Going Above and Beyond

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Extraordinary effort should be the execution of good planning

PatioResults are typically valued above all else and with good reason. Yet the value of effort shouldn’t be over looked, at least in some situations. When it comes to the construction of houses, solid design and building practices carried out by skilled tradesman should result in a well built structure. When known design parameters are abandoned, detrimental conditions can develop.

Downspout onto patioI was reminded of the importance of design and execution on a recent inspection. One entire side of the house I was inspecting had a concrete patio. A great feature that went well with the contemporary design of the house. Examining the patio area, a few things became apparent. Immediately obvious was that the exterior wood cladding was in contact with the patio surface. A condition conducive to wood decay and termite infestation. To further add insult to injury, a downspout was expelling onto the patio in close proximity to the house. Downspout 

Box & Sill JoistsDown in the crawl space, the aforementioned possible results of this poor practice where found to be in existence, termites and wood decay. Oddly the sill boards had been replaced with pressure treated wood, but the other lumber, some damaged, had not.

In a gap created by the wood decay from water penetrating through from the patio surface I could see concrete. Another oddity. If anything I would expect to see daylight. What this meant was that the patio had probably been built above the foundation. On the exterior at the front left corner of the house where the patio begins, the placement and construction of this patio could be seen to be exactly that, above the floor framing and foundation wall. The red line in the photo extends from the well exposed portion of the foundation wall at the front of the house, lining up with what appears to have been a retaining wall. The patio’s surface seen to the left is several inches above the line.

Patio foundation height Whether the patio was put in at the time of original construction or sometime later is difficult to determine and is of little relative consequence. What is certain, the design and installation does not following sensible building practices. The repairs found in the crawlspace to the structural floor framing are simply a response to what is essentially a symptom, not a repair to the actual problem. Clearly the patio will need to be removed and the soil regarded in order to correct the issue, being the very definition of a major repair.

When considering the construction of the patio in the context of the home inspection in order to deliver an evaluation and advice to the home buyer, it is difficult to comprehend the design and execution of this accessory from a thoughtful building design perspective. Going above and beyond the foundation wall and floor framing is sub par effort.

Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

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Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning James Quarello,

Wow! This is an issue that no doubt will have to be resolved by removing the patio and the soil regarded in order to correct this problem. Bummer for both seller and the buyer.

Dec 11, 2015 08:45 PM #1
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Wow, the very definition indeed!  That design house does not look like the typical house with a crawl space!

Good to see you! 

Dec 11, 2015 08:50 PM #2
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning James. This is very very scary. It is hard to cope when you live there and have no control.

Dec 11, 2015 09:47 PM #3
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Good morning James. I do have to agree with Jay that this property does not look like the typical house with a crawlspace. Interesting!

Dec 11, 2015 09:53 PM #4
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

James Quarello You tapped into my long-standing opinion that home inspectors are worth every single penny. Great post!

Dec 11, 2015 10:11 PM #5
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James Quarello

Connecticut Home Inspector
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