Can you identify this white material and why it is a cause for concern? I see this fairly frequently, especially in crawl spaces and attics. You might think it is white mold (testing it would give a definitive answer) but it is most likely wood-destroying fungus. As the name suggests, this fungus actually breaks down and digests the wood. Over time, it can cause significant wood rot and damage and make the structure - in this case the support beams holding up the house(!) - less stable, compromising the entire structure. In some cases, the rot is so bad I can insert a screwdriver into the entire beam. This kind of damage can often be mitigated by adding (or "sistering") another beam next to the damaged beam, giving your floor structure the support it needs. Discovering these kinds of concerns is so important, whether you are buying the home or you've lived in it for some time. Home inspections are a very good way to identify these issues before they become very serious (and expensive) problems.
It's subtle, but can you tell what's wrong in this picture?
There is mild efflorescence (white salt stains) on the chimney. This means that there are either issues with the chimney's masonry, sealants, or the chimney cap (or a combination). In this case, there are cracks in the masonry toward the top that are allowing moisture (rain, etc.) to seep into the brick. Concerns related to this include the chimney could prematurely deteriorate; it could begin leaning or could completely collapse; moisture could enter the chimney and cause the flue lining to deteriorate, necessitating the purchase of a new lining; and/or moisture could enter the home and ruin ceilings, walls, carpets, and more.
If you see efflorescence on your chimney, addressing it now could save you thousands of dollars later. Call us at 919-914-0606 to schedule your home inspection now to give you peace of mind and help alert you to issues like this.
You likely wouldn't know it by looking at it, but the first two photos are of a ROOF. A Mansard-style roof, to be exact. And yes, those are leaves and plants growing ON the roof. A Mansard roof is characterized by having very steep slopes/pitch on each side of the house and a flat or nearly flat roof surface which can lend to very spacious attic areas and more living space within the home. However, this style of architecture must be cleaned and cleared of debris on a regular basis especially when surrounded by trees. This particular roof was covered in extensive tree debris, moss, plant growth, and even puddles from a recent rain. This has caused and will continue to cause improper drainage to the gutter, slope blocking, and it adds weight to the surface of the roof. Water/moisture is the NUMBER ONE cause of damage and deterioration for all homes. All water should shed away from the roof surface and foundations. The ponding water on this roof compromises the integrity of the roof structure and during colder months will freeze and thaw, further damaging the roof. These photos were taken during one of my home inspections on a house that was for sale. As you can imagine, this is not an ideal way to showcase a home and it of course led me to problems in the attic as well. This is a perfect example of how home inspections shed light on concerns around the home - whether you are a buyer, seller, or looking for maintenance issues.
Look who I found behind that screen, tucked away in an attic far from prying eyes. Can you tell by the outline of its pointy little ears? It strikes fear in the hearts (and wallets) of homeowners everywhere ... bats. Now bats in the wild are an extremely important part of our ecosystem and play a significant role controlling insect populations, which in North Carolina is no small fete. But bats in the home are another matter entirely. Having a few take up residence can and usually does lead to many, many more over the years as they build their colony. More bats = more bat poop, i.e., guano.
Bat guano is a carrier of the soil fungus histoplasma capsulatam. The spores of this fungus are microscopic and airborne and they can easily get into the living areas of your home. If inhaled, the spores of the fungus can cause a disease called histoplasmosis, which is an infection of the lungs. Another serious risk from bats, although rare, is the possibility of contracting rabies from a bite.
What do you do if your home has bats? Typically, you would need to hire a professional wildlife removal company. These folks know how to safely and humanely remove bats (if there are a small number) or how to encourage them to leave on their own. In that case, they allow an exit from the home but make it impossible for the bats to re-enter. At the same time, they don protective suits and masks and remove all of the guano. Eliminating bats from your home is not cheap, therefore getting regular home and pest inspections are strongly recommended because we go into spaces that are rarely seen by the homeowner and that can make all the difference when it comes to discovering unwanted roommates.
From Rick & Lori:
Yes, we've joined the 21st Century and started a (mini) blog! Check here for great updates and tips about your current or prospective home.