Every once in a while I come across a home with no gutters.
The point of a gutter and leader (downspout) systems is to collect rainwater from the roof and direct it away from the building foundation by means of leader extensions, splash blocks, or underground drain lines.
An improperly functioning gutter and leader system can add to water and ice backing up against fascias and under roof shingles, can damage soffits, and can discolor or deteriorate siding materials. Faulty gutters and leaders can also lead to soil erosion adjacent to buildings and serious water and foundation displacement problems in basements and crawl spaces.
Gutter systems take more abuse from extreme weather conditions, particularly ice and snow, than any other component of the building envelope. They are also subject to damage from ladders and being stepped on, as well as from falling tree limbs and debris.
Gutters should be sloped a minimum of 1 inch for every 40 feet of run. Standing water may indicate a sagging or incorrectly pitched gutter.
If you see a gas fired furnace or boiler in the basement of home that you are interested in purchasing after a home inspector goes through and discovers evidence of an underground oil tank during the home inspection you will need to take some precautions.
Evidence of an existing or pre existing tank can include copper lines transitioning a foundation wall. Exterior fill pipes exiting the ground. Often though the tank was in the basement and removed. The tanks placement can often be found by marks on the concrete floor where the oil lines ran along the floor or the feet of the tank leaving marks in the concrete.
Circumstances can vary upon the discovery of a tank. Some tanks are removed others are filled with sand under the ground.
Active oil tanks under ground can often pose problems. Leaching oil from cracked tanks can cause many problems. Large remediation expenditures are not uncommon. I remember a situation about 25 years ago when a leaking oil line cost over $500,000. to remediate only to eventually result in the demolition of the home.
Today oil tanks are not installed underground. Some older towns like Aberdeen and Middletown will have tanks underground that were installed in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.
I have been told by some remediation companies that all tanks leak. It is a matter of degrees.
For your home inspection call us at 800-989-3872 or visit us on the web at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com
If your home inspector finds evidence of an oil tank you can get the soil scanned by a tank service company. This will let you know if there is a tank anywhere on the property.
As we leave this harsh winter and enter into spring, now is a great time to go outside and evaluate your grading.
Water problems usually become more apparent in summer from heavy rains or after rapid snowmelt during the winter/spring months.
Common issues from poor grading usually lead to; cracked walks due to heaving/settlement, water seepage into the basement or lower levels, standing water, rot to exterior siding, and a continuously running sump pump to name a few.
Today on my home inspection in Barnegat New Jersey I discovered a negatively pitched grade, causing water seepage into the basement and garage levels.
I explained to my client a few recommendations for remediation to reduce or eliminate these issues.
Simple maintenance is the key to maintaining a positive grading.
1. Clean your gutters and downspout
2. Make sure your downspout extensions are attached to discharge water away from your foundation
3. Make sure that the soil is pitched away from the foundation creating a positive slope. (This could be deceiving with mulch and stone creating a positive slope at the top surface, however the underlaying soil is still back pitched towards the foundation. Keep in mind that stone and mulch percolate water down.)
It’s recommended for slope of 1 inch per foot, for a minimum of 5 feet, away from your foundation as a guide to creating a positive in grade.
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Sometimes when inspecting a vacant home in the winter time the utilities are on.
Sometimes the heat is off. That was the case here. With the heat off this Brick home had a copper pipe burst just under the slop sink. The gushing water flooded the empty home. When inspecting such disasters it is important to bring moisture meters, pliers, flashlights and screwdrivers.
My job as the home inspector was to find the burst pipe. The buyer thought is was the in wall supply to the washer. It was not the pipe came right out of its sleeve. The home was mitigated for mold and all the flooring replaced on the first floor.
That cost a lot more than running the heat for a few months.
Visit us on the web at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com or call 800-989-3872
As home inspectors we know that moisture coming up from a dirt crawl space into the sub floor of an average home can carry with it gallons of moisture. Moisture that will be deposited on the sills, joists, main beams and sub floor.
On a recent inspection in Hamilton NJ I saw a vapor barrier that was a bit unusual. It did not stop at the crawls edge. It went up the side of the foundation and was attached to the sill plate.
This barrier will keep moisture from building on the sub floor expressed as mold, rot, white rot and cubicle rot. If the conditions are not reversed the damage can mount to the thousands.
This is a picture of a vapor barrier the way it should be installed.
Call us for your next inspection 800-989-3872 or visit us on the web at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com
As home inspectors in NJ we see asbestos tiles on inspections in older homes. They were popular in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s. These tiles are considered safe when they are not damaged.
Asbestos must be inhaled or injested in order to pose a health risk. If we find asbestos tiles on an inspection we will recommend the tiles be either removed or more preferably covered.
call for your inspection 800-989-3872 or visit us on the web at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com
If the house you’re buying has a crawl space, I’d like to offer the following; A crawl space is generally not the nicest place in a house and as a result, most homeowners don’t go in until a small problem has become a bigger, more noticeable problem such as a plumbing leak, electric , pest, structural, etc,.
During a recent inspection in a NJ house, I found that the kitchen sink had a very slow drain, the visible drain pipe was suspect, but it went much further. In the crawl space, I found the waste pipe below had bad connections, improper pitch and if it wasn’t for the leaks found, I don’t think water would have moved at all! This was all reported to the buyer and repair recommendations made.
A crawl space can reveal many concerns and is an important part of a house and, if present, an important part of our home inspections.
Call us at 1-800-989-3872 or visit us at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com
As home inspectors in NJ we are very busy this time of year looking for effects of ice daming that wicks up into the roof sheathing. This condition occurs after trapped ice and snow begins to melt in the gutters and has no place to go except in. The space behind the gutter is open to the decking under your shingles.
Some roofs have rubberized type membranes installed along the starter course to impede the flow of water into the home. This does work.
Home inspectors have moisture meters to determine if stains are active.
Call us at 800-989-3872 or visit us on the web at www.pinnaclehomeinspections.com
North Cape May, Cape May County, NJ 08024
Pinnacle Home Inspection
Common causes of water seepage into crawl spaces.
As part of normal homeowner maintenance expect to clean and align gutters to allow for proper water discharge away from the structure.
To help prevent water seepage into lower levels of the house or finished living areas, provide extensions for runoff drains and downspouts.
Underground drainage systems are susceptible to freeze during the winter months and should be checked often.
Mention this blog and receive $10 off your home inspection package for the month of March.