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Things I've Seen

This roof should have been replaced about 5 years ago. There is a high risk that it is already leaking, damaging the roof deck and possibly the framing as well.


Here you can see how downspouts that discharge onto roofing damage the roofing. You can see how the area downhill of the downspout is more worn than the rest of the roof.

You can expect this patch job to leak. Tarring does not replace proper flashing very well.


And then there are the guys who obstruct a valley with something like a chimney or a plumbing vent.

Even new houses have roofing problems. This is a good example of how to incorrectly install shingles--the nails are in the tar strip.


These shingles are correctly installed. Note how the nails are just below the tar strip.


Yes, there is a drainage problem, but that's the small problem. The big problem is the stucco. This is a perfect example of what happens when stucco is mixed improperly. Installers will increase the amount of sand in the mix to reduce costs and make it easier to apply. The problem is the stucco is then soft, easily damaged, has a shorter lifespan and, as you can see it absorbs a lot of water which stains the stucco. I suspect we have damage behind this stucco.


This is what improperly mixed stucco looks like after 20 years.

Structure: Foundation Cracks
Some foundation cracks, called shrinkage cracks, are of no great concern. They occur when the concrete shrinks, they are uniform in size, and they don't get any bigger. This crack is a structural crack. It gets larger from bottom to top, and occurs near a corner of the foundation. The crack also appears to be fairly new. It is possibly the result of the very heavy concrete step hanging on it. The cause will have to be further investigated. The edges are sharp and not weathered. Repair cost will be significant.


Structure: Over Spanned Beam
The span of this beam measures 19 feet. It is an excessive span for a beam of this design (3X2X10). There was also evidence that a support post had been removed. If not repaired, this could lead to sagging of the floor and potentially distortion of the building. Repair is simple. Replace the post.

The mortar is missing and the firebrick is falling out of this fireplace. It is dangerous, and should not be used until it is repaired by a qualified mason. This will be a moderate repair cost.


Plumbing: Galvanized Supply Pipe
Old galvanized steel plumbing supply lines that are rusted and leaking should be replaced as soon as possible. The steel in the pipe has rusted to the point that the pipe is leaking at the threads. Because the threads are cut into the pipe, they are the thinnest part of the pipe. The pipes are rusting from the inside. The pipe will soon give way and water will be pumped into the house until the valve is turned off. Replacing these pipes is a significant repair cost.

Plumbing: The "S" Trap
This is an "S" trap. An "S" trap is susceptible to siphoning out the trap when drained. A correct "P" trap has a vent on it to prevent siphoning out. This is easily repaired, but is a sign that plumbing was not done by a plumber. There is probably more. There is also an unsealed opening to the sewer system, allowing sewer gases to enter the house. The little white pipe is a condensate drain.


Electrical: The 60 AMP Service
This is a 60 AMP Service . These services are considered obsolete, except in rare circumstances. They should be replaced, and most insurance providers insist on it. The replacement cost is significant. The panel, the breakers, the service wire, the mast, and in some cases the feed wire from the transformer to the mast head must be replaced. The supply wiring in the house can usually be reused.

Electrical: Exposed Wiring
The wiring under this kitchen sink is not shielded. It is therefore susceptible to mechanical damage. If it is hit with something sharp, the person holding the sharp object could be shocked. Damaged wire can also create high resistance in the line, potentially leading to a fire. Repair is quite simple, but this indicates that electrical work was done by someone other than an electrician. There may be more.


Heating: Asbestos
This chimney appears to be made of asbestos. Testing is required to verify. Asbestos has been shown to seriously damage your lungs, if it gets airborne. This is quite exposed and could easily become airborne. This chimney should be removed, by a qualified asbestos removal firm. Removal of asbestos is very costly.

Heating: Venting
This vent pipe from the hot water tank is not sloped. Vent pipes must be sloped to ensure that flue gases rise to the chimney. If they are not sloped flue gases can back up through the vent hood on top of the hot water tank, and into the living space. This is an easy and inexpensive repair, but an important one. This hot water tank was probably not installed by a plumber or gas fitter. This was the first clue, other faults were found with the installation.


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