A common area to find water damaged flooring, underlayment and subfloor is next to a sliding glass door. This is an easy area for water to enter, especially with frequent opening and closing of the door for pets during wet weather. Vinyl floor coverings can peel up and caulking is often missing at the junction with the door allowing water to penetrate to the underlayment and subfloor. This water penetration can occur over a long period of time and lead to rot in the subfloor that is hidden from plain view.
These pictures are from an inspection where the current owner had removed the floor covering and underlayment in preparation for new flooring. The close up pictures show the hidden rot area of the subfloor next to the sliding door. The last picture shows a view of the same area from the crawlspace. The damaged area of subfloor needs to be replaced prior to any new flooring being installed in this room.
Do you have gray plastic shut off valves and supply hoses under you sinks and toilets? If your house was built in the 1970s to the mid 1990s you could find this type of valve and hose under a kitchen or bathroom sink or possibly under the toilet.
The gray plastic fittings in these pictures are made of polybutylene. This was a standard plumbing fixture valve and hose material from the 70s to to the mid 90s. During this period, there were issues with polybutylene supply tubing in walls and crawlspaces developing leaks and the use of this material was discontinued around 1995.
I still run across these type of valves and supply hoses under sinks and toilets. Given the past long term issues and problems with polybutylene piping I always recommend replacing these valves and hoses with modern plumbing parts.
Interesting find at a recent inspection. The armored conduit for the electric water heater was just a bit short during installation. Rather than obtaining a longer piece, the installer decided to substitute duct tape to cover the gap. Though it is the same color as the conduit, duct tape does not provide the same benefits as an appropriate length of armored conduit. This is a potential safety hazard for shock and needs to be repaired. Standard building practices call for the power supply wires to be protected with BX armored conduit all the way to the top of the tank to prevent damage. Duct tape is not listed in the building code as an option.
I ran across an old Cadet model FX-102 in wall heater during a recent inspection. This is an older model of the Cadet brand heaters and is no longer produced due to safety issues. There was a now expired safety recall campaign by Cadet a few years ago where the majority of the units were replaced.
If you have a Cadet brand in wall heater it is a good idea to check the model number against the recalled unit list that is still on the Cadet website. The recall is over for getting a new unit from Cadet but you still need to replace any of the affected models if they happen to be in your house.
Kidde has a new recall on some models of their dual sensor smoke alarms. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a press release with the details.
Alarm Models Affected: PI2010 and PI9010
Dates of Manufacture: 10 SEP 2016 to 13 OCT 2017
Kidde has a website dedicate to the recall with directions on how to check your smoke alarm.
Brick and mortar chimneys are a common site on rooftops of a certain age in Washington State. A common point of deferred maintenance and long term damage is at the chimney cap. This is the mortar cap at the top of the chimney that protects the top of the chimney and bricks below.
Water tends to pool and collect on the top of the chimney cap. This can lead to moss growth and erosion of the mortar which over the long term leads to cracks and cap failure. Eventually the cap will split and be in danger of falling off the chimney on to the roof or to the ground below.
If a chimney cap is at the point of damage like in these pictures, it needs to be repaired or replaced. Preventative maintenance is the regular cleaning of moss and the installation of a rain cap over the flue that extends over the edges of the chimney.
Do you have areas of failing paint on exterior wooden structures? Does your support post feel mushy and your finger sink under the surface when pressed? You may have a problem if you are experiencing these issues.
This is a pretty common problem on exterior wooden structures and highlights the need for annual maintenance. All outside wood structures need to be looked at for failing caulking and paint every year. Caulking should be removed and renewed if found cracked and failing. Areas of failing paint should be repaired and repainted to avoid problems like these.
With the long term neglect of this structure the only real option is to replace the rotted wood and start over again. Putting paint over the top of the rotting wood will hide the damage for a bit but it doesn't change the fact that the underlying wood is structurally unsound.
Flat roofs are not ideal - they have a lot of issues with standing water from easily clogged gutters. Ponding water that remains on the roof will eventually find a way in to the substructure. This can easily lead to extensive water damage. Flat roofs require regular maintenance and need to be kept clear of debris as much as possible.
Brian Jovag, owner of Jovag Home Inspection.