"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


close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the chair to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
WeBlog Anything (almost)!
Professional Home Inspectors
HyperLocal Neighborhood and Community Posts
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Addicted to Active Rain
Tags:
mold
basement moisture
moisture damage
unprofessional installation

Comments 24 New Comment

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,565,040
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT

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.

March 08, 2012 03:18 AM
Rainmaker
947,304
James Dray
AR., MO., or OK. I can find the home for you.
Wise Custom Realty

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

 

March 08, 2012 03:24 AM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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.

March 08, 2012 03:27 AM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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.

March 08, 2012 03:29 AM
Ambassador
1,440,311
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com

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?

March 08, 2012 03:30 AM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

March 08, 2012 03:32 AM
Rainmaker
468,241
Kenneth Cole
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -

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

March 08, 2012 04:11 AM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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

March 08, 2012 04:53 AM
Ambassador
840,528
Dagny Eason
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo
Dagny's Real Estate

Great post Jay!  You are the sleuth of AR!

March 08, 2012 05:32 AM
Rainmaker
453,501
John Mulkey
Housing Guru
TheHousingGuru.com

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."

March 08, 2012 08:41 AM
Rainer
239,373
Justin Dibbs
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale
United Real Estate

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

March 08, 2012 11:06 AM
Rainmaker
358,674
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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.

March 08, 2012 11:07 AM
Rainer
277,079
Steven Cook
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties
No Longer Processing Mortgages.

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?

March 08, 2012 12:38 PM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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...

March 08, 2012 03:05 PM
Rainmaker
626,618
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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

March 08, 2012 04:02 PM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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

March 08, 2012 04:07 PM
Rainmaker
1,188,585
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366

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

March 09, 2012 12:48 AM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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

March 09, 2012 02:20 AM
Rainmaker
78,050
Eric Middleton
Professional Property Inspector
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.

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

March 09, 2012 06:47 PM
Rainmaker
1,218,193
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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

March 09, 2012 07:14 PM
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,218,193

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
You may contact me anytime...
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the tag to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information