What is the point?

Home Inspector with Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

As a builder I always hated to have to wear a hard hat.
hard hatBeing the boss it was pretty rare that I would actually wear one.  

Employees were a different story and for the most part they are a pretty good idea---hard hats that is.  Employees I can do without.  They are especially important when you have workers on different levels were someone might drop a hammer on your head etc .  A hammer falling on your head from 10 or 20 feet would never be a good thing regardless---but at least you might not die.  This is one of those examples of where there can be consequences worse than death.

On a recent inspection I found a great example of why hard hats are a great idea.

Insulation fastenersThe ceilings of concrete structures are sometimes insulated with giant rolls of plastic covered fiberglass insulation.  These batts of insulation are held in place with spikes that are glued to the ceiling.  The insulation is pushed into place through the spikes and then retaining rings are slid over the spikes.  This is an "effective" and efficient way to do it and makes for an attractive appearance when done.  I would argue that it should be insulated with some material other than fiberglass---almost ANYTHING other than fiberglass---but that is not what this post is about.

This post is about the reasons for hard-hats.

If you haven't gotten the point yet, without a hard hat you might.

You see these sharp points should be snipped off to prevent anyone climbing a step ladder (to work on other components on the ceiling) from running one of the spikes through their skull.

Insulation fastener

Sorry for the wince there---but these points are dangerous and should be properly removed.

And that is the point.  

Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector

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Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Hi CHarles  -Ouch, I get the point.. (double ouch)... it seems like such a simple thing to take care of...  yet could be so deadly... Glad you are okay.. Best, G

May 21, 2011 11:40 AM #1
Judy Klem
Transition Stage LLC - Shelton, CT
Home Staging, Senior Move Management, Fairfield/New Haven counties

Hi Charles - Yikes! It would seem like a VERY good idea to snip those off - and wear a hard hat to do so, just in case.

May 21, 2011 12:09 PM #2
Martha Brown
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403 - Annapolis, MD
Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent

Must have been NO Brain Billy working on that ceiling. Ouch!

May 21, 2011 01:05 PM #3
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Yummy!  How high are those spikes?  Regardless, you get on a ladder without thinking and smooch!

May 21, 2011 01:21 PM #4
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

Chahhlie, My husband would be talking about, someone losing an eye! Was this an industrial installation?

May 21, 2011 01:56 PM #5
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

It looks like they did a good job otherwise.  Why not do it all good.

May 21, 2011 01:59 PM #6
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Gay, yes---pretty simple---but there are  a LOT of them----will take someone quite a while

Judy, good idea :)

Martha, since Jay is here just below you---must have been Billy Jays :)

Jay, only about 9 feet off the floor

Peg, it was the basement/garage of a 5 unit condo building

William---the devil is in the details as they say

May 21, 2011 02:08 PM #7
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Charles: That definitely is an accident waiting to happen. ~Danger~Wear Hart Hat ~ should be posted.

May 21, 2011 02:31 PM #8
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Oh Mr Charles,

That is so amusing. Does that make you a pinhead if you gots a nail in your head. Ha, Ha, Rolling on the floor larfing.


May 21, 2011 03:28 PM #9
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Wow, that is painful looking!

Can't help it..

I get the point... but it would seem the builder did not. Or maybe he did and that is why it was left that way.

May 21, 2011 03:42 PM #10
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

If they are reasonably ductile they should be bent to a 'U' shape. Cutting them will still leave sharp end that can scratch badly or still perforate. Of course Charlie can use his nail file on them.

But seriously why are they so long?  That's the real problem.   Was there supposed to be more insulation?   Has this insulation been too compressed?   Or is the error the wrong size spikes?

May 21, 2011 03:50 PM #11
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Carl & Ceil---it would seem so

It's Nutsy---speaking of pin-heads

Andrea, just seems like a job not completed to me

Robert, I think that any length of the things---and they do come in many lengths---would still leave enough of a point to hurt a lot---just like a roofing nail through into the attic.  I think nipping them off at the cap would be adequate---and maybe adding a dab of caulk for good luck.  For all I know they make little protective caps for them.  And my guess is that they did use the wrong length spikes.

May 21, 2011 04:43 PM #12
Howard and Susan Meyers
The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore - Winnetka, IL

We've seen a similar situation while walking around attics where the nails that holds down the roofing materials jut through.

May 21, 2011 04:46 PM #13
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Charles,

Hard hats are the only hat I ever wear, but not enough, your example is pretty graphic,  in our area there are many homes with low basements, (6 feet or less) I have knocked) myself out more than a few times, while showing a house.....So now I carry 3 in my car.

May 21, 2011 06:26 PM #14
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Wow!  I prickly situation to be sure.  Glad you were prepared and did not get impaled!

May 22, 2011 01:07 AM #15
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


I always thought that one colorful head protector that you used to wear was your best. I think I got a photo here somewhere. Will post below.

May 22, 2011 04:10 AM #16
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Howard and Susan---yes those nails can sometimes jump out and get you for sure

Peter and Linda, the thing about hard hats is that they restrict your vision enough that sometimes you end up hitting your head on things that you otherwise would not have---but at least you have your hard hat on :)

Kathryn, yes---I stayed away from them

Steve, well at least the biggest feature on my head is protected

May 22, 2011 09:14 AM #17
Ernie Steele
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty - Lebanon, PA
Call me, let's get started!!! 717-273-3774

Charles, as usual, a point well made...Enjoy your day

May 22, 2011 09:33 AM #18
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

This would not be the place to have a pogo stick contest.

May 22, 2011 01:50 PM #19
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Ernie---thanks---point taken

Jim--or set up a trampline

May 22, 2011 01:55 PM #20
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