Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Duct Tape in a Crawl Space? 12.1.12

Nashville Home Inspections - What's Wrong With This Picture? 12.1.12

Look at the picture below. You are in a crawl space looking at the moisture barrier that covers the floor of the crawl space. What's wrong?

HINT: Duct tape really has very little use in home construction.
Duct Taped Moisture Barrier

ANSWER: Moisture does a real number on duct tape. Moisture is common in a crawl space. So using duct tape in the crawl space to hold the moisture barrier to the foundation block wall probably will not last very long. In fact it probably will take just a few days and it will look like the photo below.

Failed Duct Tape Installation of Moisture Barrier
Thank you,
Richard Acree

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What are the most Common Discrepancies in Home Inspections?

2012 Top 10 Most Common Home Inspection Discrepancies in Nashville

10. Vegetation encroaching on the house. Vegetation that encroaches on the home can damage the home, trap moisture against the home, and allow a path for insects, rodents and reptiles to enter the home. Keep vegetation at least 18” away from the home or components.

9. Window and door trim and caulk. Cracks or gaps in the caulk around door and window trim can allow water to penetrate behind the trim. This water can deteriorate the trim and the framing near the doors and windows. Any crack or gap in the trim or caulk should be repaired with new caulk and paint.

8. Brick veneer stress cracks. These cracks are most likely located near the corners of doors and windows, or at the down-slope corner of the home. Brick veneer cracks are frequently an indication of water management failure. Repair any crack in the brick veneer that exceeds 1/8 inch in width.

7. Roof penetration boot cracks. The rubber-like neoprene component of roof penetrations (roof boots) for plumbing vents can crack after about 7 years and cause roof leaks. Use of caulk is only a temporary repair. These cracked components need to be replaced.

6. Condensate drains. HVAC condensate drains that terminate at the foundation wall can allow significant moisture to accumulate at the foundation wall and possibly enter the crawl space. Condensate drains should terminate at the exterior of the home, at least 18” from the home, and to terrain that slopes away from the home.

5. Grading and lot drainage. The grade of the soil adjacent to the home can allow moisture to flow toward the home and weaken the foundation or enter the crawl space or basement and create an environment conducive to mold. HABITEC recommends at least a 6” drop in grade over the first 10’ of horizontal space from the home.

4. Failing roof drainage systems including gutters, downspouts and extensions. Gutters that are full of debris, rusted or poorly sloped can allow water to overflow and drop to the foundation wall or backflow into the attic or house. Downspouts that are disconnected from the underground drainage components can allow water to drop at the foundation wall. Make sure these components are clean and function properly.

3. Inadequate crawl space moisture barrier. Some moisture will inevitably make its way to the crawl space. Having a crawl space moisture barrier of 6 mil plastic covering 100% of graded crawl space soil that slopes to a positive drain will help control moisture that does make its way to the crawl space.

2. Water in the crawl space. Water in the crawl space can cause either structural failure if allowed to pool at the foundation walls or around the piers, or mold to start growing on the wood components.

1. Crawl space mold. Moisture allowed to accumulate inside the crawl space can lead to mold in the crawl space. Forty percent of the air that enters the home comes from the crawl space. Mold can be hazardous to your health. Make every effort to prevent moisture accumulation in the crawl space.

Thank you,
Richard Acree

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nashville TN Home Inspections - What's Wrong with this picture?

Nashville Home Inspections: What's Wrong With This Picture? 11-28-12

Look at the picture below. You are standing in a garage of a residential home looking up at the ceiling of the garage. What's wrong?

HINT: High humidity and cool ductwork can make for a sweaty situation.
Sweaty Ductwork

ANSWER: Sweaty indeed. In this case the ductwork in the garage was installed right over where the cars parked. So guess what happened during the hot steamy months of summer. Condensation. Lots of it. Enough that the home owner took matters into their own hands. Rather than improve the insulation on the ductwork, they just bagged it. What you are looking at is plastic hung under the ductwork to catch the condensation as it drips off. Not sure where it went from there, maybe they just let it build up and later evaporate. Whatever, this installation qualifies for a "non-conventional" grade and a visit from the local HVAC technician. Surely there is a better way to fix this problem. Another picture of a similar fix in the same garage is shown below.
Bagged Ductwork

Thank you,

Richard Acree

Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, and contributing members of the Active Rain Real Estate network, and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings. HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill and more! In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis. Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at http://habitecinspections.com, or call 615-376-2753.