All posts by DavidFairbairn

Surrey New Roof Inspection

We recently had the opportunity to review a newly-installed roof in Surrey, BC, installed by local roofer Vantage Roofing. Vantage has been installing mostly shingle roofs in the lower mainland BC for a while now, and we were curious how their latest roofing job would turn out.

The home was a 2-level, single family home, which was particularly tall, due to the height of the ceilings. This is a tricky roof to access under normal conditions, however especially so under the challenging conditions of heavy rain and mud.

Design & Features

This was an architecturally complex roof, with a medley of slopes, wood-framed chimneys, and standing-seam metal roof sections. Due to the complexity, the roof presents a large number of potential leakage points. This level of complexity often challenges even the most experienced roofing professionals.

Materials & Installation

The selected shingles were Malarkey brand laminate "dimensional" fiberglass shingles. Malarkey shingles have a reputation for being durable, and good value for the money. Beneath the shingles was a synthetic underlay over sturdy 5/8" plywood sheathing.

In inspecting the nail pattern, a critical element in roofing, we noted that a standard 4-nail pattern had been adhered to. For those unfamiliar, this pattern ensures the shingles remain firm against adverse weather conditions. The alignment of the nails along the nailer line and the effective fusion of thermal strips were satisfactory.

Venting & Protection

The chosen venting solution, Duraflo box-style vents paired with soffit venting, looked up to snuff. However, it's always wise to ensure attic airflow remains unhindered. Vantage Roofing's choice of employing an ice and water shield membrane, especially around roof penetrations and valleys, was reassuring. In layman's terms, this shield acts like a safety net, reducing the chances of water damage if any part of the roof were to falter.

Finer Details

"W" metal valley flashings were installed at the valleys. These flashings, which guide rainwater off the roof, were neatly aligned with no signs of damage. A particular chimney, however, caught my attention due to its location in a valley – a spot that often poses a higher risk for leakage. While the flashings appeared well done, there was some minor construction debris and building paper adjustment required.

Further, while the metal roof ornaments seemed well-fastened, we couldn't help but notice sharp edges on the rear metal roof. These could potentially harm the protective membrane around them and would benefit from some rectification.

Recommendations & Reminders

While the roof appeared be performing well, especially in heavy rain, there were a few areas that required attention:

A ridge cap flashing needs improvements to ensure maximum protection against water.

While the rear rain channel (which directs runoff into the gutter) functioned efficiently, it's essential to keep it clean for optimal performance.

At the front lower roof, flashings should be better integrated behind the stone cladding to prevent potential water intrusion.

For those unfamiliar, "kickout flashings" are essential elements that direct water away from walls. In this case, larger kickout flashings are recommended to ensure water doesn't breach the wall cavity.


Overall, seeing a brand-new roof take on the fury of a heavy downpour is the ultimate litmus test. Vantage Roofing has installed a roof that will protect the homeowners from the elements well, and last decades. The majority of the installation was top-notch, reflecting the expertise of the team behind it. A few areas need some tweaks, but nothing out of the ordinary for a new construction. 

For the homeowners, this inspection promises peace of mind, knowing that their new roof is prepared to stand the test of time and weather.

Remember, no roof, or home for that matter, is entirely flawless post-construction. Regular maintenance and minor touch-ups are part and parcel of homeownership. So, hats off to Vantage Roofing for their impressive work, and to all the future homeowners: may your roofs always keep you safe and dry.

J Thompleson in Coquitlam Just Reviewed Us on Homestars!

Thanks to J. Thompleson in Coquitlam for our latest Home Inspector Review!

We did a home inspection for J. Thompleson’s new purchase – a detached home in Coquitlam, which was built in 1986.

Home Inspector Review Coquitlam

“Fairbairn Home and Building Inspection did an inspection of our new home to ensure we weren’t buying a lemon. He went into great detail about the issues he discovered and walked us through everything we needed to know to remedy them. He was friendly and his expertise was evident. I would highly recommend him for any and all home inspections :)”

Saving Home Buyers Money

We were able to save the buyers money on their Hot Water Tank, Leaking Plumbing and a failed Microwave that needed a control-board replacement.

Call us today to book your next inspection! 604 395-2795

New Customer Review from Erik P. in New Westminster

Thanks to Erik for writing our latest review on

“My wife and I purchased a fixer-upper home that required much work and we wanted to get an idea on which repairs we needed to tackle first before the cosmetic upgrades. We hired David and he was very thorough and very knowledgeable.

He discovered some foundation settlement, in the corner of the house, that showed signs of possible movement causing the floor to sink 1 inch. He suggested to get it reviewed by a concrete specialist for stability before any renovations take place.
Walking through the inspection with David was a pleasure as he educates you on his findings and gives you maintenance tips. I HIGHLY recommend David for any type of home inspection. Worth it!”

-Written by Erik P. in New Westminster, BC

Erik called me to inspect his home after he had already purchased it; he was bidding in a multiple offer situation and didn’t want to risk adding a subject to his offer. The inspection was to help establish what needed to be done to the home prior to renovating it.

The inspection turned up some settlement issues at the front corner of the home, as well as some electrical safety concerns – about one third of the home’s receptacles were wired with reversed polarity. Reverse-polarity receptacles may cause premature appliance failure, as well as potential shock when the occupants of the home try to change a light bulb. The normally neutral screw cuff becomes energized!

I was able to give him some advice/maintenance tips on upgrading his hot water tank, as well as maintaining his 15 year old furnace. We also found several minor recommendations for the newly-installed roof , such as sealing flashings and modifying the range hood exhaust duct.

The full review (and our other 127 reviews) can be found here!

Inspecting a 1960’s West Vancouver Home – Fairbairn Inspection Services

Hi this is David from Fairbairn Home Inspections and today we’re doing an inspection on a 1960’s home in West Vancouver, so let’s go see what we can find. Ok, so here we are at the roof, we’re having a look at these asphalt shingles. This is a fairly cheap material, it’s just a pre-fab asphalt shingle, these typically last about 15 years, still a lot of granule cover on them. If we go up to the ridge caps, they are in poor condition, you can actually see that they’re dried out and they’re getting of loss of coating here, so they going to need replacement soon. And if we come over here to the chimney, we can see that somebody’s actually got a big piece of concrete here. I believe the chimney has leaked in the past and looks like there’s probably some damage below this concrete here. There is also a couple loose bricks at the chimney, so we’re going to need to get these repairs because a loose brick is not safe, it could fall on somebody.

So here we have an awning which is installed over top of the deck and it’s been installed on the roof shingles, you can see the stand-offs at the top there and if you look at the door below we can see some signs that it’s been leaking. There are some water stains, it’s actually been dripping off the front of the door.

Here we are at the back of the house and we’re having in a look at an addition which is actually leaking, if we go inside there’s actually a lot of mold in this wall right here and the reason is because they’ve let the vegetation and the soil get higher than the base of the wall. So there is water leaking in and they’ve actually had pooling water in the back corner and to also make it worse, is there are a couple of downspouts near by that are actually pouring water around the foundation wall. So we’re going to need a drainage company to come in, clear all this out, improve the grading so the water will drain away from the house and then we’re going to need some drywall repair inside and I’ll show you that in a moment. And here’s the other side of the wall and if we look, there’s actually quite a bit of mold growth at the base of the wall and if we take our moisture meter, it’s going to tell us if it’s wet or not. It’s actually really wet but we’re just going to show you, so we just put the pins in and we can see that it’s very, very wet. This is actually black mold.

One of the tell tale signs of a structural problem is all the doors in the house will actually close by themselves in the same direction and it actually latches too.

Hi, we’re here at the front of the house and one of the issues in this house is there’s some settlement going on with the structure and you can see right here you have some brick and cracking and going up the side. It has been painted over and the it opened up again. That’s one of the signs that it’s still moving. If it’s been painted and then the cracks open back up again, it may be an active settlement and if we come over to the side here a lot of this brick here by the window is cracked as well. There is actually some sinking going on in the living room. So we’re probably going to need a foundation contractor to come and have a look at this house.

Here is a really common issue I find with dishwashers. When you have a stone countertop, you cannot bolt the dishwasher to the counter and so there are no anchors to hold the dishwasher in place and if you push down on the door, look what happens. It actually rolls forward and that could hurt somebody, so we’re going to recommend they install some screws. It’s a really easy job, and it’s one of the safety items we look for.

And here we have a sink that’s actually leaking, dripping down from the bowl above. It’s one of those clear glass type sinks and usually they’re not mounted very well. This one is actually quite loose andy may be related to why it’s dripping. One of the things I always do is fill up the entire sink and then drain it, sometimes if you just run water into the sink a little bit, it won’t leak but when you push the stopper in fill it up and drain it down at the same time, it’ll actually start to leak. That’s one of the checks we do with every home inspection.

Thanks for watching. If we can help you with a home inspection, give us a call anytime at 604-395-2795 or you can visit us at

News: Fairbairn Inspection Services Featured in Dirks Real Estate Team Newsletter

In November, Fairbairn Inspection Services was featured in Mike and Jennifer Dirks’ Real Estate newsletter as a recommended Home Inspector!

Thanks to Mike, Jennifer, and Oakwyn Realty, for trusting us to take great care of your clients!

A copy of the newsletter is below:

Insider Tips for Healthy, Wealthy and Happy Living – View in browser
Mike & Jennifer Dirks’s…
Service For Life! ®
Inside This Issue…
  • How Safe Is The Bottled Water You Drink…
  • What To Do If Someone Is Following You…
  • Fun Facts and Laughs: 3 Ideas For Happier Holidays, Homemade Flu Fighter, Websites For Medical Advice, And More…
  • Trivia Challenge: Win 2 Movie Tickets
  • Real Estate Q&A: What Do I Need To Know About Negotiating When Selling My Home?
If you’re not already a subscriber to our free e–newsletter email us to sign–up
Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 10.53.04 Mike & Jennifer Dirks
Oakwyn Realty
Phone: +17789971890

“Life is good. Live Your Dreams!”
Dear Friend…

In today’s Service For Life!® Free consumer newsletter, you’ll learn three ideas for happier holidays, the new Oakwyn Realty App, what to do if you’re being followed, how to get the designer look for less with eyeglasses – plus fun facts, a trivia challenge, and lots more.

Mike & Jennifer Dirks

Dirks Real Estate Team

P.S. When you notice people talking about real estate in the next few weeks, can you tell them about the free consumer information we provide?

They may be people with a growing family and they need more room. You can help them buy their dream home for a lower payment than they might think is possible by mentioning our Free Consumer Report “7 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Financing Your Home.” To request a copy for a friend, simply email us by clicking here.

Today’s Brain Teaser . . .

I can sizzle like bacon, I am made with an egg. I have plenty of backbone, but lack a good leg. I peel layers like onions, but still remain whole. I can be long like a flagpole, yet fit in a hole.
What am I?

(see answer below)

How Safe Is The Bottled Water You Drink

Don’t be fooled.  The bottled water you’re drinking may not be any safer than your tap water.  According the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) out of the USA, some bottled water sold in the United States may contain bacteria and/or chemicals. And 30 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. comes from a city or town’s tap water!

The NRDC cited one incidence where a bottled water brand labeled “spring water” actually came from a well in an industrial facility’s parking lot.  While they reported that most bottled water was safe, about 30 percent of the bottled water they tested contained bacteria, synthetic organic chemicals and inorganic chemicals.

In another recent study, Dutch researchers found 40 percent of the bottled mineral water they tested from 16 countries, (not including the U.S.) showed the presence of bacteria or fungi.

Why should you care? First, people with a weakened immune system (children, the elderly, people with cancer, kidney failure, or AIDS,) may have an increased risk of infection from bacteria. Serious infections can develop fromlegionella, a bacteria causing Legionnaires disease, pneumonia like illness.

Secondly, bottled water is expensive. A five-year supply of bottled water (8 glasses a day) costs about $1,000. The same amount of tap water costs $1.65. There are some regulations on bottled water. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires that if water is taken from a municipal source and not treated, the label must say it’s from a municipal source. If, the water is treated (using common technology) there is no requirement to label the municipal source.

The NRDC concluded that bottled water “should not be assumed to be purer or safer than most tap water.”

Forward this to a friend

Thinking Of Selling Your Home Soon?

Don’t attempt to sell your home without our Free Consumer Guide, “6 Steps For Selling Your Home For Top Dollar.” Our exclusive report will give you all the facts for a fast, top dollar sale. To request your copy, email us by clicking here.

What To Do If Someone Is Following You

The feeling that someone might be following you is terrifying. Though it’s not likely, what would you do if the feeling became reality? Being aware of your surroundings is the best way to tell if someone is actually following you. Whether you’re on foot or in a vehicle, here’s how to know if someone’s tailing you and then how to handle the situation:

How to Tell

  • Try not to act as if you’re looking for the person following you. Keep walking or driving at the same speed, and try not to look over your shoulder.
  • Notice small details. Is the car behind you taking all of the same turns? Does the suspicious person take a turn away from you but re-appear minutes later?
  • Walk or drive more slowly. If you’re in a car, move to the right lane and drive a few miles under the speed limit. If you’re walking, stop for a moment and notice if people around you stop as well.

What to Do

  1. Stay calm. Don’t speed or panic because you’ll be more likely to cause an accident.
  2. Be confusing. Change your route, stop, retrace your steps, take a quick exit or enter a store unexpectedly.
  3. Call the police. It’s better to let the professionals handle the situation. Let them know exactly where you are and describe the suspect person or vehicle in detail.
  4. If you’re being followed, don’t drive home in case it’s a criminal with bad intentions. You don’t want them to know where you live. Instead, drive to the nearest police station or busy public area.
Forward this to a friend

Here’s A Free, Valuable Resource…

Now You Can Search The Home Market, Get Helpful Community Information, AND Receive Important Resources For Saving Time And Money When Buying Or Selling At

Fun Facts and Laughs

3 Ideas For Happier Holidays . . .

The holidays can get stressful in a hurry. Try these simple methods for celebrating the season – and make it easier for you and your family.

    1. Focus on the act of giving, not the presents themselves. Buy gifts for the kids, but get your kids involved in giving homemade gifts (cookies, picture books) to other family members.
    1. Start a family gift exchange. One idea: have family members put books they’d enjoy on an wish list. Share those lists and choose the books you want to give them.
    1. Participate in (or donate to) a charitable activity. Check out a site like, but start looking early to make sure you are matched with the organization you want. On a smaller scale, bake something special and deliver it to a fire station or senior citizens’ home.
  1. To ease your own stress, remember to plan ahead. Use a calendar to set aside days for exercise and rest, and learn to say no if you have too many commitments.

Forward this to a friend

Homemade Flu Fighter. . .

If you’re trying to recover from the flu or a cold, doctors say to get plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Store-bought sports drinks contain processed sugar and artificial ingredients, though, so why not try making your own? This recipe is much healthier.

In a blender, combine:
2 cups of filtered water…
1/2 cup of fresh orange juice…
1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice…
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt…
and 2 – 4 Tbsp. of organic raw honey.

Forward this to a friend

Websites for Medical Advice . . .

These websites can help you do some research before a visit to your doctor. – Find credible, timely information from an award-winning site: helpful medical and health information, online support communities, and expert commentary. – The non-profit, number-one-rated hospital has detailed information about healthy lifestyle, drugs and supplements, and tests and procedures. – The National Institutes of Health provide health reliable information for patients and family in understandable language.

Forward this to a friend

Featured Partner
fairbairn_inspection_services_logo small
Looking for a trust worthy home inspector?  Look no further than David Fairbairn.  You can find him as a ‘Preferred Service Provider’ on our new Oakwyn App. Or contact him directly at: 604-395-2795

Forward this to a friend

Are You Our Client Of The Month?

Every month we choose a very special Client Of The Month.  It’s our way of acknowledging good friends and saying “thanks” to those who support us and our business with referrals, word of mouth and repeat business.

This month’s Client Of The Month are Jaclyn & Colin Bates.  They were referred to us by friends and it has been truly a blessing helping them find their dream home.  Congratulations! We’d like to give you a $50 gift card to The Keg as a show of our gratitude.  

You might be our next Client Of The Month too!  Watch for your name here in an upcoming month.

Trivia Challenge for the Month…
“Who Else Wants To Win 2 FREE Movie Tickets?”

Guess who won last month’s Trivia Question?  I’m pleased to announce that the lucky winners of last month’s quiz are…drum roll please:  Kieren and Melissa were the first two people to correctly answer our quiz question.

What famous skateboarder was the first person to perform a trick called the 900, which is 2.5 rotations in the air?

a) Tony Alva   b) Ryan Sheckler   c) Shaun White   d) Tony Hawk

The answer is d) Tony Hawk – nicknamed The Birdman, he is one of the most successful pro skateboarders in history. He has even skated at the White House – with permission! Let’s move on to this month’s trivia question.

What ancient city and UNESCO site is carved into a sandstone cliff?

a) Ur
b) Petra
c) Palmyra
d) Carthage

EMAIL US BY: Clicking Here OR Call / TEXT Us At 778-997-1890 And You Could Be One Of Our Next Winners!

Brain Teaser Answer:

A snake

Thanks For Thinking of Us!

Did you know we can help you or any of your friends or family save time and money when buying or selling a home? Thanks for keeping us in mind with your referrals…and spreading the word about our services.

Real Estate Q & A . . .
Q.  What do I need to know about negotiating when I sell my home?

A.   Revealing too much information to buyers when you’re negotiating the sale is a common, costly mistake. To get the most for your home:

  • Work with a professional REALTOR® who knows questions to ask potential buyers that determine their motivation for buying and what price they can afford.
  • Don’t mention the “appraisal” value of your home at a showing to try to persuade a buyer to pay more for it. An appraisal may not be accurate and is not the best indicator of the value of a home.
  • Don’t tell a buyer why you’re selling (especially if you need to sell it quickly). Just say your housing needs have changed.

You can learn about six more costly mistakes in our Free Consumer Report called “How To Avoid 7 Costly Mistakes When Selling Your Home.” Call us and we’ll send a copy right over to you.

Do you have a real estate question you want answered? Feel free to call us at778-997-1890 or email us by clicking here. Perhaps we’ll feature it in our next issue!

Forward this to a friend

THANK YOU… for reading our Service For Life!® personal newsletter.  We wanted to produce a newsletter that has great content and is fun and valuable to you.  Help your friends get more out of life by forwarding this email to them..

New Construction Home Inspection Tips | 604-395-2795

Hi, this is David with Fairbairn Inspection Services and we’re here in Maple Ridge and we’re about to start a new home construction inspection so I’ll show you what’s included and what we’re going to do.

I like to look out for small cosmetic deficiencies like this split board right here, this will be an easy repair and of course you can see it from the street.

Here we’re looking at a downspout that just terminates and drives water onto the shingles; I prefer to have these extended so that the water carries down to the gutter below. This will prolong life of the shingles and prevent roof damage.

Testing for combustible gas leakage.

We’re at the side of the house and we’re looking at some guard rails; part of the inspection is we want to make sure that everything is safe in terms of are the guard rails secure and we’re also looking out for anywhere that you have a drop over two feet where someone might fall and injure themselves.

Another thing we find a lot of is missing window well covers. If you have a window well in your basement you want to make sure it’s covered so that nobody can fall in and become trapped. The window well cover has to be removable so if there’s a fire or emergency someone can escape through the window well.

Here we can see a roof vent in the attic that has caused a small crater in the insulation below it. This is due to air pressure differences. On the right hand side we see a soffit baffle and this is basically a foam tray that allows air to pass over the insulation. You can see how much insulation is in this attic, it’s quite high. If we didn’t have these soffit baffles the bottom edge of the roof would be blocked and no air would be able to enter the attic.

So here we are in the ensuite bathroom and we’re testing out the plumbing so we’re filling up the sinks as well as the bathtub which has a Jacuzzi on it. I like to test sinks by filling them completely and running them through the overflow lines and then draining them and making sure they don’t leak. I suspect in new construction they may not be fully tested prior to the walk through. Another thing that we’re going to want to check for is that the sinks are properly mounted to the underside of the counter; that means having a supporting strap or a bracket to ensure the sink doesn’t fall.

Here we are using a thermal imaging camera to check the walls, ceilings and the floors of the building for any moisture or missing insulation. Here we can see the framing of the wall outlined in blue stripes. This allows to check for a number of things. We can also use thermal imaging to detect if there are any electrical or overheating issues or any plumbing leaks.

Here in the main upstairs bathroom we have a door that sticks in the frame when you try to open it, you can hear the squeaking. I like to use a laser level to check the walls and ceilings and the floors to see if they’re plumb and level. Sometimes an out of square door can be the cause. At any rate it should be covered by the builder.
So here we are doing our kitchen inspection, now because it’s a new construction we don’t have any appliances installed yet. We can check the connections and make sure that they’re present such as maybe an ice maker line for the fridge or a gas hook up for the stove. We’re also going to be testing our garburator, make sure the garburator works fine and it’s important to check our range hoods above the stove, we want to make sure they’re connected properly and they’re actually venting all the cooking grease and smoke outside of the home and that they’re well sealed.

Testing all fireplaces for leakage.

Here we are in the furnace room and there’s a lot going on in this room but I’ll show you what it does. Basically we have our hot water tank behind me here, this is an electric hot water tank and we’re just looking for really obvious installation defects such as for instance this release tube here, we want to make sure this is present, this is what actually would jettison the water and steam out if the tank were to overheat so basic safety things like that. We’re also looking for earthquake straps on the tank; those are required in some areas.
We’ve got around the corner here; we’ve got our main water shut off valve, so this is how we can shut off all the water to the property. I always like to point that out to the buyers, you know, this is where you can shut off all your hot and cold water.

We also have a sprinkler system in this house so the fire sprinkler shut off is located here as well.
Now on this side we’ve got our furnace. This is a high efficiency; I believe it’s a Lennox furnace so they’ve done a couple things here that I’ll show you how they’ve set it up. Basically it’s a high efficiency furnace for the heating but they’ve also left some refrigerant lines installed here so that if the owner wants to add a heat pump or an air conditioner these are already installed. All you have to do is put a coil above the furnace and install your condensing unit outside in the back yard so these are all ready to go. This is very common for new construction. What I like to do is check the filter really carefully inside the furnace, make sure that it’s not plugged with construction dust, you know after the dry wallers are here there’s a lot of dust in the air, you want to make sure that it’s clean and it’s not plugged and the furnace is going to have a healthy life.

Over here we’ve got a makeup air so this our combustion air for our furnace room, we’ve got a gas burning appliance so we actually have to bring in fresh air from outside so the furnace can use it to burn the gas. The other thing we’re looking at is if we come over here, we’ve got our valve set for our gas. They’re all labelled actually in this house, we’ve got furnace, we’ve got fireplace, range, so everything’s here. I like to show the customer where this is, how they can shut off the gas in case of an emergency and there’s also a main shut off at the gas meter outside.

So here we are in the garage and what we always want to do with the overhead garage door is we want to test it out to make sure it’s safe. Now this garage door it’s got an opener stuck here and there’s a remote control and there’s also a button on the wall that raises and lowers the door you’ll notice at the bottom you have sensors so if somebody were to go underneath the door or drive underneath the door while it was closing it would auto reverse and then back up. I like to test it two ways, I like to test the sensors and I like to test the actual resistant of the door. So if we bypass the sensors give it a bit of resistance and see if it reverses as well.

Testing all arc-fault safety breakers.

Here’s a tip for you: if you’re getting a new construction inspection done, bring along a roll of green painters tape and if you find any drywall blemishes, nail pops, defects, cracks, missing paint, anything like that just put green tape up on the wall and that way the builder can find it later when he’s having the repair workers in to fix any problems.

Video: Why is there Mold on my Windows?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Mr. David Fairbairn of Fairbairn Inspections in Vancouver talking about mold. How’re you doing today David?

David: Oh, Mark I’m ready to talk about mold today.

Mark: Great!

David: I hope you’re looking forward to some mold.

Mark: Mold sandwich. So the question you wanted and this is funnily enough, the question I asked you last week, is why is there mold on my windows?

David: Yeah, so we’re going to talk about mold on windows and so this is probably one of the most asked questions and yourself included, I think we were chatting before the hangout and you we’re actually saying, I’ve got some mold on my windows, what’s going on? So I said o.k., let’s do a talk on this and explain what’s actually happening. I’d like to maybe share the screen
Mark, is that o.k.?

Mark: Yes

David: o.k. I just going to pull up some photos, I actually have some photos from various places, so I’m just going to put it up on the full screen here. I don’t know if you can see that. . .

Mark: I can see that.

David: o.k. so we’ve got some mold on this window here. Now this is a photo of probably you’ve seen a lot of houses like this, so what’s going on with this? So this kind of mold can look kind of scary when you first pull back your drapes and you look at your window and you’re going, first of all its black and anybody who’s watched TV or read any articles on home improvement, you’re going to hear toxic black mold so I get asked this a lot. Is this black mold? The first thing I want to get out of the way is black mold is the wrong name for it. They are talking about a certain species of mold called Stachybotrys and it’s not always black, it can come in different colours, it can come in blue so I want to get out of the way, you actually can’t tell what kind of mold you have unless you actually take it to a lab and sample it. So we know what common types of mold we have indoors so we can usually guess it’s between three different species but if ever have any doubts just as a disclaimer, always call a certified mold specialist who can come out and assist you with your problem before you go jumping to any conclusions. So anyways, we’ve got this mold growing on a window here so basically what we have is, if you think about a house you’ve got a window which is going to be probably the coldest spot on your wall. So first of all it’s on your exterior walls, second of all, a lot of heat loss through windows, right? So this one here, we’ve got an aluminum window frame, I believe it’s an aluminum frame window so it’s probably a chilly day and we’ve got a high indoor either temperature and or humidity, right. So mold on windows, I’m going to go ahead right away and say 99% of the mold on windows problems is going to be coming from indoor humidity so you’ve got a lot of areas where humidity and moisture can originate in homes and the number one is going to be your shower, you’re showers can generate a lot of moisture and cooking, if you’re cooking pasta, you’re going to be sending a lot of water and steam and vapour into the air and your moisture floating around the air is going to settle on the coldest spot just like when you take a can of coke out of the fridge and it gets frosty, right so that’s the same concept here; we’re creating condensation and windows are hot spots for condensation because they’re so cold. So were looking at that and basically the first step you can do to prevent moisture on windows is to ventilate your house properly so this is point one, you’re going to ventilate the house properly. So how is the moisture getting out of the house? Is it clinging to the windows or is it being ventilated properly, so let’s look at a few options for ventilating the home.

So the most obvious option here is we’ve got a bathroom fan and unless you live in a kind of an older house that’s never been updated or you’ve never renovated the bathroom, you probably have one of these in your home and basically we’re going to want to make sure that that fan is running not only when you have a shower but in some cases we’re going to want to have it run for quite a while after you have the shower. So if you go to a newer home, I think yours is actually quite new, you’ve got an eight year old home, we’re actually going to want to run that fan for I believe the building code actually requests that it run for eight hours in every twenty-four hour period. So you may actually have a timer on your fan or in some areas we may have the fan hard wired to run twenty-four hours a day. As the houses get newer the draft is reduced, you’ve got a tighter house, you got a more weather resistant house and there’s not as much in the way of fresh air flowing through the house. You’re going to have to mechanically ventilate it and that’s our number one way to do that.

This is a control that you see a lot in our area in Vancouver, this is a humidistat. So what this does, this was used a lot during the 90’s is that it will actually read the relative humidity inside the house and it will click on the bathroom fan to exhaust the air out of the house when it goes over a certain threshold so this one here is actually turned fully on, I don’t think they realized it was all the way on when they took the picture but the recommended setting for these that we usually see is about 40 to 50% relative humidity so you’re going to set it between 40 and 50 and when you shower and when you cook it’s naturally going to turn on the bathroom fan. Now these kind are extinct now in our area in new construction because our requirements are just a little bit higher and we’re actually having to run the fan for a set period of time.

So here’s a way you can avoid moisture problem windows, this mess of lines here, this is a cross section of what’s called a thermally broken window. Now in the old days we didn’t have what’s called a thermally broken window, it would just be you’ve got the glass sitting in a metal frame and there’s metal connected all the way through, underneath the glass and you’re transferring heat underneath the window very effectively outside and you’re cooling off the window. Same thing, you know, you put a spoon in a hot bowl of soup and the spoon gets hot, that’s convection you’re losing heat across the material, so now what we’re doing, we got our thermally broken windows, this is a newer style of window and we’ve actually got this Polyamide Thermal strips that are actually separating the frame and they’re actually broken, breaking the frame in half and they have very little thermal transfer so they are keeping the inside of window warm and the outside cold and you’ve got this break, so you can imagine the condensation would be a little bit lower on this style of window.

Just going to show you, this is a microscopic shot of some mold growing and the type of mold is called Cladosporium. Now Cladosporium is a very, very common indoor mold and when you see mildew and mildew is a type of mold, you know a lot of time you can get mildew and it’s going to be what’s called Cladosporium. Now Cladosporium grows anywhere that you’ve got warm sort of wet conditions, you see it a lot growing on towels, cheese, bread, and things like that, so it’s a common indoor mold and this is actually under a microscope. This is how they identify the type of mold you have.

So one last thing, I’m going to show you with our bathroom fans, if you’re going to install bathroom fans, it’s just a reminder, you don’t want to install too powerful of a bathroom fan because you can actually pull the heat out of your house and if you install a bathroom fan that’s oversize for your bathroom you can increase your heating bills quite a bit so the calculation that we use is take the square footage of the bathroom and multiply it by 1.07 which gives us, it’s usually slightly larger than the square footage of the bathroom. So if you had a 80 square foot bathroom you’re probably going to want to put a 90 CFM which is cubic feet per minute bathroom fan into the bathroom and that’s going to properly ventilate your bathroom so if I was to summarize what’s causing mold on windows, interior moisture conditions are going to account for almost all of it and if you can properly ventilate your home you can prevent that problem and the last thing I’ll leave you with is, if you need to remove any mold from your windows technically you should be calling a mold removal or abatement company but if you want to do it at home the CDC recommends one part bleach to ten parts water mixture and put that into a little spray bottle, spray it along the bottom edge of your window and clean it off and repeat as necessary and that is one way to remove the mold. Now if it returns then you should call somebody so that is what causes mold in windows. If you have a problem please give me a call, I’d be happy to take a look at it, we can do sampling, we can take a swab test, we can test the air in your home, there’s just a myriad of tests that we can actually do to make sure you that have a healthy home.

Mark: Awesome stuff David. So just to clarify, you’re a certified mold specialist as well as doing home inspections, is that right?

David: That’s correct, yes. So we do both residential, commercial inspections for property purchase and then of course the mold division where we do indoor air quality testing, we can do consulting if you have a leak or flood, you need post or pre remediation consulting, we can do that as well, just give us a call, we’d be happy to give you a quote.

Mark: Awesome, so one part bleach to ten parts water for window mold, to clean it up ourselves and get the fans running.

David: There you go Mark, yeah. You got a project for this afternoon I think, eh?

Mark: We’ve been running the fans a lot and it makes a big difference. So that pretty much sums it up. We’re going to explore mold a whole bunch more with David over the next few weeks, so come back and see us and if want to get hold of him, there’s tons of information on his website or give him a call 604-395-2795. Thanks a lot David.

David: Thanks Mark, talk to you soon.

Video: What’s Included In Our Swimming Pool Inspections?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Mr. David Fairbairn; he’s a home inspector in Vancouver. How’re you doing this morning David?

David: I’m doing great, Mark, how’re you doing?

Mark: I’m good. So swimming pool inspections, what should be included?

David: o.k., so you’re buying a house, you want to get the swimming pool checked out pretty carefully. Sometimes a buyer will actually not get the swimming pool inspected, will by pass it and look mostly at the house but I think your face says it all. There’s a lot that can wrong with a swimming pool, they’re huge, huge cost centres if you have major repair. Swimming pools even when they’re just operating, they’re very expensive, right, just to heat them, put chemicals in. You can’t imagine, repairs really add up, so I think probably in the world of inspection some of the best return on investment is getting a swimming pool inspected. So when you call us we have a trained pool inspector on our team who can come out and we can actually do it at the same time as the home inspection, so basically it’s a package where we come out, we inspect the home, we can take of the swimming pool and can take care of the hot tub at the same time, you can get it all done and we put it together on the same report for you, onsite, it’s delivered to you onsite and then you receive an email within about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how much information we need to add on to it. The pool inspection includes, you know, obviously a visual examination of all the parts to the pool, so we’re looking at the liner, the basin, if you’ve got a vinyl lined pool we’re going to take a look at the condition that, we open up all the skimmers, we do light the heater if possible, sometimes depending on the time of year the heater may not be lit, we’re going to give it a shot try to light that heater and see if we can get it to fire and see if it’s operating properly and of course it’s going to include the filter, pump, all your mechanical equipment. This is probably where we find most issues is in the mechanical areas of the pump house, right, usually we probably find one leak every single time, that’s very, very common, those aren’t too expensive and we also find out a lot of pump problems, if the pump hasn’t been used properly or run dry for a while. So we’re going to inspect those, the hot tub itself we’re going to, if it’s a package unit where you’ve got the pump built in, we’re going to open it up, inspect the mechanicals and heater on the pump and we’re also going to inspect the electrical run pole, o.k., because that’s a big part of it because you’re often running a sub panel to the pump house and I would conservatively estimate that 80% of them are unsafe. They’re usually corroded or they’re installed wrong, there’s some handyman wiring going on so obviously for a safety standpoint we’re going to take care of everything that could be a safety hazard to you and your family and that’s the big thing, if we do nothing else we just want to make sure that pool is safe.

Mark: What about checking for leaks?

David: Checking for leaks, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to obviously check for visual signs of leakage. If we show and the pools half full and you know the hose has been running for a week, we may suspect there’s a problem that has happened of course, we’re going to look at your mechanicals too, obviously a lot of water in the mechanical room, you may be losing a lot of water there, and in some cases our pool inspector may say, I think you have a leak in your basin, you know we see a crack in a the basin or you know we think you may have a leak at the skimmer or whatever it is. So we can actually do a follow up visit so there’s the standard pool inspection, if you need a leak test done it takes about 72 to 96 hours depending on the size of the pool but we can actually do a drop test. We’re going to fill it up, measure the level of drop of the water to see if you actually have a hidden leak because you’ve got a lot of buried lines so we can actually do that for an additional cost and if we suspect that may be the case, that you do have a leak, we will recommend that and we can actually handle that as well.

Mark: So in your reports do you have photos and you’re specifying everything that you finding?

David: Absolutely. It’s very similar to our home inspection report, same template, same format where you receive a digital report. Now we offer swimming pool inspections as a stand-alone, you can just get the pool inspected. If you call us up we can send somebody out, we can get a report by the same evening. If you do it with the home inspection we roll it all together with the home inspection and you will receive a digital report with photographs and descriptions of all the issues found and one of the things we like to do with the pools is if we can is actually provide a quotation so if we have a for instance a bad filter, bad pump, we’re actually going to be able to provide you with a rough estimate of the range in prices you may pay to replace that item so we try to keep it very straightforward and easy to understand and of course we take photos of everything including all the safety hazards and we put it together in a PDF file which you receive by email.

Mark: Awesome, so if you’ve got a pool, these are the guys to call to make sure it’s safe, make sure if you’re buying or selling your home, get an inspection done so that your clients on either side can feel more confident and you close that sell quicker. This is the guy to call, David Fairbairn at Call him at 604-395-2795. Thanks a lot David.

David: Thanks Mark, have a great day.

What Does Mold Look Like? Ask a Vancouver Mold Specialist | VIDEO

Mark: Hi it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with David Fairbairn of in Vancouver and you can reach him at 604-395-2795. Today we’re talking about the gross stuff, we’re talking about mold. So how’re you doing today David?

David: I’m doing pretty good Mark. Mold’s not that gross – if you like blue cheese or if you like beer mold is pretty good. Penicillin if you like not getting sick. Mold is pretty helpful. It is gross and in some cases pretty helpful. I’d like to show you today what mold looks like – have you seen a lot of mold?

Mark: Unfortunately, I have.

David: Excellent, ok so I’ve got some photos for you. We’re talking about what mold looks like. So this is probably one of my top questions when it comes to mold related questions – somebody is standing there looking at something and going I think that might be mold, I can’t tell. What I want to start with is that it’s very important to note you can’t tell if something is mold or not just by looking at it. You can know what mold usually looks like and you can know different growth patterns, but if you’re not sure, you should sample it. Take a sample of the material and take it to a lab for testing because they’re actually going to be able to tell you if it’s mold or not. Even myself, doing mold for years, I’ve done testing and sampling and investigations and there’s still some cases where we find mold where it doesn’t look like mold or it doesn’t look like anything. What I’d like to do is show you how mold grows and this will give you a better idea about how it appears and what it might look like. So what we’re looking at now is a microscope slide of some mold. What we’ve got here is the structure of mold and you can see that it’s not just a blob of slime, it’s actually quite defined and that’s because mold is a plant. It’s part of the fungus family, so when you have mold you actually have fungus. Mushrooms, those are fungus. There’s different types of fungus and mold is a type of that. So it grows like any plant and when you look at it up close, you will notice that it has branches just like a tree or a plant and you’ve got the tips where you have the spore production (the circles). So if we look at what that actually is we’re looking at is called Mycelium. Mycelium is the structure of the mold – it’s in all the branches woven together. The branches are called Hyphae or Hypha individually. So this is how it spreads and grows and once mold sets up, it takes about 24-48 hours to grow in material and after a certain amount of time usually 10-14 days it’s ready to reproduce. So the mold decides to release some spores into the air and hopefully those spores settle and grow more mold. So when you hear about respiratory problems, people getting sick from mold, it’s the spores we’re talking about, it’s not the actual mold material, it’s actually the spores that are floating around in the air and you’re breathing them in because some spores are toxic.

So that’s the idea behind the growth. If we look at it here, it’s eating away at this bread – you’ve probably seen bread mold before, it usually doesn’t look this extreme, but this is just for illustration. We can see that the mold here has taken root, it’s feeding off the material, mold will grow in any organic material if the conditions are right. If it’s warm and wet it usually thrives and at one point or another we get spore production and this one is actually in full spore production mode.

So we’re looking at an attic now Mark, this is a fairly new construction building, this house is only… do you want to guess how old this attic is?

Mark: From the state of the OSB and some of the other clues I can see there, probably no more than 10 years old

David: Yeah, it’s actually 1 1/2 years old. So just as an aside, we perform home inspections, you should always get even if your house is a year and a half old. Get it inspected every single time. So this attic a year and a half old, terrible ventilation problems and they’re also using OSB which stands for oriented strand board, which has basically replaced plywood in most new construction and you can see that it’s made out of wood chips. It’s also a great surface for mold to grow on. I would conservatively say it’s about 150% more likely to grow mold than plywood or wood itself. So you have to be very careful with this material. And what we have here is – you can see the blotches and as you move up the the centre of the screen, you can see black blotches forming everywhere. This is the same attic here and we’ve got this growth pattern and as the blotches form, they start connecting together. So what’ve got is mostly black, in some areas it’s mostly white and in some areas it can turn blue. Mold can look like any of those and still be part of the same family of mold. So it’s very important to get it tested because you won’t be able to tell what type of material it is until you actually get it tested. Any idea what happened here Mark, want to hazard a guess? This is an attic as well.

Mark: A leak in the roof?

David: A leak in the roof. This is actually a marijuana grow operation.

Mark: So a leak from downstairs?

David: A leak from downstairs, exactly. So marijuana grow operations are very damaging, particularly to attics. Here the moisture was so high that the entire attic was just covered in a web of mold. This is actually post remediation – so they’ve actually gone through and cleaned all the mold out – this was what was left over, the staining – so you can imagine how bad it was before this. tThis is a type of mold called Penicillium which is related to Penicillin and it can be harmful. This is something you don’t want to play around with especially if you see it at this level. This is the same house, a grow operation where they had removed the growth and this is after thousands and thousands of dollars of removal. So you can imagine how thick that must of been before for it to take root that deeply that they weren’t able to get the lines out of the wood, the nails are rusted, they had a huge, huge amount of moisture going up into the attic. So that’s something we can see. So that’s what mold looks like.

What you should do – there’s two tests we offer. We can do sampling, so we can come in and actually test the mold stain to see if it actually is mold and if it’s alive or not and we can do an air quality test which is where we sample the air in the home and provide you with results of how many spores are floating around. So we have some different equipment to do that. This is our Zefon Bio Pump, this is some of the equipment we’re using. This actually sucks air through the top – that white disc at the top is called a spore trap and it will capture the spores floating around in the air and we break it open and put it on a microscope and we can tell if there are any indoor air quality issues.

So if you have something that looks like mold or you’re not sure – play it safe and get it tested. You can call us at 604-395-2795 and we can come out and determine if you have a mold problem, where it’s coming from and what to do about it.

Mark: Awesome. So I think we’ll . . . I don’t know if there’s anything more to say.

David: Mold can look like a lot of things. It can be fuzzy, it can be black webbing like that and as we go along with our next episode, I’ll bring some different shots of different things we have found in homes – everywhere from a wall that looked completely bare and it actually had mold on it, up to a room that was basically falling apart. We’ve got some good stuff coming up so stay tuned.

Mark: Awesome. So we’ve been talking with a building inspector, home inspector and mold specialist Mr. David Fairbairn of Fairbairn Inspections in Vancouver. You can reach him at with tons of great information on the site or you can give him a call at 604-395-2795. Thanks David

David: Thanks Mark. Talk to you later.

Mark: Bye

What Causes Mold in Crawlspaces? VIDEO

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Mr. David Fairbairn of Fairbairn Inspections in Vancouver. We’re talking about mold. What an exciting Christmas topic David.

David: Just what you’re hoping for Mark, eh?

Mark: So mold in crawlspaces, let’s talk about it, where does it come from?

David: Absolutely, Mark. We’re going to see a lot of similar themes here that line up with a lot of the other mold talks we’ve done because the causes are still the same so I’d like to screen share here a little bit so you can look at what we’re talking about, so let me know if you can see the image that comes up here.

So here we’ve got a diagram courtesy of Price and Dunlop. Let me know when you see it.

Mark: Yes, it’s there.

David: O.K. great, so one of the things that you’ll see with every single mold related problem is that they’re all caused by generally the same thing. If you have moisture problems you’re going to have a mold problem and mold is a symptom of a moisture problem that is somewhere in your home. Crawlspaces are very, very sceptical to mold due to the fact that they’re extremely wet environments, they’re generally neglected a little bit; people don’t often go down into the crawlspace all the time the same way they do with checking their windows or even their attic. I would say the attic probably gets looked at a little bit more than the crawlspace depending upon how much storage is down there but here in this drawing we can actually see depending on the style of crawlspace you have it’s going to be extremely damp and you know, these are the areas where mold can really thrive. So we’re looking at two different floors. We’ve got one on the left, it’s a dirt floor and this is a very old style crawlspace. You probably are never going to see this in new construction or anything later than a certain date but if you go back far enough you do have these dirt floors and if they’re not ventilated properly you’ve got what’s called rising damp so that moisture is actually rising up from the dirt and it’s equivalent to here it’s says several gallons a day which I feel that that’s not wrong, so you can get this damage to the floor framing and the other thing about crawlspaces is there’s lots of wet wood down there for them to latch onto. Mold really likes organic surfaces and especially porous services so if you have something like wood or drywall it really latches on when you’ve got a lot of moisture and it set up shop pretty quickly.

So, on the right hand side you can see that they’re recommending you should have a vapour barrier down in the crawlspace. Now a vapour barrier is basically a poly sheet and you’ve probably seen them in a lot of crawlspaces and one of the biggest problems with these vapour barriers is that they’re usually not tight and here we can see it says seal at edges, that’s an important concept. We’re going to want to seal the vapour barrier down, this plastic sheet and weigh it down with gravel and that’s going to prevent what’s called rising damp. So, the main thing is just to show you how much moisture you can get in these spaces.

So, that’s number one, it’s called rising damp and it’s pretty easy to solve, you basically seal up the base of your crawlspace and that’ll hopefully mitigate that.

So, problem number two, we’ve got a photo here, this is a crawlspace in Langley and what has happened here is we’ve got a drain tile issue. Now drain tile is your perimeter drain, it runs around the outside of the house. It’s a big pipe and it carries water, ground water and rain water away from the house. It keeps it from ingressing into the basement, the foundation or crawlspace and what we have here is, it’s become blocked so this house was built in the 80’s and we’ve got this old type of pipe called Big O Tile which is a black corrugated plastic and it plugged up and actually this particular house, there was a root punching through the side of it from a tree, it had actually broken through the drain tile and it’s actually a leak, you can see a puddle inside the crawlspace. So here’s the source of moisture right here and again this is going to cause mold growth in the crawlspace. So that’s number two.

Number three, so this is that really nasty photo I was going to show you. This is one of the worst mold problems that I’ve come across not in terms of how broad it is and all over the place it is but it was very localized it was just in one spot but what we actually have here was a plumbing leak so we can see there’s kind of a grey pipe running across the top of the picture horizontally and that was going to an exterior hose bit and what happened, he didn’t winterize his hose bit. As the temperature drops you can have freezing at that hose bit and it will crack and burst and you’ve got a pinhole leak and this had been leaking for years and years and we can see that you’ve got a lot of mold, that white fluffy stuff is actually fungal growth, that’s sort of a really extreme version of some mold. O.K., that’s the third reason here, plumbing leaks.
Fourth reason is, we’ve got a photo of a crawlspace vent. This is something I see a lot of where someone has actually blocked off these crawlspace vents and when you block off crawlspace vents you are starving your crawlspace ventilation. You don’t have any fresh air coming in, so you’ve got this moist stagnant air in the crawlspace and the mold will quickly grow in that case so a lot of the time it’s very simple, just remove the cover off of these crawlspace vents and sometimes the home owner will put bat insulation behind it and if you can remove that and go back to the original design condition of the crawlspace, you can solve a lot of your mold problems.
Now the next question is what do I do about, what do I do if I have a mold problem. The thing with that is you want to call a mold remediation company to come in and remove the mold because some of this stuff is really nasty and you don’t want to be breathing it in and if it gets all over your wood, it’s all over your crawlspace, it can get quite expensive in the same way that we were talking about attic mold, you can be looking at thousands of dollars to remediate your crawlspace and in really extreme cases you can have structural damage. Going back to this photo you can see that the bottom plate of the wall frame is actually rotten away and this house now is sitting on a rotten piece of wood so what we’re going to need to do is actually jack it up and replace that plate underneath to get at that support so you don’t what to leave this too long because you can have structural damage.

I think the last thing I do want to point is if you think you have, you think you have crawlspace mold but you’re not sure is to get your crawlspace inspected and we can assist with that. We do crawlspace inspections on large scale, small scale, we can do one house or we can do an entire strata complex. If you have a crawlspace you’re not sure, kind of smells musty down there, an air quality test would be a great idea. If you can get some air sample of that crawlspace, send it to a lab and we can actually tell you what kind of mold is down there and how much there is.

Mark: Great, so we’ve been talking with Mr. David Fairbairn. He’s not only a home inspector in Vancouver; he’s also is a certified mold remediation specialist, so he’s the guy to call. Check out his website, or give him a call at 604-395-2795. Thanks David.

David: Thanks Mark, take care.

1 2 3 10