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.
Hey buddy! Made a new friend at yesterday's inspection. This tortoise was living a grand life. I'd much rather run into friendly fellas like this than some of the critters and insects I see every day but nothing really phases me anymore (except maybe really large poisonous snakes who think I look tasty). My attitude is that if I can squeeze into it or get up there, I'm going to inspect it. The more I see, the more informed you'll be which is probably one reason our clients love us. I take my time and give you the full inspection you deserve without being rushed. Slow and steady wins the race, right buddy?
Think you can spot moisture intrusion with the naked eye? Not always. The picture on the left is a seemingly dry crawl space wall and floor. However, when viewed through the thermal imaging camera, you can see all the areas of blue which may indicate moisture intrusion. A wood moisture reading is taken in that area which confirms high levels (anything above 14% is considered high moisture content). These three tools (visual inspection, thermal imaging, and moisture reader) provide excellent information about moisture in your crawl space and other areas. Remember, water is the #1 enemy to your home. Call us at 919-914-0606 or schedule online for a thorough inspection using modern equipment and reporting software with videos. www.dohertyhomeinspections.com
What a treat it was to inspect this house built in 1750 - yes, 1750! Before we were even an independent nation. There were some issues, of course, and new additions and upgrades. But overall, the craftsmanship and quality from 270 years ago was just incredible. In addition to this home, last week I also inspected homes built in the 1920's, 50's, 90's and two new construction homes. I love seeing how styles, methods, and materials have changed over the decades. Call me or schedule online at www.dohertyhomeinspections.com and I'll be happy to check out your home too!
Gutter Guards/Leaf Filters ... do they work? What is your experience with them?
Despite the August heat, fall will be upon us soon and with that comes what seems like 10 million falling leaves. Many homes now have gutter guards on them, ideally to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating inside the gutters. But do they actually work? We have spoken with several installation experts and although they could certainly be biased, we did get surprisingly candid responses. The short answer is - it depends. If you have just a few trees with big leaves (like oaks or redbuds) near your house, gutter guards will likely do a fine job. If your house is surrounded by pines, then these guards may not be right for your home and may actually cause more issues since the pine needles tend to get trapped in the guards and clog them, which means water just runs in sheets off your roof (eliminating the whole purpose of having gutters in the first place). Whether or not you have guards, you still need to clear your gutters/guards a few times a year for optimal maintenance and to help keep your home's #1 enemy - water - away from the siding and foundation.
The woes of a wet crawl space... A high moisture reading of 32% was noted on the flooring structure in this crawl space. Typical industry standards state that wood flooring structures should be between 9% to 14%. High levels of wood moisture can cause warping, cracking, buckling, diminished wood strength, and fungal growth. Since crawl spaces are not usually entered very often, it is very important to periodically check the moisture levels which is something we do during every home inspection. Call us at 919-914-0606 or schedule online for your complete home evaluation.
This image can strike fear in the hearts of buyers, sellers, and agents alike. The issue here is called "stair stepping cracks" and they can occur in any foundations with joints and mortar (brick, cement). The good news is that stepping cracks are not an automatic deal-breaker. They CAN be repaired in most cases. The key is to having a foundation professional (typically a structural engineer) evaluate the structural integrity of the foundation and of course, the home above it. All homes settle and shift, so it's not uncommon to see these kinds of cracks in older homes, especially near the corners. If an engineer deems the structure to be sound, that clears the way for repairs and a smooth buying and selling experience. Call us at 919-914-0606 or schedule online to help ensure you have this type of important information before you buy OR sell!
May is National Deck Safety Month - and there is a reason deck safety gets a whole month. Nearly 5 in 10 decks are past their useful life and need to be repaired or replaced. Frankly, from a home inspection standpoint, decks in North Carolina almost always seems to have issues and some of them are severe. Common defects include rotting/soft wood (very common in the humid south), separating or split board planks, and overall structural weakness or instability. It is very important to have your deck, steps, and railings inspected on a regular basis to make sure everything is in good shape. Natural wood decks also need to be regularly maintained with cleanings and stain or sealant. Without regular maintenance and inspections, your deck could become dangerous and fail, causing property damage - and much worse - possibly harming you and your family. Deck inspections are included in our home inspections so call us at 919-914-0606 or schedule online and start enjoying your deck this summer knowing it's safe for everyone.
Your home has a relentless enemy - do you know what it is? Water, water, water.
Did the recent heavy rains turn the leaves in your gutters into mush? It's very important to make sure your gutters are clear and that the water that accumulates has a way to exit down and away from your home. Maintenance home inspections not only check your gutters, but also your downspouts, soffits and fascia, siding, crawl space, foundation and grading, all to make sure your home is adequately moving water AWAY from it. We cannot stress enough how much water is the worst enemy of your home. Call us at 919-914-0606 or book your inspection online - we are OPEN for business and exercising all recommended safety precautions. Be well!
Can you tell what is going on in this crawl space? Notice the dark spots on the foundation wall and the white wave-like deposits directly under the dark spots? Those white deposits are salt/mineral stains and are a phenomenon called "efflorescence". Efflorescence is found when conditions inside the foundation are repeatedly wet and dry from water infiltration. Water is the number one enemy of your home and you definitely do not want any inside your crawl space. Direct water penetration into the crawl space (from cracks in the foundation, leaks from plumbing pipes, missing/inadequate vapor barriers, etc.) can damage the foundation and wood structure, and create an undesirable environment in the living areas that encourages insect and fungal growth such as mold/mildew. It's a good idea to have annual inspections of your crawl space performed - especially after the kind of rain we have received lately. This kind of home maintenance can save you thousands of dollars down the road and help keep your home (and the air in it) safe.
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.
What an attentive audience! I had fun presenting to the residents of Fearrington Village who are considering selling their homes. They asked great questions about what a home inspector does, what to expect on reports, and how to make quick and easy fixes to your home before listing. For example, making sure your light bulbs work (inside AND outside), clearing your gutters and extending your downspouts 3-6 feet away from your home, trimming back all tree branches and shrubs so that nothing touches your home, and having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level are smart and simple ways to prepare! For additional tips and to schedule a pre-listing or home maintenance inspection, give us a call!
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.