"This Is The Room That Smells Bad"

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

People call me to evaluate many things.  Arriving at the house, an older home, I did a little interview to see what it is that they were trying to describe over the phone.

After the "interview," I always go to the complaint area first.  This was in the basement.  From there I knew where the problem was originating.  So I went outside to see why.

When I saw this gap under the sliding door to the deck, I suspected long-term moisture intrusion and was not surprised, when in the basement, to have heard,

"This is the room that smells bad."

Years ago this newer door had been installed in the rear corner of the house without a proper seal underneath.

When the vinyl siding was hung, perhaps at the same time, no correction was made!

And it is easy to see that the deck was not level, leaving exposed what you see here, so this gap was known about by some "professional" contracting company.  They never bothered to correct it.

Next you'll ask me if I was shocked.

Well, no...

So, is that door-wide gap letting water in?

The left image is of the lower basement corner under that spot.

The right image is of the basement ceiling under that spot.

Cooler locations, and therefore probably wetter, are indicated by lavender, blue and purple.

The moisture meter registered almost 30% moisture.  Yep, that's wet!

So, obviously this moisture, slowly getting in, is feeding microbial growth inside the ceiling and wall below that door.

Hence the smell.

So, going to evaluate one thing, I was able to discover the source and an issue previously unknown to this homeowner.

My recommendation:  when looking for the cause for one condition, often I find it's related to something else not entirely understood or known to the homeowner.  But when the two are put together the problem makes total sense.  People sometimes think I'm a genius when I figure stuff like this out.  No, not really.  I started bowling when I was eight years old, and I am really good at addition!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,629,601
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Yes, way to go Sherlock.  Yes, it does seem that smells are usually associated w/ moisture (and ensuing bacteria or mold).  I hope they can fix this one.

Mar 08, 2012 03:18 AM #5
Rainmaker
984,007
James Dray
Wise Custom Realty - Bentonville, AR
AR., MO., or OK. I can find the home for you.

Morning Jay~I always like to see your widget (don't know what it's called) that you shown in this post.  Enjoy the day sir

 

Mar 08, 2012 03:24 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bonnie - this smelled because it had been going on for a while.  When they had their home inspection this gap was not caught.

Wallace - this is the door off the dining room on the rear corner.  What is Through the Roof?

Kelly - I test for moisture with my meter!  And I demonstrate where it is with my thermal camera.

Mar 08, 2012 03:27 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Great Michael!  Glad you enjoyed it!

Debbie - one thing leads to another.  Just follow the logic.  Sealing under that door will do a lot!

That is a thermal camera James.  Which is almost half price now from when I bought it 9 years ago.  You can pick this baby up for about $8K now.

Mar 08, 2012 03:29 AM #8
Ambassador
1,488,498
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

So Jay, how do they fix it?  Is it a matter of caulking and once the water source is removed it solves itself, or is something more intrusive needed to remove the moisture and also correct the opportunity for the water to get in?

Mar 08, 2012 03:30 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Looked like that area needed insulation inside the door Bliz.  And any insulation in the walls that is wet should be replaced.  Then seal up the gap!

Mar 08, 2012 03:32 AM #10
Rainmaker
472,440
Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com... - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Good morning Jay;  that camera has to be worth it's weight in gold.

Mar 08, 2012 04:11 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It paid for itself really quickly Ken.  Of course, good marketing didn't hurt...

Mar 08, 2012 04:53 AM #12
Ambassador
901,447
Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo

Great post Jay!  You are the sleuth of AR!

Mar 08, 2012 05:32 AM #13
Rainmaker
453,503
John Mulkey
TheHousingGuru.com - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

Jay - Good detective work assisted by the best "tools of the trade." That's why people call you with such problems; they've learned that you'll follow the clues and "nail the culprits."

Mar 08, 2012 08:41 AM #14
Rainer
239,473
Justin Dibbs
United Real Estate - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

I love those cameras!  Pricey, but worth their weight in gold.  On what percentage of inspections do you use it?

Mar 08, 2012 11:06 AM #15
Rainmaker
367,758
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, The old remodeler did not do the job right syndrome. Hmm... never seen that one before. Water is the enemy, again. The worst about these problems is when they have got to this point they could have some really damage associated with it plus a buggy friend or two.

Mar 08, 2012 11:07 AM #16
Rainer
277,279
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties

Jay -- the door installer probably didn't notice it, since he didn't have to lay down on the deck to install the door, and besides the door sill and eaves were supposed to keep any moisture out, aren't they?

Mar 08, 2012 12:38 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Dagny.  I hope you aren't saying sleuth with a lithp.    ;>)

John - one thing really leads to another, usually with direct results!

It is Justin.  It's the sharpest arrow in my quiver.  I would say on a tenth of the inspections.  Should be a lot more!

Don - these guys are everywhere.  Too bad they didn't find this problem when they bought the house!  By the way, I administer the LinkedIn HIP Group and saw your request to join and just pushed the approval button for you this afternoon!

Steven - I wonder if he built the deck too!  It is not level!  I found this by laying on the deck and looking!  That's usually all it takes...

Mar 08, 2012 03:05 PM #18
Rainmaker
634,883
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Water makes mold, who knew. Besides the moisture meter, did you perform the lick test? 

Mar 08, 2012 04:02 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Only when it's fuzzy Jim.  No fuzz, no chicken flavor, so what's the point?

Mar 08, 2012 04:07 PM #20
Rainmaker
1,267,032
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

You are an investigative genius Jay. I love the way you show the details of what you do.

Mar 09, 2012 12:48 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Tom.  If I can lay on a wet deck to see under a door, my camera certainly can!

Mar 09, 2012 02:20 AM #22
Rainmaker
78,050
Eric Middleton
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc. - Uniondale, NY
Professional Property Inspector

Jay - 30% moisture is really wet. Think they may need a mold test to determine if any high levels of mold spores exist?

Mar 09, 2012 06:47 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,240,015
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

For sure Eric.  My meter only goes to 30% because at that level it is active moisture.

Mar 09, 2012 07:14 PM #24
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,240,015

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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