unprofessional work: Gutters Are There To Capture The Water - 09/16/13 04:35 AM
Rain gutters on the side of the roof are reservoirs and the gutters are there to capture the water. 
When water is spilling over the outside, or running down behind there is a problem!  Water not getting to the downspout means the gutter is clogged, or it has pulled away from the house, or the roofing does not extend far enough out to introduce the water into the canal.
When a front porch roof fascia has staining all along its way, stains from water getting behind the gutter, it means that water is not getting to the gutter.  And  that … (39 comments)

unprofessional work: Are You Sure They're Done Replacing The Roof Shingles? - 09/08/13 05:31 AM
When I read notes left for me by sellers or realtors, sometimes I snicker a bit because just driving up to the house I often notice things that preclude what any note might have to say. 
When I read this one:  "Roof shingles all recently replaced by a licensed roofing company," I did in fact snicker.
Whatever they think, it seems to me that the job is not quite completed.
I noticed from the ground that the shingles did not extend 1" over the edge of all the sections above the bay window.
But a view of the roof there could … (18 comments)

unprofessional work: Beware The Repair Receipt From A "Licensed Professional " - 09/06/13 06:00 AM
The longer I am in business the more I realize that we should all beware the repair receipt from a "licensed professional."
A couple of weeks ago I was to do a re-inspection of some work done to correct some serious problems I had identified during the initial inspection.  There were a few posts about that house.
The realtor canceled the re-inspection, saying that they had receipts from professional companies that had repaired everything.
But I got a call from an underwriter to please go back to the house to check a number of things he wanted investigated that were on … (22 comments)

unprofessional work: Magical Load-Bearing Glass Doors - 09/02/13 04:20 AM
Every now and then I see what some "contractor" thinks are magical load-bearing glass doors.
How can that be, you ask?
Well, it can't.  Just because the NEW WAVE of contractors to flood the repair market think doors are magically load bearing, they are not.
Removing walls and structure to "open up" a room is very popular these days!  But structural rules have to be met. 
Mother Nature is the cruelest and most impudent enforcer of her own codes than any government or agency.
My post yesterday inspired this post today.  We'll see what happens over there.
Well I can show … (23 comments)

unprofessional work: That's Right, An AR Ambassador Owes Me Big - 08/31/13 04:50 AM
I didn't even get to set the radon device because, well, that's right, an AR Ambassador owes me big.
THE REALTOR knew I would call following my first inspection to meet her at this house to drop off a radon.  That way we would meet at the same time.  Calling THE REALTOR she didn't answer but I left a message.  I was at the house for a while when THE REALTOR called, saying she was just leaving her house.  Apparently she had just pried herself out of bed.  And she was in a terrific mood!
Sitting in front of the house … (65 comments)

unprofessional work: Homeowner Electrical Wiring Gone Wild! - 08/24/13 04:08 AM
This show doesn't come on as infomercials late at night, but let's call it Homeowner Electrical Wiring Gone Wild!
It starts with a completely remodeled home - new kitchen, new bathrooms, bedrooms redone and beautiful.
There was a new roof and siding as well!
Completely remodeled.
The kids even had their own spot out back, a small deck comfortably tucked into the wooded area behind the house.
But wait!  How could the chillens listen to music and play video games without power in the deep, dark woods?
No problem!  Dad to the rescue!
Thinking carefully, what better way to extend power … (28 comments)

unprofessional work: The Lowest Point Is The Most Important - 08/17/13 04:15 AM
On this pre-drywall inspection, like with every pre-drywall inspection, the lowest point is the most important.
Hence the word "foundation."
If the foundation of anything is weak, or off center, or leaning, or compromised by cracking, or whatever, the rest of the building above is in jeopardy.
This house has a beautiful third level.  Tall, cathedral ceilings and the walls of three rooms come to rest at the top of a single, load-bearing column.
It is located right on top of another single, load-bearing column.
That column in and of itself also supports the intersection of two walls and beams.
The … (40 comments)

unprofessional work: A New Product Filling A Market Need Very Quickly And Very Well - 08/11/13 04:32 AM
Anytime I see a new product filling a market need very quickly and very well, it just brings a tear to my eye.
My client couple and I had been going through a house, kind of from thing to thing, when it came time to go into the attic.
As I did, the realtor, one Miss Kennedy, who, by the way, is walking around like she never had knee replacement surgery (!), and looks great, waited comfortably for the attic information.
There were a number of areas leaking into the attic.
And looking under a couple of those spots what did … (24 comments)

unprofessional work: Driving Miss Cindy - 07/21/13 04:32 AM
Coming from a distance I arrived about 45 minutes early to my inspection.
The house is a ranch tucked into the wood, near a large body of water and off the path.  I liked the house immediately.
Nobody was home and my client hadn't arrived, so I helped myself to the outside and the large crawl space.  It was nearly 100 degrees outside, so the crawl space might be a bit more comfy!
I say crawl space, but much of it is belly space.  But I digress.
From the opening I could see lots of duct work with its insulation coming … (18 comments)

unprofessional work: "I'm Calling Because I'm Not Sure This Is OK..." - 06/27/13 04:23 AM
These calls come in a lot - "I'm calling because I'm not sure this is OK..."
Then she followed by telling me how all three realtors in town she called told her to call me that she could trust me.  She looked me up on a couple of consumer sites (which I never check) and said that my reputation is stellar.  Then she said, "You're famous!"
Aw, shucks.
She had turned on her outdoor hoses for the spring and they were both dripping.  Her house is 29 years old.  The washer assemblies are probably dried out and don't close the valve.  … (37 comments)

unprofessional work: Uh, Oh. New Roof. New Flashing. And sagging. - 06/22/13 02:57 AM
I saw it from the street and then the driveway when I pulled in - and thought ... Uh, oh.  New roof.  New flashing.  And sagging. 
And the flashing isn't done right, it's really high, it covers the old flashing.
THIS IS A PATCH JOB!
The shingles had been jammed under the siding so hard it was bent.  I could see no evidence of step flashing.
I said to my client that I hoped there was no moisture in the wall of the room inside that chimney.
But the sag is pretty pronounced, and measures 2'x5'.
No, I didn't step … (20 comments)

unprofessional work: Crawl Space Water, Trapped More Ways Than One - 06/16/13 04:46 AM

"Completely Remodeled - Must See Inside!!"
- and the first thing I find is crawl space water, trapped more ways than one.
This is a remodeled older house, and advertised all over with signs.
The clients had not arrived yet, so I was making a little whoopi around the house.  Discovering a crawl space I grabbed my light and went in!
There was standing water and mud everywhere, and it was very low, 12"-30", so getting around was going to be on my belly.
Not doing that - who knows what is in that water!  This is the beginning of … (13 comments)

unprofessional work: Biff, "Should We Screw It Or Glue It?" Boff, "Aw, ... - 06/09/13 03:42 AM
I love looking in a bathroom, seeing a creative toilet installation, and imagining the contractor's conversation - Biff, "Should we screw it or glue it?" Boff, "Aw, screw it.  Just glue it!"  
When you go into a bathroom adorned with new vinyl flooring, and see the toilet set up on shims, with the cap stuck up with a really long screw and the toilet wobbles dramatically, you know you are dealing with creativity!
There's simply no other word for it.
Imagine people using this toilet for a while!
In no time it will be cracked, or leaking, or whatever.
Properly … (21 comments)

unprofessional work: Is The Garage Original To The House? - 05/16/13 03:39 AM
Once inside and talking about the hideous and sagging framing, my client asked me, "Is the garage original to the house?"
Built in 1955, it was obvious that the roof was original as it tied into the main house roof framing and was exactly the same. 
But the garage had a different "ceiling" if you can call it that and side walls.
I suspected that given what I saw the house originally had a carport, which at some point they closed in, creating the "garage."  But then they closed that in too, and the garage door looked like it had not … (33 comments)

unprofessional work: The "I Don't Care" Attitude In New Construction - 'Nuff Said - 04/25/13 05:29 AM
This beautiful, oak staircase fully demonstrates the "I don't care" attitude in new construction - "nuff said.
You will notice that there are brads shot into the wood.
They are NOT at the pre-drilled points, already provided by the staircase producer who is obviously trying to be careful to protect his work.
The photo below accurately describes what the subcontractor has done, and what he has done all over the staircase.
THAT is a pre-drilled hole!
Notice, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the brad BESIDE the pre-drilled hole!
What the manufacturer is intending is that a finish nail be inserted … (16 comments)

unprofessional work: Bathroom Vent Hanging By A Thread ... Um, I Mean Glue And Tape - 04/24/13 01:50 AM
What do you say when you see a bathroom vent hanging by a thread ... um, I mean glue and tape?
As I am doing a pre-drywall inspection I am walking around talking.  It is virtually a running commentary, and I love to point out the good things I am seeing.
In this house there were two upstairs bathrooms and one of my comments regarded how well the bath vent housing was installed.
Coming around to the other bathroom the vent housing was hanging at a severe angle.
The bottom was sticking way out.
It was one of two vents servicing … (25 comments)

unprofessional work: Floating Porch Corners - 04/22/13 02:44 AM

Yes, despite everything I saw I was particularly struck by the floating porch corners. 
Sure, the new porch lacked lots of things, like a permit for instance.
The sides are 34" off the ground, so guardrails would be needed.
The stairs are 65" wide, so a handrail would be needed on both sides.
The stair heights are erratic, ranging from 5 1/2" to 8 1/2".  Stair heights should not vary very much, no more than a quarter inch or so (technically 3/8").  Consistently the same height is most desired. 
The stairs are not level.
We can see all this.  … (28 comments)

unprofessional work: Do You Consider This To Be "Custom" Wood Work? - 04/15/13 02:47 AM
When custom builders advertise their specialties, like custom wood work, I wonder - do you consider this to be "custom" wood work?
One of the stated specialties is the staircase.
Staircase carpentry has to be very specific and defined.  The wood should all line up and match up.
Lines and mitered joints should be straight and true.
The left photo shows a gap present in five or six stairs, between the tread and riser.
This gap is nearly 1/2"!  Sure it could be covered with a piece of quarter round, but that covering would be present randomly and quite ugly.
(42 comments)

unprofessional work: Glue It And Screw It! - 04/07/13 04:43 AM
When it comes to some finish carpentry sometimes you glue it and screw it.
When it comes to assembling furniture sometimes you glue it and screw it.
When it comes to making a wooden toy sometimes you glue it and screw it.
However, when it comes to vinyl siding, if you need to repair it, NEVER DO YOU GLUE IT AND SCREW IT!  
Siding is literally "hung" on the wall of the house with special nails, which leave the head exposed about 1/4".  That allows the siding the ability to expand and contract.  A strip of vinyl siding can expand … (18 comments)

unprofessional work: One Year Warranty Inspection - The Office Is Really Hot And Cold - 04/06/13 02:39 AM
This is what my client said to me when I asked how the house was doing just before my one year warranty inspection:  the office is really hot and cold. 
They had told me that over the phone too, so, in anticipation, I brought Mighty Mo!
The office was very hot last summer, but they thought it was because it is on the south side of the house.  That is a logical conclusion.
But then this winter it was exceptionally cold!
What gives?
This is one of a couple of thermal images of the exterior wall in that room.
That … (28 comments)

 
Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) Rainmaker large

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bristow, VA

More about me…

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Address: 12315 Sherborne Street, Bristow, VA, 20136

Mobile: (703) 585-7560

Office: (703) 330-6388

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An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.


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