Category Archives for Featured Inspection

Langley Home Inspection Reveals Mold and Leaks in Attic

Today’s featured inspection is from the Willoughby area of Langley.

The house was built in 2012, and therefore almost new. It was a custom-built home, corner lot, approximately 4500 square feet. There was a problem, however – no warranty. The owners had built the home and were applying for a warranty at the time of inspection. (Circumstances like this are a great reason to always get a new home inspected)

Black mold growth

Black mold growth on sheathing

During the attic inspection, we discovered heavy black mold growth on the OSB (Oriented-Strand Board) sheathing. When there’s a lot of mold growing in an attic, there is usually a very obvious reason:

Loose bathroom fan in attic

A fallen bathroom fan vent

The photo above shows the main reason – this bathroom fan had fallen off and was laying on top of the loose-fill insulation. All the humidity and hot air from the main bathroom was pouring into the attic. This situation alone can put enough moisture into the space to cause serious mold problems.

Further inspection of the attic revealed over seven areas that were leaking:

An active leak in the roof (dark area)

The dark staining along the truss (left side) is a serious leak – and moisture testing confirmed this:

The moisture meter reading – 78.1% moisture content

The flashings around the roof penetrations were terrible – here’s another photo of a leak above one of the bathroom fan connections:

Leak above bathroom fan

Another leak above the second bathroom fan.

Investigation of the roof above revealed a very poorly installed roof and several critical details that were left missing. The sloppy roof installation will cost the owners of this home thousands of dollars to fix. The buyer was extremely happy he avoided such a costly repair bill.

Call us today for your Langley Home Inspection – (604) 395-2795

Leaking Deck in East Vancouver – Featured Home Inspection

Today’s featured inspection is from a detached home in East Vancouver.

The home was built in 1992, and featured a concrete tile roof and stone/stucco siding.

Balcony above living room

The upstairs master bedroom featured a deck which was directly above the living room. Although common, this design can be risky. With high levels of rainfall in our area, the deck must drain and perform perfectly, otherwise leakage into the home will occur.

Inspection of the deck revealed some bubbling and separation of the membrane. Bubbling can indicate moisture below the material. It can also break/crack when stepped on, and all blisters should be repaired if found.

Bubbling Deck Membrane

The drain area showed evidence of previous repair. This was our first warning sign. Past repairs almost always indicate a leak.

Failure of the floor drain is common; either the ABS pipe itself, or the seal around the base will fail. These areas need to be carefully checked.

Deck Membrane Repairs

We also noticed that the cap flashing at the front of the balcony had been repaired with roofing material:

Deck cap flashing repair

Since it was raining at the time of the inspection, it was a great time to see the condition of the living room ceiling. As expected, it turned out that the deck had indeed failed:

Living room ceiling deck leak

Bubbling and separation of the drywall and tape was evident, and moisture testing showed that the leak was still active.

Although this wasn’t a massive leak (yet), the repairs for this problem may be costly, and where there’s moisture, there also a chance of mold. The buyer was happy to have caught this when we did. They negotiated with the seller to have the issue fixed.

Call today for your next Home Inspection – 604 395-2795

Toxic Black Mold in Burnaby – Featured Home Inspection

Today’s featured inspection is a 1960’s home in Burnaby, BC.

The house had a rear deck, which had been closed in and turned into a bedroom underneath. However, inspection of the exterior revealed some potentially catastrophic drainage issues:

Leaking Wall

The downspout had been disconnected, the deck wall was below the soil level, and the soil at the side of the home sloped heavily toward the wall.

Going inside, we can see the results of the moisture ingress:

Toxic Black Mold GrowthToxic Black Mold in Ceiling

Toxic Black Mold Growth on WallToxic Black Mold

This house had been vacant for over a year, and in that time, the room had never been opened. All the windows were closed, everything remained wet, and the mold grew unchecked.

Toxic Black Mold, also known by its scientific name, Stachybotrys, is a type of mold that releases Mycotoxins (a poisonous compound) into the air when it breeds.

This room will need to be demolished and rebuilt.

NOTE: We offer certified Mold Testing and Inspections – if you have a mold issue in a home, please contact us today – 604 395-2795

Plumbing Problems in Maple Ridge, BC | Featured Home Inspection

Today’s featured inspection is a detached Home in Maple Ridge, BC, which was built in the 1980’s.

There were a few issues with this home, but most notably a fairly large plumbing problem:

During our inspections, if possible, we always measure water pressure. This is important as it can provide valuable information on the plumbing, pressure regulator valve, and the well equipment, if present.

This home’s interior water distribution pressure measured approximately 110 PSI. This is extremely high (we would expect about half that).

Looking at the pipes in the home, we have old polybutylene pipes, which have a history of failure and leakage.

Poly-B pipes with a pressure of over a hundred pounds will most likely burst or leak! We requested that a plumber come in and check the PRV (Pressure Regulating Valve), which may have failed.

There were also some electrical safety hazards:

The neutral wires were double (and triple) tapped. Double tapping is the dangerous practice of cramming more than one conductor into a terminal or slot. It can cause overheating and fires.

Also, the ground fault interrupter breaker had failed – another dangerous hazard. An electrician really needs to evaluate this panel!

The simple act of testing water pressure saved these buyers a potentially huge repair bill.

Bad Windows in East Vancouver – Featured Condo Inspection

Today’s featured inspection is a low-rise condo building on East 1st in Vancouver. The building was constructed in 1994 and was clad in vinyl siding and a flat roof membrane.

The big problem with any building from the nineties in Vancouver is leakage – however this building had already been fully rainscreened and didn’t show any signs of failure.

Flat Roof Membrane Wear

Slight wear at the flat roof membrane.

The roof showed some wear and granule covering loss at the edges, which will eventually lead to deterioration of the material. Overall, however, the roof was in great shape.

Walking around the building showed quite a few failed window seals:

Failed Window Seal

A Failed Window Seal

Condensation and fog between the panes of glass is a sure sign of a failed seal. During our inspection we noted approximately 1/4 of the windows had either failed or were beginning to fail. This will be a significant expense for the strata over the next few years, and replacement of all the windows at once may be a good option for them. If they do, they may impose a special levy to the owners.

Leaking Bathroom Sink

This bathroom sink leaked when tested.

Finally, the bathroom sink leaked like a sieve when tested – how do the sellers not notice this? I’m always surprised when people don’t test out their fixtures before listing their property. This will need to be fixed by a qualified plumber.

The buyer negotiated a great deal and removed subjects – they will be moving in next month!

Electrical Code Violations in Coquitlam – Featured Home Inspection

This week’s inspection is a brand-new construction home in the Maillardville area of Coquitlam. It is approximately 3000 square feet with a detached garage.

Since it hadn’t passed code inspections yet, there were some strange quirks:

That’s a receptacle – right beside the bathtub. This is an obvious code violation, and a huge safety hazard. Code requires a minimum of 1 m (3.28 ft) clearance from the edge of a bathtub/shower to an outlet. This had to be removed before the electrical inspector arrived.

A torn shingle on top of the garage – this needed to be replaced.

(Just as a side note, when a roof is brand new, the self-sealing asphalt strips won’t stick down until warm weather melts the adhesive.)

Exposed wood sheathing at the basement windows. This will need to have building paper and cladding installed.

Finally, the radiant floor heating system was checked with thermal imaging – a great way to determine possible future leakage issues.

The builder was very grateful we caught some of the issues before it was turned over, and the owner saved a significant amount of time and money, not dealing with issues that would only have been discovered after moving in.

 Call us today for your new home construction inspection – 604 395-2795

Structural Cracks and Settlement in Coquitlam – Featured Home Inspection

Today’s featured inspection is a huge home in the Dawe’s Hill area of Coquitlam. The home was custom-built in the early nineties and featured seven bedrooms and five bathrooms.

Due to the massive amount of slope on the property, the main concern with this home was the amount of settlement seen around the building:

Driveway Settlement

Driveway Settlement

:

Separation of the side stairs

Separation of the side stairs

Settlement of walk/driveways is common in some areas, and is not generally a concern. However, a closer look at the structure of the building revealed some red flags, such as this large foundation crack running about 12 feet vertically from the garage to the foundation footing:

Large Foundation Crack

Large Foundation Crack

When a home has a significant amount of movement, it will also telegraph into other materials, such as floor tiles or drywall, as seen in this photo:

Drywall Cracking

Drywall Cracking

In fact, cracks ran through most of the walls/ceilings of the East side of the home. Drywall cracks are common, but not in large numbers or when they exceed a certain width. These cracks certainly did!

I recommended a structural contractor evaluate the foundation/settlement of this home

Dangerous Foundation Problems in Deep Cove, North Vancouver – Featured Home Inspection

Today’s featured inspection is a custom house in Deep Cove, North Vancouver.

The structure design on this property was extremely unique – if you were inspecting this house and saw the following in the basement, what would you think?

Crawlspace floor

Crawlspace floor

In case it’s hard to see, that’s water running under the house. The entire house was built into bedrock on the side of a mountain. A poured concrete foundation sat atop the bedrock, forming a crawlspace. No wood framing members made contact with the bedrock (a wise choice). Prior to the inspection, we obtained a geotechnical report from the District of North Vancouver.

The attic structure had been modified; here we see some framing members had been cut to facilitate the installation of one of the two new skylights. My good friend Ken Hunter was called in to repair the defect:

Cut framing members in the attic

Cut framing members in the attic

 

Next we inspected the storage shed, which looked fine…until I inspected its foundation…

A VERY Dangerous Shed Support

A VERY Dangerous Shed Support

This was the worst support for a building I’ve ever seen. What you can’t see in the photo, is the bag of concrete beneath the bottom block. I recommended this be repaired RIGHT AWAY.

The buyer negotiated a nice deal with the sellers and will be moving in next month.

Heat Pumps and Illegal Plumbing in Fleetwood, Surrey – Featured Home Inspection

This week’s featured inspection is a large home in the Fleetwood area of Surrey.

The home was built in 2008 and featured a Heat Pump / High Efficiency gas furnace HVAC system.

The heat pump condensing unit

The heat pump condensing unit

The condensing unit was unlevel, which can cause problems with the compressor. I recommended the client remove the slope to prolong the compressor life. Otherwise the heating system was in great shape. TIP: If you have an A/C or Heat Pump unit in your home, change your filter monthly. Those little fins on the evaporator coil in the furnace get plugged easily.

This drain vent still had the cap on.

This drain vent still had the cap on.

Here’s a classic defect that always makes me laugh – the builders never removed the protective cap from the vent stack. This stack hadn’t been venting properly for over five years! This is something that I have seen code inspectors miss many times. It’s also a great reason to walk the entire roof, and not just check from the end of a ladder.

An illegal s-trap

An illegal S-trap

Someone had added a bathroom in the basement, but did not have a professional plumber perform the work – this drain line has got to go. An S-trap (Shaped like a sideways “S”) is actually a safety hazard – siphoning of the water can allow sewer gas (methane, sulfur gas) into the home. The owners had a large family and I always make a point of showing them any safety hazards after the inspection.

Double-Tapped Breakers at the Sub Panel

Double-Tapped Breakers at the Sub Panel

Finally, opening up the sub-panel revealed a double-tapped circuit. Double tapping (circled in red) is when two conductors share the same breaker terminal, which can overheat and cause a fire. This will actually be an easy fix, since there’s lots of room in the panel to add an additional breaker.

The client was thankful for the inspection and will be moving in a few months from now.

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