Structure

True Home Inspection Service

admin Environmental, Structure March 25, 2016

Home Inspection Service

If you have been through my website and hopefully seen my Home Assure page you would know that one service that is always included with my inspections is what is called a walk-a-way. Essentially, if through my home inspection and based on the contents of my home inspection report you decide to walk away from the deal due to major defects then I will inspect your next home for half price within 90 days.

Although this happens very rarely there is the odd time when I find things that potential buyers do not want to deal with. One such potential home buyer recently went through this. I completed a home inspection for her and through the home inspection there were three major’s.

First was spalling brick. Spalling is the process of brick deterioration. There was evidence of spalling on brickwork at one corner of the garage. Although there was not considerable damage, if it has started then it will continue unless the causes are mitigated. This was not enough for her to walk away….

Second was a sliding foundation. As a home inspector I see many damaged, shifting, cracked and leaking foundations. In this case, the home was finished and the foundation was buried. Behind drywall it could not be determined that there was any shifting. Through my thermal inspection it was determined that there was no leaking however. Then, I got to the garage. Keep in mind the garage is below grade (same level as the basement and the driveway was on a downslope). When I entered the garage I noticed the cinder block walls were all moved inwards just above the concrete pad floor. On closer inspection I found that the entire wall was shifting inward from the external pressures. What makes this worse is you have to assume that behind the finished walls in the basement, the foundation is doing the same thing. Now she is considering walking away.

Third was a moldy attic. From the first glance in the attic the black sheathing gave it away that there was mold. Not a little mold but lots of it. Both the thermal inspection as well as through utilizing a non-intrusive moisture meter determined that the mold was active and there was more than a 30% moisture content in the sheathing. The roof had been done very recently but it was obvious that the roofers had not addressed the leaks that had been there previously. It should be noted that if you have current leaks in your roof and you are having your shingles changed, be sure you have the roofers change your sheathing as well.

So now we have spalling bricks, a sliding foundation and active mold in the attic. Is this enough for you to walk away? It was enough for my client. You can imagine how happy she was very recently when I completed a home inspection at half price on the next house she found and the home inspection was successful.

A home is a difficult choice and when you walk away it can be very disappointing. It is even worse to think that you have to pay for another home inspection when you find another house. I am happy to be able to give people a little good news (a half price inspection) when they are going through the disappointment of losing the house they have chosen. As for my recent client, I am especially happy that she found a home that she can enjoy, share and be happy in.

Truss Uplift

admin Structure March 18, 2016

Truss Uplift

Truss Uplift
I have seen several homes each winter season with the phenomenon called Truss Uplift. This is often very disconcerting to the home owner, however, it is not something that is to be feared. Essentially, what is seen in the home is gaps between the top floor ceilings and the interior walls. These gaps can be as much as two inches in extreme cases. More often that not it is much smaller than that. This phenomenon is often mistaken for settling of the floors which, in turn, lowers the walls from the ceilings. Truss Uplift is exactly the opposite in that the ceiling is actually lifting off the walls.

Trusses, unlike previous building techniques where rafters and ceiling joists were manually crafted, are pre-engineered and pre-fabricated. Engineered trusses are lighter but considerably stronger than their predecessor and are held together with a fastener called gusset plates. When a home is built by modern building standards there is a considerable amount of insulation that is blown into the attic. This covers the bottom chord of the trusses and, in turn, the bottom chord remains dry and warm. The same modern building standards have us creating greater ventilation in the attic leaving the top chords in a cold and often moist (Humid), environment. The cold and moist air causes the top chords to expand while the bottom chords are shrinking due to warm and dry air that they lay in. This causes the bottom chord of the trusses to arch upwards thereby lifting the ceiling off the interior walls.

Although this phenomenon is not aesthetically pleasing there is nothing to be concerned about. It does not cause any structural problems with the home and it will stop occurring when the warmer temperatures arrive. There is no resolution to the problem so calling a contractor in will not help. This is one phenomenon that, unfortunately, you will need to live with. There are methods to minimizing this problem during the construction phase. Once the home is built, however, there are few solutions to hiding the gaps. Some quick tips can be found here. This is only one of many sites that can provide ideas.

Truss Uplift is not always the cause of gaps between walls and ceilings but if it is the cause of yours you can rest assured your home is still safe and sound.