One, Two, Three, You Can't Hide From Me!

Home Inspector with Aspect Inspection

One, Two, Three, You Can't Hide From Me!

Peeling Wall   The First Clue

  Here the street face of the painted basement concrete wall is blistered.

 The other adjacent units are not. They have smooth solid paint surfaces.

Blistering paint is caused by water escaping from underneath.

This means the walls are wet or are getting water from some where.

The most common sources are conditions found higher up the walls or from the roof.



water lines

   The Second Clue

  This is over head on the same front wall. This is the roof soffit.

Now the dirt on the top of the siding is not surprising or rare.

However the streaks are caused by running water (there's no other cause).

The water has to come from higher up. What's higher up?  Nothin' up there but the roof and sky. No not the sky, this is under the soffit.




roof view


This roof has a curb (parapet wall and party wall curb) on three sides.

When winter conditions have frozen the drain, the next route off this roof is over the front edge, because that becomes the lowest point till the drain unblocks (thaws).

So winter rains an snow melt aren't going down the drain as planned.

Instead the water is finding other ways.

So now we know here the water in the front wall is coming from.



brick bulge

   The Third Clue

  The first two have already got us to the roof, but this clue means its on going over time.

  Why? The metal brick ties have had time to rust out and let go (break).

As this takes a while it means the brick ties keep getting wet.

That means water is getting in this wall on a regular basis.






parapet wall vent


Parapet Wall Detail: This is the top of that wall with the bowed masonry.

That's an unusual vent fitted into the parapet wall flashing. In the summer it probably works fine airing out the roof framing space.

Winter changes everything

Add some snow, a layer of ice and a frozen or blocked drain and it wont take long to convert that vent into a drain.

Under those conditions it's just a funnel to put water directly down into that wall.

So time and again this wall get wet inside. That brick ties rusted, not a surprise, right?


So what else is there to see on this roof:

   open rusted flashing                    membrane bulge                  ridge

  Open and Rusted Flashing                 Membrane Bulge/ Blister                    Membrane Ridging


This all adds up to a new roofing job being required immediately : Budget to replace roofing immediately. Provide scuppers and standard gooseneck roof vents.


N.B. Look for a following article on why some changes affect other building components and can disrupt their function. It will be titled;"Ch Ch Ch Changes"....Don't Always Improve (Your Roof, Your House) IT.





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blistering paint
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Linda Papallo
Century 21 Access America Licensed in CT - Wethersfield, CT
860 221-8600, Your Wethersfield CT Realtor SFR, CDPE


Excellent blog post and topic. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

May 05, 2011 04:11 AM #1
George Fanucci - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Professional detective work, thanks for the explanations.  I learned some things from that.

May 05, 2011 04:12 AM #2
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

As stagers we see things like this and have to mention them as well. Usually from the ground level though ;). It is better to fix them before going on the market if possible.

May 05, 2011 06:18 AM #3
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Hi Linda, I'm glad you liked the topic. Thanks for commenting.

I guess I'll have to add 'teacher' to my resume now George. No just kidding, blogger it is.

You are right Janice, thats why a pre-listing inspection is so sensible and advantageous for the sellers.

May 05, 2011 01:35 PM #4
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC


Good walk through from the bottom up. Water is that age old enemy in all it's forms.

May 05, 2011 03:59 PM #5
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Yes Don. Water is it, closely followed by weather.

May 06, 2011 02:11 AM #6
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Robert Butler

Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
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