The following are narrative examples from the InterNACHI Narrative Library:

Note: - QC indicates that a qualified contractor is recommended.

ROOF

Batch problems (short version)

Asphalt shingles covering the roof of this home showed deterioration typical of batch problems. This condition is not a defect, but a difference in the speed of natural shingle aging due to the use of shingles from different production runs. Shingles appeared to be adequately protecting the home at the time of the inspection.

 

Batch problems (long version)

Asphalt shingles covering the roof of this home showed non-uniform deterioration typical of batch problems. Batches are groups of shingles made during the same production run from the same batch of asphalt. Batch problems are caused by installing shingles from different batches on the same roof. Over time, fairly small differences in shingle thickness or in the composition of the asphalt mix can affect the rate at which shingles deteriorate. The distinguishing characteristic indicating batch problems in strip shingles is the pattern of deterioration. It follows the stair-step pattern of installation. This condition is not a defect, but a difference in the speed of natural shingle aging.Shingles appeared to be adequately protecting the home at the time of the inspection.

 

Algae

Discoloration of the asphalt shingle roof appeared to be the result of algae growth, indicated by areas of reduced growth on shingles located downhill from metal roof flashing. Zinc in galvanized metal-based flashing inhibits algae growth. Algae growth is a cosmetic issue and will have little effect on shingle roof performance.  Improper efforts to remove algae can damage shingles. Any efforts to remove algae should be made by a qualified contractor.

 

Localized small blisters

Localized portions of the asphalt shingles roof had small blisters visible. Blisters are a cosmetic issue and do not cause premature failure of the shingles or affect their performance. They typically appear during the first 5 years after shingle installation, and are often related to inadequate roof structure ventilation.

 

Craze-cracking moderate

The asphalt shingle roof exhibited widespread moderate random hairline cracking that was not continuous through the shingle but was limited to the upper-most layer of asphalt. This condition is called “craze cracking”. Craze-cracking is a natural response to long-term weathering of the shingle asphalt surface layer. It does not limit the ability of the shingles to shed water or shorten their long-term service life, and is not considered a defective condition by manufacturers or insurance companies unless splits through the shingle mat develop before the expiration of the shingle warranty period. Craze-cracking is not a manufacturing defect. In newer shingles it is a sign of low-quality shingles.

 

Old hail damage

Asphalt shingles on this roof exhibited damage consistent with damage caused by hail. The grey color of asphalt left exposed indicated that this damage is old.

 

End of useful life- QC

The asphalt shingle roof exhibited severe general deterioration and appeared to be at or near the end of its long-term service life. The Inspector recommends that before the expiration of your Inspection Objection Deadline you consult with a qualified contractor to discuss options and costs for replacement.

 

Cont. flashing, sidewall- no leaks

Sidewalls on the asphalt shingle roof had continuous sidewall flashing installed. Asphalt shingle manufacturers recommend step-flashing be installed at sidewalls. This condition may increase the chance of leakage. The Inspector observed no signs of leakage that appeared to be connected with this condition. The Inspector recommends that when the shingle roof is replaced, step flashing be installed at all sidewalls.

 

Continuous flashing, sidewall- AHJ req.

Sidewalls on the asphalt shingle roof had continuous sidewall flashing installed. Shingle manufacturers recommend that step-flashing be installed at sidewalls. Using continuous flashing instead of step flashing can increase the chances of roof leakage. Because the home was located in a designated high-wind area, continuous sidewall flashing is required by the local building department. The Inspector observed no indication that this condition had caused leakage.

 

Cont. sidewall flashing: leaks- QC

Sidewalls on the asphalt shingle roof had continuous sidewall flashing installed. Shingle manufacturers recommend that step flashing be installed at sidewalls. Using continuous flashing instead of step-flashing increases the chance of roof leakage. The inspector observed signs of leakage beneath some sidewalls indicating that this condition has caused leakage in the past. The Inspector recommends service by a qualified roofing contractor.

 

Racked

Asphalt shingles on this roof were installed with joints aligned vertically at alternate courses. This installation method is called “racking”. It is incorrect or not recommended for many types of shingles, but required for a few types of shingles. Improperly installed shingles are more likely to fail prematurely or perform poorly. Research required to confirm proper installation of these shingles lies beyond the scope of the general home inspection. Confirmation would require the services of a qualified roofing contractor.

 

Single layer less than 4&12 improper

Underlayment beneath asphalt shingles was installed on a roof with a slope of less than 4&12, but the visible portions of the underlayment were not doubled as is typically required by shingle manufacturers and generally-accepted modern installation standards.

If underlayment has been installed in this manner across the entire roof, this condition will increase the chances of roof leakage.

 

Inadequate headlap (concrete tile)

Tile appeared to be installed with inadequate headlap (inadequate overlap of tiles in adjacent courses). The typical headlap required is 3 inches. This condition increases the chances of roof leakage. Correction would require removal and re-installation of all tile, and the purchase of additional matching tiles.

 

Inadequate headlap (stone slate)

Slates were installed with an inadequate headlap. Slate headlap is the amount by which slates in alternate (not adjacent) courses overlap. Modern slate installation standards specify the following headlaps according to roof slope:

  • 4” for slopes 4&12 to 8&12,
  • 3” for slopes 8&12 to 20&12, and
  • 2” above 20&12.

The roof slope of this home was ____ & 12.

Correction would require removal and re-installation of all slates and would be expensive. The Inspector observed no indication that this condition has caused leakage.

 

Caps failed mortar-bond (clay tiles) - QC

Roof ridge and hip cap tiles were loose, displaced, or missing at the time of the inspection. This condition appeared to be due to failed mortar bond, which means that the mortar bonding other ridge cap tiles to the roof is weak. The Inspector recommends an evaluation and any necessary work be performed by a qualified roofing contractor.

 

 

 

EXTERIOR

Overhanging limbs- QC

Large trees near the house have limbs that overhang the home. Falling limbs due to conditions such as wood decay, high winds or heavy snow loads may cause injury, death or damage. Significant weakening of large limbs by conditions such as core decay may not be visible by persons without special training. Consider having these trees evaluated by an arborist. Evaluating trees lies beyond the scope of the general Home Inspection.

 

Sprinklers water foundation, expansive soil- QC

Landscape irrigation sprinklers were installed in a manner that causes irrigation water to seep into the soil at the foundation. This condition can result in foundation damage from the actions of expansive soil. Expansive soils are soils that increase to many times their original volume in response to increases in soil moisture content, creating forces that can easily damage home foundations. The home was located in an area known to have expansive soil. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified contractor. Consider replacing existing landscaping with plants having low water requirements.

 

Discoloration: aggregate

Discoloration visible in the concrete drive is typical of a chemical reaction between the stone aggregate and chemical compounds in cement. Although currently a cosmetic issue, determining the degree to which this may affect the concrete drive in the future would require a specialist inspection.

 

Weak GFCI response

An exterior Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) electrical receptacle at the _____  responded weakly to testing, indicating that this receptacle was not performing as it was designed.  The Inspector recommends replacement with a new GFCI receptacle by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

Raccoon feces visible- QC

Raccoon feces was visible at the _____, indicating that raccoons have been present on the property. Raccoons can transmit serious or fatal diseases to humans, such as raccoon roundworm encephalitis and Leptospirosis. They can also transmit serious or fatal diseases to pets, such as distemper, rabies, and parvovirus. The Inspector recommends that you contact a qualified wildlife control contactor to discuss methods for discouraging raccoon presence near the home.

 

Bird holes in exterior walls- QC

Holes in the exterior wall-covering material were typical of those made by cavity-nesting species of birds during nesting activities. Birds can be quite persistent in creating new holes once existing holes are repaired. Plastic owls, dangling bright objects like CDs, and recordings of birds in distress are typically not effective long-term deterrents. A good way to help prevent future damage is to attach an appropriately designed nesting box directly over a repaired hole. Nesting box charts are widely available online.

 

Brick damage above windows/doors- QC

The brick exterior walls had cracking visible above window and door openings indicating a degree of structural failure. This condition should be repaired by a qualified masonry contractor before it becomes more serious.

 

Brick spalling- entire house

Brick covering the home exterior had shed its face, the "face" being the portion of the brick that is exposed to weather. This is typically freeze damage due to use of the wrong type of mortar. Although unsightly, this will have only a very minor effect on the structural integrity of the home.

 

Trim overlaps siding (cementitious siding)

Trim at corners, windows and doors was installed on top of siding. This is an incorrect installation method. The manufacturer's recommended installation method is for siding to extend between trim pieces, with a gap left between siding and trim of approximately 1/8-inch. Gaps should then be filled with an appropriate caulking material.

 

Inadequate clearance: roof, 1"- no damage visible (composite siding)

The composite, horizontal, lapped siding did not have the 1-inch clearance from roof-covering materials recommended by the siding manufacturer. This condition may result in some degree of accelerated deterioration of the siding at these areas. No siding damage resulting from this condition was visible at the time of the inspection.

 

Asbestos Siding (short version)

Exterior walls were covered with older fiber-cement siding of a type that commonly contained asbestos. Identification of asbestos must be made by a laboratory. Testing of materials exceeds the scope of the General Home Inspection.

 

Asbestos Siding (long version)

Exterior walls were covered with older fiber-cement siding of a type that commonly contained asbestos. Confirmation of the presence of asbestos in the shingle material would require analysis by a certified laboratory. Asbestos shingle siding, commonly installed in the 1940's and early 1950's, consists of a material known as "Transite". Transite siding is composed of asbestos fibers embedded in a cement medium that prevents the release of fibers into the air where they might be inhaled.  Unless the material is ground into dust by application of power tools or other destructive processes, Transite is not regarded as a significant health hazard.  If you should decide to alter the exterior of the building, removal, handling and disposal of asbestos-containing material may need to be assigned to a specially licensed professional, and such services can be quite expensive. Requirements for removal, handling and disposal typically vary by area. Also, when reselling the home, the presence of asbestos material must be disclosed, and this can adversely affect the interest of some buyers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified asbestos as a Class A, Human Carcinogen, based on inhalation studies.

 

Modern requirements (deck)

Although it may have met with widely-accepted standards during the time period in which it was built, this exterior staircase handrail did not meet widely-accepted current standards.  Standards change over time. Homes are not required to be constantly upgraded to comply with modern standards. Some widely-accepted current standards regarding handrails are as follows:

  1. A 4 3/8-inch sphere may not pass through the guard (handrail assembly) at any point.
  2. The triangular openings at the open side of a stair, formed by the riser, tread, and bottom rail of the guard (handrail assembly) shall not allow passage of a 6-inch sphere.
  3. The handrail should not be climbable (especially by children).
  4. Handrail height should be between 34 and 38 inches from tread nosing.
  5. The handrail should protect the entire staircase.

This stairway failed to meet number _____. All corrections should be made by a qualified contractor.

 

Spaces exceed 4 ⅜ inches (exterior staircase)

Spaces between handrail assembly balusters exceeded 4 3/8 inches at the open side of this exterior staircase. Widely-accepted modern safety standards dictate that a 4 3/8-inch sphere may not pass through the handrail at any point. This condition may be hazardous to small children. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified contractor.

 

 

STRUCTURE

Violated cone-of-compression- no failure- QC

In the crawlspace, digging too close to the foundation footings has compromised the Cone of Compression. The Cone of Compression is the area of soil beneath a foundation that supports the weight of the foundation and the home structure above. This soil should remain undisturbed to avoid compromising its structural integrity. The profile of the weight-bearing soil beneath the foundation is roughly cone-shaped, sloping down and out from the bottom corners of the foundation footing at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.

This condition can lead to undermining of the foundation and loss of foundation support leading to structural failure in the affected areas. The Inspector saw no signs of failure connected to this condition at the time of the inspection. Before the expiration of your inspection objection deadline you should consult with a structural engineer or qualified foundation contractor to determine the necessity, options and costs for stabilization.

 

Temporary posts used as permanent- QC

Adjustable steel posts used as permanent structural support in the basement appeared to be a type designed for temporary support. The Inspector recommends replacement with steel posts designed for permanent installation by a qualified contractor.

 

Crawlspace efflorescence visible

Efflorescence (white powdery deposits) visible on the surface of the concrete foundation walls is an indication of moisture intrusion. Moisture intrusion can affect the ability of the soil beneath the foundation to carry the weight of the structure above and may cause structural damage from soil movement. Moisture intrusion can also damage materials and encourage the growth of microbes such as mold. Efforts should be made to identify the source of the moisture and correct this condition.

 

Advanced decay under sliding glass door- QC

Wood framing visible in the crawlspace beneath the sliding glass door exhibited advanced decay. The Inspector recommends that before the expiration of your Inspection Objection Deadline you consult with a qualified contractor to discuss options and costs for repair.

 

Grade level intrusion- QC

In the basement, deterioration, stains and/or efflorescence on the interior of the foundation wall at the level of the exterior grade indicated that exterior surface runoff is seeping through the foundation wall at this level. The Inspector recommends action be taken to divert water away from the foundation exterior. All work should be performed by a qualified contractor.

 

 

INTERIOR

Misaligned latch bolt- QC

At an interior door in the _____, the doorknob latch bolt did not align with the hole in the strike plate and did not hold the door closed. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified contractor.

 

Cut door bottoms- QC

Interior room entry doors had inadequate gaps between the door bottoms and floor. This condition will not allow adequate air flow between the HVAC supply air registers located in these rooms and the return air registers located in hallways. This restriction can pressurize the rooms, making them colder during the winter and hotter during the summer. The inspector recommends the door bottoms be cut to provide gaps of at least 3/4-inch. All work should be performed by a qualified contractor.

 

Keyed deadbolt- QC

A door to the exterior in the _____ had a deadbolt that required a key for operation from the inside. This condition is unsafe as it may slow or prevent exit during an emergency. Installation of these types of deadbolts is no longer allowed in new construction. The Inspector recommends that all deadbolts in the home that require a key for exit from the home interior be replaced with a deadbolt that operates from the inside with a lever. All work should be performed by a qualified contractor.

 

Risers too tall- older home

Risers at this staircase exceeded 7 3/4 inches (19.6cm) in height. Although this condition is now considered a potential trip/fall hazard, it is not uncommon in older homes such as this one, built during a time period during which safety standards were different from generally-accepted current safety standards. Current standards mandate a maximum height of 7 3/4 inches.

 

Inadequate headroom, less than 6'-8"

This staircase did not comply with generally-accepted modern standards for headroom which require that staircases have a minimum vertical clearance of 6 feet 8 inches, measured from the sloped plane represented by the nose of the stair treads.

 

Improper handrail height- QC

A handrail at this staircase did not meet generally-accepted current safety standards that require handrails to have a height of 34 to 38 inches above the sloped plane represented by the noses of the stair treads.  The Inspector recommends that the handrail be altered or replaced to make it safer. All work should be performed by a qualified contractor.

 

 

ELECTRICAL

Electrical Service Panel

Federal Pacific Stab-lok- QC evaluation

The service panel was made by Federal Pacific and was the Stab-lok model. Federal Pacific Stab-lok model service panels are widely reputed to have a number of problems that can result in a fire or shock/electrocution.  The Inspector recommends that before the expiration of your Inspection Objection Deadline, you consult with a qualified electrical contractor concerning the necessity for replacing this service panel. Information about defective Federal Pacific Stab-lok panels is widely available on the internet.

 

Improper screws- QC

At the electrical service panel, one or more screws holding the front cover in place was an improper type. Pointed, course-thread screws can cut conductors, causing damage that can create electrical arcing (with risk of eye injury and burns), or can energize the metal panel (with risk of electrical shock or electrocution). Blunt, fine-thread screws are required for this application. This condition should be corrected by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

Mounted too low

The electrical service panel cabinet was mounted low to the ground. Minimum service panel heights are specified by the public utility. Confirming compliance requires research that lies beyond the scope of the General Home Inspection. The Inspector recommends that you contact the local power company to determine whether the panel complies with local safety standards.

 

Unfilled openings- QC

Unfilled holes or knockouts in the electrical service panel may allow persons to come into contact with energized electrical components, may allow insect or rodent entry, or may allow moisture intrusion that can cause corrosion of interior components that can degrade electrical connections. This condition is a potential fire/shock/electrocution hazard and should be corrected by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

No main bonding jumper- QC

The inspector was unable to locate a main bonding jumper in the electrical service panel. Main bonding jumpers are designed to electrically bond equipment neutral and grounding conductors and the service panel to the service grounding electrode system. This is a defective installation. This condition should be corrected by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

No bonding bushing- QC

No bonding bushing was installed at the electrical service panel. This is an improper condition. Bonding bushings are required where electric raceway/panel connections are made through concentric knockouts. The Inspector recommends installation of bonding bushings where required by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

 

Electrical Distribution (sub-) Panel

 

Ground & neutrals terminate together- QC

Grounding and neutral conductors in this sub-panel terminated on the same bus bar. In sub-panels, neutral conductors must be electrically isolated from the grounding system components. This condition is improper and should be corrected by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

No GFCI- install GFCI breakers

No Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection was provided to circuits controlled by this sub-panel. For safety reasons, consider having GFCI protection installed to protect electrical circuits serving the following locations:

  • Bathrooms;
  • The home exterior;
  • Garages;
  • Crawlspaces (at or below grade);
  • Unfinished basements;
  • Kitchens; and
  • Boathouses;

GFCI protection can be provided by:

  1. Replacing the current standard receptacle with a GFCI receptacle.
  2. Replacing the electrical circuit receptacle located closest to the overcurrent protection device with a GFCI receptacle.
  3. Replacing the breaker currently protecting the electrical circuit that contains these receptacles with a GFCI breaker.

 

Breaker taped to OFF- QC

A breaker in this sub-panel was taped to the "off" position. You should ask the seller about this improper condition. The Inspector recommends that an evaluation and any necessary work be performed by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

 

Branch Circuits

 

Aluminum wiring- QC (short version)

Branch wiring visible inside the service panel contained aluminum wires. Neglected aluminum wiring connections are a potential fire hazard. The Inspector recommends that you have the entire electrical system evaluated- and any necessary maintenance or corrections performed by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

Aluminum Wiring Hazards- QC (long version)

Circuit branch wiring included single-strand aluminum wiring. Between approximately 1965 and 1973 aluminum wiring was sometimes substituted for copper branch circuit wiring in residential electrical systems.  Neglected connections in outlets, switches and light fixtures containing aluminum wiring become increasingly dangerous as time passes. Poor connections cause wiring to overheat, creating a potential fire hazard. In addition to creating a potential fire hazard, the presence of aluminum wiring may have an effect on your insurance policy. You should ask your insurance agent whether the presence of aluminum wiring is a problem that requires changes to your policy language in order to ensure that your house is covered. Here are the reasons aluminum wiring connections deteriorate:

  • Thermal expansion and contraction: Even more than copper, aluminum expands and contracts with changes in temperature. Over time, this will cause connections to loosen.  When wires are poorly connected they overheat, which creates a potential fire hazard.
  • Vibration: Electrical current vibrates as it passes through wiring. This vibration is more extreme in aluminum than it is in copper and as time passes, it can cause connections to loosen. Again, when wires are poorly connected they overheat, which creates a potential fire hazard.
  • Oxidation: Exposure to oxygen in the air causes deterioration to the outer surface of wire. This process is called oxidation. Aluminum wire is more easily oxidized than copper wire and as time passes, this process can cause problems with connections. Again, when wires are poorly connected they overheat, which creates a potential fire hazard.
  • Galvanic corrosion: When two different kinds of metal are connected to each other a very low-voltage electrical current is created which causes corrosion. Corrosion causes poor connections.

More information is available at this comprehensive website. http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/aluminum.htm

Options for Correction:

The wiring should be evaluated by a qualified electrician. This means an electrician experienced in evaluating and correcting aluminum wiring problems. Not all electrical contractors qualify.  1. At a minimum, all connections should be checked and an anti-oxidant paste applied.

  1. Aluminum wire can be spliced to copper wire at the connections using approved wire nuts (called "pigtailing", not recomended by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.)
  2. Copalum crimps can be installed. Although this is the safest option, Copalum Crimps are expensive (typically around $50 per outlet, switch or light fixture).
  3. AlumiConn Connectors
  4. Complete home re-wire. Costs will vary. Consult with a qualified electrical contractor.

 

Bootleg ground- QC

One or more electrical receptacles in the _____ had bootleg grounds. “Bootleg” ground is the term used to describe a condition in which, in a home with no equipment grounding system and that has had a 3-prong receptacle installed, the grounding lug of the receptacle has been wired to the receptacle neutral lug. This condition is a potential electrical shock/electrocution hazard. The Inspector recommends that before the expiration of your Inspection Objection Deadline, that an evaluation of the home electrical system and any necessary work be performed by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

Light fixture no response

A light fixture in the _____ did not respond to the switch.  The bulb may need to be replaced or there may be a problem with the switch, wiring or light fixture.  If after the bulb is replaced this light still fails to respond to the switch, this condition may represent a potential fire hazard and the Inspector recommends that an evaluation and any necessary repairs be performed by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

Light fixture overheating- QC

A recessed light fixture in the _____ exhibited signs of overheating such as intermittent shut off. Overheating light fixtures are a potential fire hazard. The Inspector recommends an evaluation and any necessary repairs be performed by a qualified electrical contractor.

 

 

PLUMBING

Polybutylene- warning- QC

Home water distribution pipes were Polybutylene.

Polybutylene piping similar in appearance to piping in this home has been the subject of a national class action lawsuit involving certain polybutylene plumbing systems and polybutylene yard service lines installed between January 1, 1978 through July 31, 1995.

The system may become weak and fail without warning with the potential to cause significant water damage to the building structure and personal property.

The Inspector recommends that before the expiration of your Inspection Objection Deadline, you consult with a qualified plumbing contractor to determine the need for replacement of Polybutylene water distribution pipes.

 

PVC improper- QC

Hot water distribution pipes included PVC. PVC is not an approved material for this purpose. The inspector recommends that all PVC pipes be replaced with pipes of an approved material by a qualified contractor.

 

Dissimilar metal hangers, copper pipe- QC

Copper water distribution pipes were hung from hardware made from a metal other than copper. This condition has resulted in galvanic corrosion of the copper pipes that- if not corrected- will cause premature failure of the pipes that will require their replacement. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified contractor.

 

No main cleanout

The inspector was unable to locate a cleanout for the main sewer pipe. Generally-accepted modern standards mandate that a full-size cleanout be located within 5 feet of the foundation in line with the building drain and sewer. This condition may complicate the clearing of any blockages that might develop.

 

Ejector pump lid missing gasket- QC

The sewer ejector pump lid was missing a gasket. This may allow sewer gases to enter the living space and should be corrected by a qualified contractor.

 

TPR termination not visible- QC

The termination point of the discharge pipe for the water heater temperature/pressure relief (TPR) valve was not readily observable.  The termination should be visible to help ensure that the termination is never capped. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified HVAC or plumbing contractor.

 

TPR connected to waste pipe- QC

The discharge pipe of the water heater temperature/pressure relief (TPR) valve was connected directly to a waste pipe. Because the discharge pipe has no trap, this condition may allow toxic sewer gas to enter the living space. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified HVAC or plumbing contractor.

 

WH flue connected below furnace flue- QC

Where the exhaust flue of this water heater and a furnace both connected to a common exhaust flue, the water heater flue connected below the furnace flue. Generally-accepted modern safety standards mandate that when water heaters and furnaces connect to a common flue, the water heater flue should connect above the furnace flue. This condition is improper and should be corrected by a qualified HVAC or plumbing contractor.

 

Backdrafting

This gas-fired water heater was backdrafting at the time of the inspection. "Backdrafting" is a condition in which the invisible, odorless, tasteless, toxic products of combustion from the water heater combustion exhaust vent leak into the living space. Excessive exposure to these products of combustion can result in injury or death. The Inspector recommends that an evaluation and corrections be performed by a qualified plumbing contractor.

 

 

HVAC

Boiler

Displaced diverter- QC

The draft diverter of the gas-fired boiler had been displaced, was improperly aligned and may allow the toxic products of combustion to leak into the living space. Excessive human exposure to the toxic products of combustion can result in injury or death. This condition should be corrected by a qualified HVAC contractor.

 

Hissed at me- BA

The boiler hissed at me for a few moments, then there was a terrific explosion, the cover bounced off the wall behind me, narrowly missing my head, and the air was filled with dust and little pieces of paper gently floating toward the floor. I finally started to get some of my hearing back three hours later but my ears are still ringing twelve hours later. The Inspector recommends that this boiler be used for a boat anchor.

 

No sediment trap/drip leg- QC

No sediment trap or drip leg was installed at this boiler. Sediment traps and drip legs are installed to keep particulates and moisture out of the gas valve. Particulates or moisture in the gas valve can interfere with boiler burner operation. The Inspector recommends installation of a sediment trap/drip leg by a qualified plumbing contractor.

 

Protect radiant tubing

Plastic heat distribution pipes for the radiant in-floor heating system were exposed to damage from abrasion or impact. These pipes should be protected from damage.

 

 

Furnace

Excessive exterior corrosion- condensation- QC

The furnace cabinet exterior had excessive corrosion visible in areas. This condition appeared to be related to condensation, indicating possible improper exhaust venting or combustion. Improper exhaust venting or combustion can result in the introduction of unacceptably high levels of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide into the living space. The Inspector recommends service by a qualified HVAC contractor to ensure safe and efficient operating conditions exist.

 

B-vent less than 1 inch - QC

The B-vent serving as the furnace vent connector had inadequate clearance from combustible materials. B-vent requires a minimum 1-inch clearance from combustible materials. This condition is a potential fire hazard. The Inspector recommends that this condition be corrected by a qualified contractor.

 

Vent- too many bends- QC

The vent connector of the furnace appeared to have an excessive number of bends. This condition may hinder proper exhaust of the products of combustion and result in toxic gases entering the living space. Exhaust vent requirements are determined by the furnace manufacturer and may vary from one system to the next. The Inspector recommends evaluation by a qualified HVAC contractor.

 

Vent discharges into exterior chimney- QC

The furnace vent connector discharged into a brick chimney that was attached to the outside of the structure. This condition can result in inadequate exhausting of combustion gasses to the exterior due to excessive gas cooling. The Inspector recommends that proper venting be installed by a qualified HVAC contractor.

 

 

ATTIC

Purlin bears on ceiling joists- sagging- QC

Bracing of the purlin system designed to support rafters was installed in a manner that transferred the roof load to ceiling joists. This condition has caused ceiling joists to sag. Sagging will probably worsen over time unless steps are taken to correct this condition. The Inspector recommends that an evaluation and any work be performed by a qualified contractor.

 

Poor Top Cuts

Plumb cuts where rafters connected to the ridge were badly cut. This condition reduces the strength of these connections. This is an example of poor quality work but did not appear to affect the structural integrity of the roof framing.

 

Ridge sags- over-spanned rafter ties- QC

The ridge sagged visibly. This appeared to be caused by over-spanning of rafter ties in the roof structure, meaning that framing members (rafter ties) that connect the bottoms of opposing rafter pairs have been placed too far apart. The Inspector recommends that you consult with a qualified contractor to discuss methods and costs for correction/stabilization of the roof structure.

 

No ridge- OK

The home was built with no ridge installed as part of the roof structure. This was not an uncommon building practice during the time period in which this house was built and should not be considered a defect.

 

Connector fasteners undersize- SE

In the roof framing, fasteners used with metal connectors were undersized. Structural engineers perform calculations based on known connector/fastener strengths in designing safe structures.  To perform as designed, metal connectors should have all holes filled with the fasteners specified by the hardware manufacturer. The Inspector recommends evaluation by a structural engineer to determine whether safe conditions exist.

 

Site-built trusses- SE

Roof trusses appeared to have been built on-site instead of being assembled in a manufacturing facility. This indicates that trusses were not designed, inspected or approved by a structural engineer. Trusses that lack proper engineering may be structurally inadequate and have the potential for catastrophic structural failure. The inspector recommends evaluation of the roof trusses by a structural engineer.

 

3/8" plywood roof sheathing

The roof appeared to be sheathed with 3/8-inch plywood. Although this is not considered acceptable by modern standards, it was considered acceptable at the time the home was originally constructed. Houses are not required to be upgraded to comply with newly-enacted building codes or standards. 3/8-inch plywood used as roof sheathing does not constitute a defective condition.

 

Low-quality methods/materials

Methods and materials used in building the conventionally-framed roof structure were typical of lower quality homes.

 

 

GARAGE

No curb at living space

No curb was installed between the garage floor and the floor of the adjacent living space. This may allow moisture from snowmelt or other sources to migrate beneath the wall and damage floor-covering materials or floor structure in the living space. The Inspector recommends sealing the base of the garage wall at the floor to prevent future moisture damage to interior floor materials.

 

Microbial growth- past

Garage interior walls had discoloration indicating possible microbial growth such as mold. Confirmation would require laboratory analysis. This condition typically indicates a moisture problem. The moisture meter showed elevated levels of moisture in the wall materials at the time of the inspection, indicating that intrusion has been recent and ongoing. The source of moisture should be identified and the condition corrected to avoid damage to the home structure and materials and the development of conditions that may encourage microbial growth.

 

Insecurely mounted door tracks- QC

Overhead garage door tracks were insecurely mounted and moved excessively when the door was operated. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified contractor.

 

Button installed too low- QC

The garage door push-button switch was lower than the recommended 5-foot minimum height above the standing surface. This condition is potentially dangerous to children. The Inspector recommends that the switch be raised for safety reasons. All work should be performed by a qualified contractor.

 

No re-connect at testing- QC

The overhead vehicle door would not reconnect after testing of the manual disconnect. The Inspector recommends correction by a qualified contractor or technician.

 

 

LOG HOME

Handcrafted- scribed

The home was of a type commonly called "Handcrafted". The exterior walls of Handcrafted homes are constructed using naturally-shaped logs which are scribed (marked) and cut in a manner which allows each log to fit tightly over the log in the course below. The skill and accuracy with which logs are scribed and cut, along with a gasket material typically installed in the groove between log courses, work together to resist heat, air, moisture and insect movement through the wall structure.

 

Not self-draining- QC

Exterior wall corner notches did not appear to be designed to be self-draining. This may result in premature failure of the wall structure at these areas due to wood decay caused by elevated moisture levels. The Inspector recommends an appropriate sealant be applied at any such corners.

 

Partial detachment, mortar-based chinking- QC

Log wall exteriors had cement-based chinking which was detached in some areas. The overall amount of detachment appeared to be less than the 30% at which it is recommended that all chinking be removed and replaced. The Inspector recommends that any detached exterior wall chinking be removed and replaced with an appropriate chinking material. Before the expiration of your Inspection Objection Deadline, you should consult with a qualified contractor to determine options and costs for this work.

 

No bond breaker installed

Chinking at the home appeared to be improperly installed. Proper chinking method includes the installation of a bond breaker between log courses. The purpose of the bond breaker is to limit chinking adhesion to two points, the upper and lower logs in the course. Failure to install a bond breaking device may limit the ability of the chinking to expand and contract with the logs to which it is adhered. No bond breaker was installed in the representative areas viewable by the inspector. This condition can result in premature failure of the chinking system and the need for replacement of the chinking- a potentially expensive project. There is no correction for this condition, but you should be aware that it exists.

 

Log gables- OK-newer home

Gabled ends were constructed using logs. The home was newer and may experience log shrinkage and the resultant wall settling in the future. This settling will include walls that form the gabled ends. Roof structure problems can develop when the ridge rafter is attached to stable rafters along its length but attached to settling gabled walls at its ends. Although the gabled ends appeared to be in serviceable condition at the time of the inspection, the point at which the roof ridge rafter attaches to the gabled end walls should be monitored annually until the log walls have finished settling. This is usually two to five years from the time of original construction, depending on the wood species and homesite environment.

 

Clearance from grade

Bottom (sill) wall logs were less than the recommended 20 inches above grade. Logs near the ground are more vulnerable to insect attack and moisture/decay problems from splashback and/or snowdrift. You should be diligent in maintaining the exterior finish coating and keep vegetation cut back form the exterior walls.