time and time again, working here in Bellingham as a home inspector, I find improperly installed or, more often than not, decks installed without proper flashings at the wall.  The problem is simple enough, where that horizontal landing attaches to the house, moisture collects thanks to our "liquid sunshine" here in the Pacific Northwest. So, given a few years, it is just a matter of time until rot forms at that transition point and, often, the rot will spread back into the wall.
Here is a photo of a deck that is of particular concern.

This is a traditional stucco … (10 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Losing Your Marbles -- Simple Tool Effective Use - 11/02/12 12:07 AM
We home inspectors have a number of fancy tools, moisture meters, circuit analyzers, boroscopes, maybe thermal imaging equipment. But, as often as not, our most important observations are made while using simple tools -- our eyes, our ears, ladders, a rot probe.
First, I am going to give examples of some pretty obvious problems that were apparent in a crawl space. Then, after that, I am going to show you a video of a very simple tool that had telegraphed to me, from up above on the main floor, that I should expect something odd in the substructure crawl space.

bellingham home inspection: Bang the Drum Slowly: Mexican Wedding Procession - 02/01/12 03:02 AM
My wife and I are back home, in Bellingham, after our annual jaunt down to Oaxaca, Mexico. Secret: We missed the big winter snow and wind storm that took place here in Whatcom county. Oaxaca is near Guatemala, so almost to Central America. We love it in the city and we have made some fine friends among the Mexican people since we have been going there for four years now.
We enjoy the color, the sounds and the lively atmosphere. The environment is anything but bland. The public square or zocalo is full of poinsettias in bloom, people in bright clothes, … (5 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House) Sliding Glass Doors - 10/22/11 10:38 AM
At about seven of ten houses, that I inspect in Whatcom County and Bellingham, there is at least one sliding glass door. Often these can be difficult to operate or test. Sometimes a seller will have a keyed lock on the lower track, that keeps it in a stationary position. In that case, it may not be possible to check the door. Other times, you have to fish a wood stick or similar bar out of the track, security measures.
Once the door is free, so it can be tested, I often find that the latch is out of adjustment. In what … (2 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Welcoming Don Hammons to the Rain - 09/02/11 04:02 AM
The other day, at an inspection, I met, for the first time, a new and enthusiastic member of the Active Rain community.

Don Hammons is new to not only Active Rain but to the real estate business. However, based on his personality, sense of humor, customer service skills, pleasant attitude and attention to detail, it looks to me like he ought to do well in the field. He was a great help to me, and to the buyers, the seller, during a recent home inspection at a big, older house where it took a long time to proceed through the full inspection. Don was … (5 comments)

bellingham home inspection: #1 Single in America 24 Years Ago - 08/24/11 03:28 AM
In writing posts that feature songs, and stories about songs, that were big hits in the past, it is readily apparent to me that many of the hits were propelled to the top of the charts due to their prominence in movies that had huge followings.
The song that was #1 on the singles chart in November 1987 fits in that category. This duet was by a man and a woman. The man is one of the most successful male performers of the entire rock era, part a famous duet that was right up there with Simon and Garfunkel. He had been involved in … (5 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Hardie Plank is Not Bullet Proof - 05/27/11 12:41 PM
Many times I have had builders argue that, since the siding they installed was cement-based, it was not necessary to put a flashing, and to establish an appropriate gap, between the siding and a deck. I have even had agents question why such a flashing would be required with Hardie Plank. After all, they say, it cannot rot.
Well, I will agree that it does not rot. But when it is exposed to too much moisture, too often and for too long, it will deteriorate. It, more so than rotting, de-laminates and falls apart in layers and pieces. Take a look at this photo.

bellingham home inspection: Local Athlete Makes Good - 04/29/11 03:16 AM
Ever since he was a kid in high school, Ferndale's Jake Locker has been the athlete to watch in Whatcom County. Jake was a standout football star at Ferndale High School. And his name was well-known in this community because his uncle, Pat Locker (now a real estate agent) was the best known football player ever at Western Washington University here in Bellingham.
Jake spent four years at the University of Washington and, while the UW football team is not the powerhouse it was back in the era of coach Don James, they went to the Holiday Bowl and won this year.

bellingham home inspection: Ferndale Home Inspection -- Gutter Cleaning - 03/23/11 02:19 PM
Manufacturers are, constantly, trying to come up with gutter guards that will make it possible for a homeowner to ignore the state of the gutters. My experience, as a home inspector, is that when there are gutter guards in place they tend to create more problems than they solve. I will agree that they slow down the amount of organic debris that will collect in the gutter. But they do not stop that buildup of crud.
The problem is that the contented homeowner, figuring that the gutters are swell, forgets about them. Yet, you give a few months of years of … (4 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Ferndale WA Home Inspector: This Isn't Horseshoes - 03/20/11 04:54 PM
I am sure that you know the old saying -- "Close only counts in horseshoes." Very often, at a home inspection, that saying pops into my mind. "Popped" is probably not the right word -- it is forced into my mind by a visual enigma.
For example, I find it amazing when people seem to have the right idea. They know that the runoff water from the gutters should be diverted away from the house. So they go out and buy a number of splash blocks at a home store.

But then it gets into the weirdness. If you know … (9 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Beautiful Frass - 03/04/11 01:36 PM
Frass: "By-product of insect tunneling and feeding activities."
In this state I not just a home inspector, also I am a licensed structural pest inspector. Without that license, an inspector is not allowed to identify or make specific recommendations regarding wood destroying insect species or damage. 
Sometimes we inspectors appreciate it when we get some real big clues as to problems early on. Recently, I was entering a crawl space at an older house. Based on the moisture present and the condition of the crawl space I expected to find the wood boring beetle known as the anobiid beetle.
It leaves … (3 comments)

bellingham home inspection: This Is Looking Pretty Good Right Now - 02/09/11 02:50 PM
This evening I was writing comments and reading other AR posts. I read several from Active Rain members who have snow or are expecting snow or more snow. Around here, we do not have snow on the ground unless you go up into the hills, but it was darn cold this morning, about 25 degrees.
So I was cruising through my last set of photos from Oaxaca, Mexico and I saw this one taken in mid-January. All of the colorful foliage in bloom and the weather down there are looking pretty good to me right now. Can we all say, as … (11 comments)

bellingham home inspection: David Lanz Benefit Concert (Bellingham, WA) December 12th - 11/27/10 08:58 AM
Back a month ago, I wrote an article stating that, from what I could tell,  David Lanz, the Grammy nominated and best selling pianist who lives in Bellingham, would not be doing a local Christmas-time performance this year.

Good news for locals: Recently it was announced that Lanz will be performing a benefit at the local, intimate music venue, the Amadeus Project, on December 12, a Sunday. There will be two shows, one at 3pm and another at 7pm. For tickets visit: 
You can almost be assured that David will play, along with holiday favorites, his best selling and … (5 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Garden Giusti -- Verona, Italy - 11/15/10 03:18 AM
In Verona, a real find on the opposite side of the river to the centro area, was the Giardino Giusti. This is a traditional Italian Garden that goes back to the sixteenth century.
Verona, while a pretty place, is a good sized city, about the size of Seattle. And there are many tourists as you can well imagine. The cool thing about this garden was that it is far enough off the beaten path that it was almost completely private the day my wife and I went for a stroll. It is a very serene and private place to visit. I … (7 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Risk of the Draw (Inspection) - 11/13/10 07:37 AM
Certainly you have heard of the "luck of the draw". That is an often used poker term. I intend to tell you about the "risk of the draw". Many inspectors and agents have written about safety hazards when inspecting older homes -- falling through rotten decking immediately comes to mind.
There are substantial risks in inspecting a very new home as well, one that is not quite finished. I do almost exclusively inspections of completed homes, some old some new, but they have their final occupancy permits.
There is an exception: Banks hire inspectors, at a work in progress, to perform … (7 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Bellingham Technical College Home Inspection Training -- February 28, 2011 - 11/09/10 02:13 AM

I am getting many calls and inquiries from individuals who wish to take the state approved home inspection training course, and field training, at Bellingham Technical College. We taught the course every couple months this year. But, due to the holidays, the next course will not be offered until February 28, 2011. This is an intense four week course. The first three weeks are fundamentals training and the last week is field training. To see more about the course, click the start button on the video link above. BTC is an approved provider of home inspection training in Washington … (0 comments)

bellingham home inspection: Bellingham WA Home Inspections (King of the House) Wood to Soil - 11/04/10 05:24 AM
I see this a lot in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Some wood is made to be in contact with soil. It is sold that way. This is referred to as preserved wood or pressure-treated lumber. The fact of the matter is that not all pressure-treated lumber is created equal. I have seen pressure-treated posts that were completely rotted away at the soil level after less than ten years. Then, personally, I have pulled pressure-treated fence posts from the ground, 20 years after planting them, and the below grade wood was as sound as the day I put them in the ground. … (9 comments)

Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) Rainmaker large

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Bellingham, WA

More about me…

King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.

Address: 1609 East Maplewood Ave, Bellingham, WA, 98225

Office: (360) 319-0038

Mobile: (360) 319-0038

Email Me

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, ASHI certified inspector #252760 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.




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