Basement Concrete Tiles Slab Cracking?
Fairbairn Inspection Services
Hi it’s David with Fairbairn Inspections, we’re here with Larry Clay of Clay Construction and we’re on one of his job sites right now checking out what makes his houses higher end and some of the differences in the detail they put into the construction and one of things he was showing me was in the basement here with the way they’ve done the slab foundation here. So if you could explain Larry what the detail difference is and what difference that makes for the customer as well.
Sure, well come over here with me and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. You’ll notice under this 2×6 wall, I have a curb wall and a footing, this is weight bearing and traditionally what you’re going to find foundation contractors do is that they run that curb wall all the way through. Now here’s the problem in you don’t have an eye for detail, is you’ll notice right here, you don’t notice the curb wall here. It’s because we cut out for the curb wall, we poured our basement slab right across. Now why is that important? It’s important because if you have tile on here and you have three sources of concrete – one slab of concrete here, you’ve got your curb wall here and another slab you’re going to have a minute bit of settlement your tile is going to crack. so make sure you carve out, block out for your curb wall pour your slab right across it’ll give you perfect flooring with no issues.
Hi it’s home inspector David Fairbairn with Fairbairn Home Inspections and we’re here with Larry Clay of Clay Construction and we’re doing a site tour to see one of his new custom built homes and he’s going to explain to us how his wall systems are different from your standard wall system and the benefits to the way he’s doing it. He’s got some really cool science to share with us, so if you could explain how that works Larry? Be a pleasure.
Hi, I’m Larry Clay from Clay Construction and I’d like to talk to you about how do you achieve a healthy home. This can be done but it involves some cutting edge building science. What you’ll see here is some rigid insulation on the outside of the house, what we’re doing is we’re moving some of the insulation to the outside to warm up the framing on the inside. The other thing you’re going to notice is that we’ve taped all the seams, this house does not have building paper on it, this is the air barrier. We’re not using poly or plastic on the inside as our vapour barrier. We’re going to use this as the air barrier, we’re going to paint on the drywall, our vapour barrier and this allows us to remove the poly from the inside, allowing the wall assembly to breathe and not allow moisture to accumulate in the wall assembly. Come on inside and I’ll show you.
Ok, now that we’re inside of the house, what you’re going to see is you can see that we have our rigid insulation here between our sheathing. What’s going to happen is we’re going to put our insulation inside, the poly we’re not going to put inside, this only serves as a protection for our windows, but in the wall assembly, because we have rigid on the outside, this surface now will be warmer. Again, remember the Coke can from the fridge, one from the pantry, you put them on counter, which one is going to have condensation, the puddle underneath is the Coke can from the fridge. So building science, what you want to do is make sure you have warm surfaces, not cold surfaces which will give you a propensity for mould and mildew inside because of the wetness. With the rigid insulation on the outside, we now have eliminated thermal bridging making your drywall even warmer. Now you can lean again the wall for hours reading a book and you’ll never get cold. So if you want a healthy home, another great step is to have a healthy wall assembly. Larry from Clay Construction.
Hi, it’s home inspector David Fairbairn of Fairbairn Home Inspections. One of the questions I get asked a lot is can a house have leakage problems similar to a leaky condo, like a Vancouver leaky condo? And the answer is yes. The concepts are the same, it’s a lot more rare to have a leaky condo house but I can show you some of the things to look for because it does happen in the ’80’s and ’90’s builds which you are about to see. This building is on the west side of Vancouver and they actually had a lot of rot and leakage problems, so if you want to come with me I’m going to show you what we look for.
So here we have a house that’s covered in stucco, it’s not a rain screen building, it’s a face sealed building which means the stucco is right on the wood and if any water gets back there, it’s going to cause rot in the sheeting, you can see a lot of repairs. When we come inside, we look around the windows, a lot of moisture stains, almost every window on one side of the house had leaked and rotted. A lot of dry wall damage, here we can see wrinkles in the drywall, you can actually see the water was running the wall, very hard to cover this up and paint over it. Here we’ve got a, you can see the seams, a lot of these leaky condos leaked at these joints, so everywhere you have a direction change or a control joint they will leak. This one though it was actually the flashing was making the water run into the window which basically rotted the top of the window and we can see there’s a lot of water damage around the base of the walls, even this door here. You can see that there’s some wall rot and you don’t want to touch this, it’s actually quite brittle. Here there’s some damage above the door, they’ve actually tried to install an awning above the door to protect it, but you’re just putting extra screws through the stucco and you don’t want to do that with these buildings.
This is another building from Coquitlam and it’s similar age and it’s exhibiting a lot of rot and moisture related issues. We can see the glass block windows, there was a lot of water getting in around those. This corner here the stucco, wherever it cracks you have to seal it right away. If you don’t seal it right away you get water behind the stucco. It will not vent and drain properly. Vancouver stays wet for a long period of time and you can’t, it just won’t naturally drain or dry out. One of the things about this particular house is it’s tall and there is no overhang from the roof so it’s a Vancouver leaky condo style house and of course, the east wall is always the worst which we’re going to see in a moment here. This is the east wall, we see a lot of rust staining around the control joint which is very bad, that usually means that the stucco, the lath, metal lath behind the stucco is actually rusted and it indicates a serious water ingress problem. There is damage to the meters, the electrical meters as well. This leak actually started at the roof where there was a poor flashing detail where the roof meets the wall and it actually ran down two stories and ended up, we found rot along the bottom of the wall. Now one of the issues with acrylic stucco is that it’s designed to be waterproof but it’s waterproofed the wrong way so it traps water and won’t allow it to aspirate out and you can see the staining, it’s in very poor condition. Inside there was was a lot of drywall damage, I always point out that these houses can be really bad from mold. If you have a mould problem from behind the walls, very difficult to remediate these houses.
As you can see, it is possible to have a leaky condo house and hopefully that helped you with identifying some of the signs that you have an issue with, a potential house that you’re thinking about buying. The best thing you can do is have a professional inspection done. We service the whole lower mainland. We can be reached at 604-395-2795 or on the web at vancouverinspections.com. Thanks for watching.
We did a home inspection for J. Thompleson’s new purchase – a detached home in Coquitlam, which was built in 1986.
“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 :)”
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.
“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!
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 vancouverinspections.com.
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:
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Service For Life! ®
Inside This Issue…
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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
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.
(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.”
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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
What to Do
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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.
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:
Websites for Medical Advice . . .
These websites can help you do some research before a visit to your doctor.
www.webmd.com – Find credible, timely information from an award-winning site: helpful medical and health information, online support communities, and expert commentary.
www.mayoclinic.com – The non-profit, number-one-rated hospital has detailed information about healthy lifestyle, drugs and supplements, and tests and procedures.
www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus – The National Institutes of Health provide health reliable information for patients and family in understandable language.
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
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?
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Brain Teaser Answer:
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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:
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!
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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.
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.
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.?
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 FairbairnInspections.com, 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.