The Walls Were Wet In The Middle But Not At The Bottom? Why?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

The walls were wet in the middle but not at the bottom?  Why?

And that was the question.  I couldn't answer it!  I only knew what I found.

During the thermal image sweep of this condo I found walls and ceilings wet, but only on the lower level. 

The areas were all under the kitchen.  The reason? 

Stitching together various thermal images into a panorama the conundrum comes alive.

The middle of the wall registered 100% moisture.  And the floor registered 18%.  You can see my footprints on the floor where I measured that wall.

How was that possible?  Water and moisture flow down.  The floor was too wet, and the middle of the wall, but the bottom of the wall and the floor molding was not.

The builder said everything was dry, and they had a report indicating that.

Report?  Yes!

Apparently there had been a leak caused by a plumber in the sprinkler system over the kitchen pantry! 

They replaced the flooring in the kitchen, and drywall in the pantry.  So no moisture showed up there on the thermal image sweep. 

But below, downstairs where my camera detected moisture, they had removed the lowest 6" of drywall in the walls and the floor molding.  Why?  To "dry" the walls!

And a report by an environmental company "proved" everything was dry, with hard to see, blurry photos of a moisture meter and another blurry photo of a thermal camera showing "no moisture" present in the wall.  I thought the report was not very indicative of anything.

That report answered my questions!

Water had come down from above and wicked up from below, and the lower materials had been replaced, so the middle of the wall was wet, but not elsewhere.  Yes the ceiling was wet, but those were different images.

My recommendation:  here we have new construction where a problem happened and was "repaired."  Did the repairs work?  Not really.  Everyone assumed the problem was solved and the buyer would not be the wiser.  Thermal imaging proved the difference here.  Don't do a new home inspection without thermal imaging!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comments (20)

Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing your experience and your advice.

Aug 08, 2017 04:16 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Jay. Perfect example of why you need a home inspection on new construction! Enjoy your day!!

Aug 08, 2017 04:42 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Jay Markanich ,

Wow..this sure showed the buyer what had happened and it was not repaired properly. Thank goodness you conducted thermal imagining!

Aug 08, 2017 05:07 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good catch with this one, Jay.  The buyers would have had some potential mold issues in the future.

Aug 08, 2017 05:12 AM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, How long after the incident were you there? Looks like someone did not get it dried out correctly.

Aug 08, 2017 06:22 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon Jay. Always scary but always telling too. Amazing catch.

Aug 08, 2017 01:21 PM
Stephen Weakley
Nationwide Mortgage Services - Rockville, MD

Well done Sherlock!  I doubt anyone else could have figured that one out.

Also, welcome back.

Aug 08, 2017 01:52 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I always recommend a home inspection even on new construction since they are built by humans and humas err.

Aug 08, 2017 08:04 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You're welcome as always, Roy.

Yet one more, Wayne.  And they will continue to come.

Dorie - these were only a couple of the thermal images, and photos of the many wet places.  But this panorama was very indicative.

Gabe - that was one concern.  The builder tried to cover themselves with an air quality company report (which I found pathetic), and after our inspection emailed my client to say they had done their "due diligence" on her behalf.  I rather think I was her due diligence!

Aug 09, 2017 03:21 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Don - not sure.  Apparently something like a week or ten days.  I expect it was quite the deluge as in these condo buildings it takes a while to get the sprinkler systems cut off. 

Shiela - the process I do is basic to my home inspections.  And these sorts of things will pop up if they have happened.

Stephen - again, this is what I do on every inspection!  As to AR, I have spent much less time as I am finding that my posts, which I think are very instructive and useful, get fewer and fewer eyeballs.  So the value has diminished here, at least for me.   That may be so for home inspectors in general - I have noticed fewer and fewer posts.  Maybe we aren't as well regarded as in the past.

Too true, Joe.  Somebody nicked a plumbing line here!  Once in a town nearby a plumber nicked a gas line and after that slow leak, later that night, the house exploded, with all the family inside.  It was tragic.

 

Aug 09, 2017 03:31 AM
Susan McCall - - Compass Realty Solutions

Even though you are not in my service area, I love your posts and have been missing them.  You are appreciated.  What is your criteria for scaling back on the posts?  

Aug 14, 2017 06:54 PM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Absolutely! I do a thermal scan at all my inspections. So many flat roofs here, I think it's a must! Good job Mr Inspector!

Aug 09, 2017 07:57 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

The panorama feature for the software is a great tool also, Fred.  It's great to see a whole ceiling, or house, or apartment building!  I saw a stitched panorama of Las Vegas once, and it was pretty interesting.

Aug 09, 2017 09:28 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

I am not aware of that feature Jay, is it a software upgrade? I have a Flir E6

Aug 10, 2017 07:31 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It's in the software package you have to buy, Fred.  Doesn't come with the free package that you got with the camera.  I think it's $295, unless that's changed over the years.

Aug 10, 2017 07:47 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

I'll check it out, I like the wide views. Thanks!

Aug 11, 2017 08:06 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Susan - I have been getting the idea that I'm not reaching many people.  Fewer and fewer seem to read my posts, so my time is spent on other sites.

I've noticed the same trend with other home inspector posts in that they are read less and less.  They have scaled back also in the number of posts.

Aug 15, 2017 08:33 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

 I have cut waaay back on my posts.... too busy these days! But I still log in each day and make some comments...

Sep 18, 2017 07:06 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Fred.  You commented on this one!

Sep 18, 2017 07:45 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Jay Markanich you're like Superman.... you always save the day and future expense for the new homeowner....

Oct 11, 2017 02:56 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Barbara.  This was the first purchase for this young lady and she got more than her money's worth!

Oct 11, 2017 03:01 AM