This blog is all about home inspections, and the relevant information that people need to know about when considering the purchase of a home. You’ll see articles describing various topics within the inspection industry, along with photos and videos from time to time.
Do you have a question? Just let me know and I can write about it.
Keep checking in to Sean’s Home Inspection Corner because you’ll never know what is lurking behind the next page.
Here is an article about my Mold sniffing dog Marni as featured in the Richmond News for her incredible ability to sniff and seek out mold in buildings…
Click here to learn more…
Why does condensation accumulate on windows and sills in the winter?
The answer stems from indoor humidity levels and temperature. Cold air does not have the ability to hold moisture as well as warm air. In addition, there is always moisture in the home. When this moisture cannot escape, it makes contact with the cold window surface… Now you have a perfect scenario for creating condensation.
Consider this example: When you take a can of pop out of the fridge and place it on the table, you’ll quickly notice water droplets on the outside of the can. (Condensation) The principle is the same, except we are talking about windows.
Other contributing factors include vapor diffusion throughout the home from wet building materials, poor balance of ventilation systems, improper use of exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen, wet items left in the home and, believe it or not… people breathing.
If you are concerned that you may have high humidity levels in your home, you can purchase a hygrometer to measure moisture levels. For our environment in the Vancouver area, a good level to maintain is 55%.
Condensation is especially problematic with single pane, metal framed windows, most commonly found in older homes. When left unchecked, these older window assemblies will result in moisture damage, creating wood rot and mold growth to the window sills and corners. Newer, homes with tight building envelopes experience problems as well when metal framed windows have been installed. Be mindful however, windows are not the cause of condensation, high indoor humidity is the problem.
So how do we solve this problem? The best way is to reduce indoor moisture levels by…
- Removing condensation from windows. On cold mornings, you’ll see a build up of moisture, or in some cases, frost. Simply take a cloth and wipe it away.
- Using proper ventilation when you cook, shower, wash clothing & dishes. All of these activities contribute to considerable moisture levels within your home. So it is always a good idea to keep the bathroom exhaust fan on before, while and after a hot bath or shower for a period of at least 20 minutes. Ensure that the fan is in good working condition and pulling enough CFMs (cubic feet per minute). In the kitchen, it is necessary to have a working fan that vents outside. Recalculating fans do noting to solve your indoor moisture issues.
- Maintaining a warm dry indoor temperature. When the temperature is warmer, less condensation will occur.
- Moving plants away from windows. Plants release a lot of moisture, so it is best to keep them away from the windows.
- Opening windows daily, for short periods of time. The introduction of fresh air into the home will help dilute and allow some of the moist air to escape. If you have the budget, install an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) system.
- Servicing your furnace or boiler. The proper heat distribution balance and air intake for these combustion appliances can affect indoor moisture levels.
- Venting all large appliances outside. Laundry machines need to have all of the warm moist air to exhaust outside. So check the laundry connection points to ensure that they are properly installed and venting outside, not in the walls or attic.
- Installing double/triple pane, low E, vinyl windows. If you have double pane windows that have lost their seals, or there is significant damage in and around the window frame, then I suggest replacement. Vinyl frame windows do not fluctuate in temperature as metal does. Note- Replacing your windows is expensive, so don’t run out and buy new windows without addressing the indoor environmental factors first.
When it comes to maintaining the window sills, be sure to monitor them often, keep them clean and paint only in the summer when the weather is dry.
To learn more about this topic or other issues relating to the home, call me at 604-729-4261 or send an email.
Yesterday afternoon, I made a trip down to the Vancouver Home + Design show at BC place stadium. There were a large number of exhibitors at the show… Everything was there, including home maintenance to cleaning products and food sellers.
If you are a potential or new homeowner, this is a good place to spend an hour to two, if not just to get a few ideas for making your home more comfortable, for that rainy day (which it was of course).
Some of the more interesting vendors/services that stuck out in my mind were BC Hydro. October is Power Smart month. If you go to their website, www.bchydro.com you can save some money on energy efficient light bulbs and learn more about saving energy as well.
Another company that I thought had some interesting products was Garage Guru. They provide excellent storage solutions for making the best use of a garage space… because let’s face it, we all could use better storage ideas for a cluttered garage. The website is http://garageguru.ca.
If you want to engage in a green approach to doing your laundry, check out this company. www.smartkleanlaundry.com. They provide a solution that allows you to do your laundry without the use of detergent, saves money, does not pollute and apparently reduces allergens, just to name a few. They also claim to have solutions for a clean septic system.
Did you know that you now have an option to rent a water heater in BC? This is the first I have heard of this in our province. As an inspector, people ask me from time to time about this. This makes sense for a homebuyer that may not want to pay up front for the cost, or if you are planning to make a move and want to invest elsewhere. Take a look at www.rentatank.ca to learn more.
For those of you worried about mold in the home, Basement Systems Vancouver has a new type of flooring system called “A mold free flooring system”. I have mentioned this company in prior blogs as they are useful in providing solutions for leaky basements & crawlspaces. You can learn more by going to www.bsv.ca.
These were just a few of my personal highlights from the show… but you can take a look at the exhibitor list on the website to find other interesting ideas for your home at www.vancouverhomeanddesignshow.com.
To learn more about home inspections, mold and maintenance tips I am always happy to help you out. Contact me at 604-729-4261.
Recently, I was invited to make a presentation on Home Maintenance for a number of families in the Habitat for Humanity circle of Greater Vancouver. This was a truly a rewarding experience. As a home inspector, I see the importance of home maintenance, especially when it comes to realizing the responsibly of home ownership. It was especially gratifying to see the level interest and curiosity, as I received a number of questions from the families I was presenting to.
I’m sharing this post to give you a better about this organization and acknowledge them for the wonderful work and service they provide to our communities.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization, dedicated to helping low income families find affordable housing. They have a number of programs set up to assist their families with achieving the dream of independently owning their homes.
There are several programs and ways to support Habitat for Humanity… through donation, sponsorship, shopping, volunteering or advocacy.
One of the easiest ways for you to contribute is to shop at one of their ReStores the next time you are looking for a something for your home.
Visit their website at http://www.habitat.ca to lean more about Habitat for Humanity and the many ways you can make a difference.
Below is a brief article about asbestos, courtesy of the Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. I have included it as a resource on the topic for a better understanding if or when you come across it in your home…
If you live in a home that was built before the 1980s, it is likely that you live in a house that contains asbestos.
While asbestos lying dormant in your home may not pose a current health risk to your or your family, it can if it is disturbed. Once asbestos is moved, broken apart or destroyed, its tiny fibers can be inhaled or ingested – and that can place you at high risk for asbestos related cancers such as mesothelioma cancer.
Before asbestos was regulated in the United States, it was used in hundreds of different construction materials. Several companies, including Johns-Manville and Owens Corning Fibreboard Corporation, based their entire product lines on asbestos.
The material was renowned for its excellent insulating ability, and asbestos was incorporated into many common construction products. Those included:
- Roofing materials (felt and shingles)
- Textured paints
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Caulking and adhesives
- Attic insulation (especially Zonolite brand)
- Exterior siding
- Cement pipes
Structural renovations, removing/installing appliances and accidental damage can all disturb asbestos, making it friable and posing an exposure threat. If you live in a house that is at least 30 years old, some of these products are probably in the house structure somewhere.
What to Do about Asbestos in Your Home
Although asbestos cannot be visually identified by the untrained eye, if you suspect that there is asbestos in the home, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself and other people in your family.
A licensed asbestos abatement company can send a trained asbestos professional to your house to identify potentially contaminated areas. The professional can prepare the area for testing, remove a small sample and send the materials to a specifically-designated laboratory for testing.
Homeowners are typically advised not to take samples due to the risk factors. The special training abatement professionals undergoes while earning certification enables them to take samples without loosening additional fibers, ones that may pose a health threat.
If asbestos is found in your house, it is much safer to leave it alone if it is not friable (able to be broken apart by hand) and if you have no plans to disturb it through home renovations. Remedying nonfriable asbestos can create an unnecessary asbestos hazard.
However, friable asbestos or asbestos in materials that are about to be renovated should be sealed off (encapsulated) or covered. These repairs can help keep the asbestos from entering your breathing space.
A licensed asbestos removal company should always perform these major repairs. To learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family from asbestos in your home, please review the EPA’s guidelines.
For more information on this topic, contact the Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
Heritage or Character homes have always been sought after because of their unique charm. When I speak about heritage homes, I am referring to houses that are over fifty years of age. They can also be great investment properties if they are well maintained and in good shape. Usually built with extra large halls and stairways not seen in most modern homes today. Combine that with the stained glass windows and stunning hardwood floors, there is little wonder why older character homes are so appealing. People fall in love when they go back in time after viewing one of these masterful beauties.
Yet, under the cherry wood floors or hiding in the attics can be hidden safety issues that might make you think twice before jumping in with both feet. Listed below are some considerations to think about before making a commitment to one of these historical homes…
Electrical Issues – If the home has been renovated, they most likely had knob and tube wiring at one point. Knob and tube wiring was very common several years ago, but is now considered unsafe by modern standards. Abandoned Knob and Tube wiring is typically found in attics, above suspended tile ceilings, crawl spaces and basements.
You need find out if all renovations were done with permits and inspected properly by the various trades involved. At times, there are still hidden junction boxes and possibly live wires that may have been left there, which could be potential fire hazards. Home inspectors locate all accessible outlets to test the wires to see if they are safe and grounded or not. We inspect the service panels to see if they are powered with fuses or breakers, check for aluminum wires and main shut off locations. In short, older homes may have antiquated electrical systems that need to be updated for safety to obtain home insurance and provide adequate service for our modern needs.
Health & Environmental Issues – Homes of this time period had asbestos in several different areas of the home. They used it as it was durable, inexpensive and versatile in a number of building materials. Areas include plaster walls and ceilings, floors, insulation around pipes, duct-work, attic/wall insulation (in the form of Vermiculite) and exterior siding materials, just to name a few. If the home has not been renovated, and you plan to do so, expect to call in an environmental company at some point to test these materials. Exposure to disturbed asbestos has proven to cause cancer in some people. If left undisturbed, it is much less of an issue. Be sure to do some research on what has and has not been done to the home. Be prepared to invest in making the home safe from hazardous materials. Many of the older homes were heated by oil as the fuel source. Some of these homes have tanks buried in the yard, or in some cases below the home for several years. If not removed in time, they will eventually leak, causing environmental problems. Removing these oil tanks can be expensive, so you need to find out about this. Ask the current homeowners about this. See if you can get them to produce a report stating that it has been removed… or that the property was tested and cleared. Failing this, you can go to the city and ask about this property to see if they have details.
Energy Loss/ Heating Costs – Character homes had several small openings, which allowed more air movement throughout the home, resulting in higher heating costs today. The upside however, is that the wood in the structure was better able to dry after it became wet. You can have this checked out by getting an energy audit. Follow their recommendations for improvements, which will help you save on energy costs. See if the owners have added insulation in areas like exterior walls, and the attic.
Drainage & Waterproofing Problems – Many older homes do not have effective drain tile systems for our modern living requirements. Older pipes eventually corrode from the inside (Galvanized Steel), tree roots can damage or block the pipes and the clay tiles often come apart..
Older basement floors were designed to slope to one corner because they expected seepage. This is why many of the basement floor are not level. Without question, you absolutely must have a functional drain tile. For your peace of mind, I would call in a drainage company to conduct a proper scope check. You will also want to ensure that a waterproof membrane is in place. Perimeter drainage and waterproofing upgrades can be expensive, but these systems are critical, especially if you live in areas like Vancouver where we get a lot of rain. You want avoid crumbling foundations caused by water erosion and leaking basements resulting from lack of waterproofing. On a side note, check all foundation walls for vertical cracks. When left unchecked, they can allow water to seep into the basement. You’ll want have them repaired or check by a structural engineer, especially if they are wider than 1/2 an inch.
Exterior Maintenance/Upgrades – Character homes, especially the ones with wood siding will require regular maintenance to keep them in good shape. Expect to have the siding maintained, possibly every year with water proof, mildew resistant paint. Keep all vegetation at least one foot away from the home to reduce moisture from accumulating against the exterior. Have all areas around doors and windows upgraded with flashings. (Flashing is a weatherproofing protective material designed to redirect water away for the interior structure)
Unsafe Chimneys – Many older homes do not have safe chimneys. Over the years, neglected chimneys may develop cracks in the mortar between the bricks. When this happens, the chimney becomes a safety hazard. So take a look at the chimneys from every angle, looking for cracks or broken bricks. Check the areas where the chimney is attached to the side of the home. You’ll be looking for large gaps, which will need to be examined for moisture seepage and repaired. Also, take a look at the base to the top to see if it is leaning away from the home. A leaning chimneys is a clue to possible structural issues.
Listed above are some of the more important details to be concerned with when buying a character home. For questions on this topic or other home related issues, feel free to contact me at 604-729-4261.
When looking at Vancouver condos, initially, you’ll have more questions than answers, especially in the competitive Vancouver condo landscape. In addition to the wish list, new homebuyers go through a number of challenges en route to making a firm first time home buyer decision. To feel good about your investment, obviously you need to have most or all of your questions answered.
In this piece, I provide a list of realistic expectations, in the form of first time home buyer tips so that you can be equipped with the details you need to know before you make that condo investment.
1. When you buy into a Vancouver condo, you no longer have control over how much you will have to spend on maintenance, upgrades and emergencies. Condo living is shared living, especially when it comes to big repairs such as the roof, exterior building envelope, underground garage leaks, plumbing or unexpected costs.
2. Be prepared to pay more than expected for strata fees or emergencies than listed on the data sheet. Over time, strata fees will always increase and you must anticipate extra costs. Budget accordingly.
3. The minutes you get do not reveal the whole picture. Vancouver condo sellers only have to go back 2 years, so you may not know the true history of the building or unit you want to invest in. When you look through the minutes, pay particular attention to assessments from engineering companies, rehabilitation exterior work or major repairs needed. Fortunately, however, there is new legislation in place for you to get a depreciation report.
4. Be aware that a home inspection for a condo only includes the unit and none of the common areas or even the appliances. Some inspectors will go beyond the standards to put you in a better position to know what you are buying into. By going beyond the standards, home inspectors increase their liability. Be sure to find out exactly what the inspector will do for you in advance.
5. Be aware that home inspectors may not be able to get access to all common areas, even when they go beyond the standards. It is really up to the real estate agent to ensure that the inspector is provided access by asking the strata or property management company what can and cannot be inspected. Furthermore, some building managers have special rules around what common areas, if any can be inspected. So find this out in advance.
6. Be aware of the history of your unit to ensure that any renovations were completed legally & with the proper city permits. On the flip side, if you want to renovate, be sure that you are allowed by asking the strata in advance if such renovations are allowed. Sometimes people buy into condos that have been “illegally” renovated because the seller may not have disclosed this information.
7. Not all Vancouver condo strata boards have property management companies taking care of their buildings. Ideally you want to have a company in place. In addition, you should do some research to find out about their reputation and history. A red flag should go up, way up if a properly that has no history of a property management company… or one that has changed hands several times.
8. Try to be objective and look beyond the aesthetics. Before you make a firm commitment, try to look at it as an investment, before a dream condo. It can be tough, but be willing to walk away instead of denying certain truths. Decide if will you actually be using the amenities like a pool, sauna, gym, etc. Regardless, you will still have to pay for them.
9. If the Vancouver condo is new, see if it is covered by a 2, 5 and 10 year warranty and exactly what this warranty covers. The homeowner protection office can give you some information on this. Find out about the building contractor, and then do some research on the BBB or online to see if the builder has a reputable history.
10. Vancouver Condos built with a stucco exterior, from the late 80s to mid 90’s were the most problematic regarding the leaky condo issue. Subsequently, and due to the age, most major plumbing repairs will need to be addressed with buildings of this age. On average most condominium building copper supply lines last between 20 to 30 years. The older the condo, the more it will cost you over time.
Hopefully, after reading this you’ll have a bit more to go on when looking for your next Vancouver Condo. If you have any questions on this article or any others on my blog, call me or contact me on Facebook. I’d be happy to help you out!
Throughout this article I will highlight the different systems found in the attic, followed by the main problems home inspectors identify during the attic inspection. In order for the attic space to function well, the combination of insulation, ventilation and vapor barrier must work in harmony. However, it is all too common for one or more of these components to be flawed, which ultimately leads to any number of conditions.
The attic is also a space where other systems such as the structure, roof sheathing, electrical, heating and plumbing concerns can be discovered…which makes this space one of the most important areas of the home to investigate.
Structure – The roof and ceiling structure can be seen in the attic. Sometimes we discover that structural members are leaning, broken, rotting, split, sagging, cut or improperly installed. These are the issues that would warrant further investigation or repairs, depending on the specific situation.
Roof Sheathing – This is the main support for the materials that cover the roof, such as the shingles. We look at the sheathing to see if we can notice any leakage, water stains, wood rot or fungal staining. (Mold)
Electrical – It is not uncommon to see electrical wires running through the attic. We want to make sure that the wires have been properly secured to the structural members and out of the way. However, I see wires running in all sorts of directions laid out on the insulation and fully exposed. This can pose a serious fire hazard especially if rodents find and chew on the wires. Sometimes pot lights are covered with insulation, which could be a fire hazard if the lights are not containing the letters IC, which stands for insulated ceiling.
Heating – Chimneys and vents often run through the attic on their way up through the roof. Often, the connections are not secure or the fully discharging out through the sheathing. Metal chimneys could be rusted from condensation or missing a fire stop at the bottom.
Plumbing – Much like chimneys and heat vents, plumbing stacks run through the attic and on through to the outside. Home inspectors pay attention to plumbing stacks that discharge their gasses into the attic area. This is fairly evident from the gas odors… and confirmed when we can actually see it.
Insulation, Vapor Barrier and Ventilation Concerns:
Insulation – The insulation is meant to keep the living space below the attic warm. The most common issues I find are too little, inconsistent, compressed or missing insulation. The main concern is heat loss, which leads to higher energy costs. So, it makes a lot of sense to ensure that the attic space has adequate and consistent insulation. When the insulation has been compressed or wet from leaks or condensation it loses its R-value (The greater the R-vale, the better insulation can resist heat loss)
Sometimes however, adding too much insulation in the wrong areas of the attic can be problematic as well, because it will make the attic colder, but not necessarily limit the moist air that leaks into the attic (this is what vapor barrier is for). As a result, condensation builds up on the wood members because the warm moist air mixes with the cool attic air before it can be vented out. If left unchecked for long enough, rot damage will happen.
In older homes, there is the possibility of finding dangerous insulation, such as vermiculite containing asbestos. When disturbed, the tiny particles of asbestos can get lodged into the lungs leading to cancer, years down the road. For this reason, (a) I always wear a respirator when I enter the attic and (b) I recommend that the vermiculite be tested. If the test reveals that there is a dangerous percentage of asbestos found, then a Hazardous materials company must be called in to remove it. This can be very disruptive and expensive, depending on the time it takes and the overall amount to be removed.
Vapor Barrier – When installed correctly, the vapor barrier is essentially what stops the warm, moist air from the living space from entering the attic from below. In cooler climates the vapor barrier must be placed on the warm side (below the attic insulation). The main problems we find includes incomplete, incorrect placement and vapor barrier that is missing altogether. Really, any opening from the living space below can lead to moisture related problems, depending on the temperature and ventilation in the attic. Some common leakage points include, plumbing attacks, pot lights, vents, ducts and around chimneys. Subsequently, a properly weather-stripped and insulated attic hatch with vapor barrier is one of the best ways to reduce the heat and airflow into the attic.
Ventilation – Proper ventilation is the last piece of the puzzle. The different types of attic vents include ridge, (at the very top, along the length of the roof peak) roof, soffit, and gable vents. Poor ventilation usually happens as a result of improper installation. One condition I frequently discover is when soffit vents have been blocked by insulation. Other times there are not enough roof vents installed. Ideally, about 50% of the ventilation should be located in the soffit areas.
Again, if the attic ventilation has been obstructed or there is or inadequate ventilation then condensation will take place, leading to mildew, mold and rot damage.
I have also seen other problems in the attic such as broken bathroom vents, laundry exhaust vents discharging into the soffit areas, torn vapor barriers, bee hives and other pests, just to name a few.
For more information on the attic inspection, feel free to contact me at 604-729-4261. Also, be sure to check out other articles about home inspection information on my home inspection blog.
A major part of my job involves the interior home inspection. The interior of a home is like a big puzzle where all of the main housing systems fit together to make it work as a single unit, similar to the components of a clock. The interior home inspection provides clues to problems with the main systems, such as structural weakness due to a notched beam as an attempt to make way for plumbing, for example. The interior inspection includes major finishes, walls, ceilings, floors, trim, attached counters & cabinets, stairs, windows, doors, the attic, basements and or crawlspaces as appropriate.
There are a number of different, complex components and systems within a home. The more going on means a greater possibility of issues to be found during the interior home inspection. Some of the more common problems found during the interior home inspection include the following:
1 ~ Interior Leaks – When I look at the many areas of the inside of a home, I can usually detect leaks in the ceiling, in the basement, crawl spaces, walls and attic. The Interior inspection is usually where leakage issues are first detected. They can be caused by a number of different conditions, such as plumbing issues, roof leaks, exterior wall and foundation or cracks or drainage problems, etc.
2 ~ High moisture readings in the bathroom – When I take moisture readings in the shower or on the floors of the bathrooms, it is not uncommon to find high readings behind the finished areas. When these issues are detected in the shower, it is usually due to poor maintenance at the tub wall joints, or within the spaces between the tiles. Over time the mortar cracks, comes loose and allows water to wick in behind the walls. When left unchecked this can lead to moisture absorbing into the structure behind and mold growth. All connection points around tub/showers walls, floor/tub locations, sink surrounds and shower fixtures should be properly maintained via caulking to reduce the chance of water penetration. (This photo on the right shows evidence of moisture behind the tiles in the shower)
The other area of high moisture is usually found on the floor area around the toilet. In this case it is because the toilet is leaking or the drain connection (wax seal) has broken.
3 ~ Problems with floors, ceilings and walls – Cosmetic cracks within interior finishes, such as walls, ceilings and floors can easily be identified. Locations where cracks commonly develop are the corners of doors, windows and walls. Other common, yet less conspicuous interior home inspection issues include creaking, or sloping floors. This is commonly indicative of a structural problem involving the floor joists, beams or settlement. Amateur renovations can lead to issues in these areas as well. When you are considering a home that has been renovated, always ask for paperwork and proof of permits.
4 ~ Faulty fixtures or faucets – The numerous fixtures and faucets found in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry areas usually have at least a stopper that has been unattached, faucets that leak and cracked or broken fixtures, just to name a few during a typical interior home inspection.
5 ~ Dirty, unsafe fireplaces – Poorly maintained wood burning fireplaces can be extreme fire and safety hazards. Often I see rusted out or inoperative dampers, creosote build up (by product of combustion residue within the chimney) and moisture evidence. When dampers don’t work properly, the carbon monoxide gasses can be diverted into the living space, which can be life threatening. Creosote is flammable, and the catalyst to many chimney fires. Prolonged moisture will cause rusted out dampers and accelerated damage to the structure of the chimney. (This photo on the left shows a rusted out damper due to excessive water damage)
Gas fireplaces often have dusty or dirty components under the grill and often do not work when I test them. All fireplaces, whether wood burning, gas or another should be properly serviced for operational and safety reasons.
6 ~ Inoperative, unsafe doors and windows – As I go through the home I check doors and windows to see if they operate as intended. Typically I find sticky doors and windows. In other cases I come across loose or broken handles. When garage doors do not have a “self closing mechanism” this can be unsafe during a fire, or can allow carbon monoxide into the home from the garage. Another frequent issue that I discover includes malfunctioning vehicle safety doors in the garage. Vehicle doors must work as intended or people, especially children can be injured. Older style single or double hung windows can be unsafe. These windows have pulley systems to stop the window from closing due to gravity. When improperly installed or connected, they can close without warning, causing injury. Other issues I find with windows are failed seals, or moisture build-up along the sides and corners. This condition can lead to damage to the interior sills and frame when they have not been maintained.
7 ~ Dangerous or incomplete insulation – The attic and crawlspace areas usually provide the best clues to the type and amount of insulation within a home. Older homes run the risk of unsafe insulation with the presence asbestos in vermiculite (A small shiny lightweight fill insulation material) or surrounding pipes and duct work. Asbestos is dangerous when disturbed because the air borne fibers can be inhaled in and lodged in the lungs. This has and can lead to cancer. (The photo on the left shows Vermiculite insulation, concealed under newspaper in heat register)
With newer homes however, I often discover misplaced or inadequate insulation, resulting in heat increased heating costs.
8 ~ Unsafe stairs and handrails – When stairs have not been correctly measured or installed they can create trip hazards. All stairs must be constructed according to specific dimensions for the rise (height of the stair) and run (length of the stair). In addition to unsafe stairs, I commonly identify handrails that have too much space between pickets, are missing altogether, loose, incomplete or installed too low.
9 ~ Counters and cupboard issues – Although not often, I have come across kitchen cupboards that have not been properly secured to the walls. This can be a safety issue if they were to fall over. Typically however, I find broken handles, stained counter tops and water damaged counters, especially at bathroom and kitchen sinks.
10 ~ Poor venting – Venting is important to maintain proper humidity levels and to remove excess moisture and gasses from the home. Problems occur in attics, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas, walls (plumbing) and basements for example. Typical issues involve detached or broken vents, older, improper or missing fans and outdated venting materials such as brittle plastic vent hoses. (The photo on the right is a vent that has not been properly connected to the outside)
There are numerous possible conditions that can be discovered during an interior home inspection. The actual number and type really depends on the age, size and complexity of the home. Conditions can resurface or more can be introduced over time. As with all complex systems, the best way to reduce and manage these issues is to monitor them and follow an appropriate maintenance schedule for your home.
If at any time you’d like additional details concerning this or other topics related to home inspection, take a look at the various articles posted on my blog or call me at 604-729-4261.
There are many ways to find a home inspector in Vancouver or anywhere else in the lower mainland. The most typical and convenient way is via referral from a real estate agent. Many home buyers rely on this method and leave it at that. By law, real estate agents are required to provide at least 3 different home inspectors for the buyer to choose from. At the end of the day, you as the home buyer should make the final decision and be comfortable with the selection process.
Other ways to find a home inspector in Vancouver are to go on directories like HomeStars.ca or the Better Business Bureau. HomeStars relies on client reviews through a rating system of 1-10. Here you get a whole range of comments from past clients to learn about their experiences. (As a side note, you can find anything related to home services when you look at HomeStars.ca.)
The Better Business Bureau is more of a clinical based report about a business. You can look to see if complaints have been resolved or not. They rate businesses from A+ down to F, based on a number of criteria. The most important consideration here is to see how many complaints there are, and whether they have been resolved or not. Besides these two options, there are numerous other online directories, so take your pick.
You can also do your own research online through search engines like Google. This method is becoming a standard way to find a home inspector in Vancouver, Richmond, where I am based out of or anywhere for that matter.
Local associations, like CAHPI (BC) will have a list of home inspectors to choose from as well.
Obviously, it is a good idea to ask your friends and family members about their experience with home inspectors. Recommendations from those close to you is usually the best way to decide. Failing that, online recommendations from online review sites will give you an objective opinion to help you with your decision.
Look for a competent, ethical home inspector who takes the time to learn about your specific needs and expectations on the phone or email prior to the inspection. They will also send you a copy of their Standards or Practice & contract before the inspection so you have some time to look it over.
So, when you do find a home inspector be sure that your are comfortable with your source and the home inspector you end up choosing.
For more details about this topic give me a call at 604-729-4261 or check out my blog post What is a home inspection? Other details and articles related to home inspection can be found on my blog as well. Good luck with finding your home inspector!