Is There a Garden In Your Gutters?

Where, Oh Where, Does Your Garden Grow?

One of the most common issues discovered during most any Raleigh Home Inspection is water-related issues e.g. wet crawl spaces, wet basements, deteriorated foundations, decayed exterior wall cladding and components, etc. And one important reason for much of the home maintenance mayhem is a failure to fully and completely control the roof run-off water. The reason that gutters are so important to the well-being of a home is that, without them, the large volume  of water that comes cascading off of your roof is just gonna’ do its own thing. What with gravity and all, its ‘thing’ is splashing onto porches and patios, eroding the soil along the foundation, over-flowing and causing decay to fascia and eaves, and wreaking general havoc with your house. It is undeniable that if there aren’t any gutters installed, then they should be. It’s this Home Inspectors opinion that they should be a required system on all houses…all buildings for that matter… but that’s left for another post.

Functional gutters are important to the well-being of a home

Your Raleigh Home Inspector asks "Where Does Your Garden Grow?"

 

If a young forest is thriving in your gutters…then it just may be time for a ‘plow-under’…or something like that. Gutters that are full of organic debris e.g leaves, etc. cannot be properly functional. Functional, in this instance, means the ability to efficiently control and mange roof run-off water. So, if your home has blocked/clogged gutters, it’s probably time to have them cleaned to preclude expensive and unnecessary repairs later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow us on Google+

Raleigh Home Inspector Asks: Is Your Clothes Dryer Quietly Trying To Kill You!

The following original article was written by Gary Gentry, The Raleigh Home Inspector, as a guest post for the good folks at Fonville Morisey Realty for publication in their Faces of Fonville blog. Fonville Morisy Realty is a leading real estate company, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, that routinely provides important professional assistance to people engaged in the process of buying or selling a home. Many thanks to Lisa Sullivan for allowing Quality Residential Inspections to be a contributor!

Raleigh Home Inspector Asks: Is Your Clothes Dryer Quietly Trying To Kill You?

A rather startling question posed by the Raleigh Home Inspector considering that most of us, an estimated 8 out of 10 households, have a clothes dryer in our home and that they’re used on a regular, consistent basis without too much thought. What mighty fine pieces of modern marvel they are, too…those ole’ trusty clothes dryers! They certainly make life easier and they’re generally safe to operate. Let’s be honest, though…we take our clothes dryers for granted! We wash our clothes, toss em’ in the dryer, and expect that the end result will be an uneventful load of nice, dry, clean-smelling laundry. Indeed, that is the usual result. However, as with many of the relatively complex systems that comprise a home environment, there are some safety considerations to ponder and of which we need to maintain an awareness.

Again, clothes dryers are generally safe…as long as they’re properly installed, well vented, and receive periodic maintenance. Maintenance, you say? You mean like changing the oil in the family car? Well, yes…precisely that sort of routine maintenance albeit on, perhaps, a less frequent basis. The clothes dryer and its venting system need…no, require, periodic maintenance to keep you safe and to dry your clothes as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. Let’s examine those two concepts as they relate to clothes dryers…those of safety and of monetary efficiency.

As for the safety aspect, it’s really fairly simple. Your clothes dryer has the potential to catch fire and burn your house down. And, most unfortunately, a resulting house fire can kill you! Have I acquired your attention? Between 2004 and 2006, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), there were an estimated 15,600 related residential fires that required a fire department response. Those fires caused an estimated annual monetary loss of $99 Million, 400 injuries, and 15 fatalities. The leading cause of those fires was determined to be a failure to maintain the system. What causes these expensive, and sometimes deadly, clothes dryer related fires in the first place?

Clothes dryers do their job by forcing heated air through a rotating drum that contains your load of laundry. As the moisture is released, lint is created from the fibers of the content…clothing, towels, etc. Most of the lint is filtered by the clothes dryer filter…the one we are familiar with that’s usually located inside the door or on top of the unit; most of us are familiar with the need to clean that filter after every load of laundry. But some of that lint makes it past the filter and can collect in the ductwork between the clothes dryer and the exhaust hood (the discharge end of the duct that should…should, I say, be located be at the exterior of the building). The accumulation of lint inside the ductwork, or in an uncleaned filter, serves to create a restriction to the airflow and a concentration of lint which is a very combustible fuel source.

The Raleigh Home Inspector On: Clothes Dryer Duct Types

The Raleigh Home Inspector knows some types ofclothes dryer ducts are better than others

As a Raleigh Home Inspector and owner of a Raleigh Home Inspection firm, I routinely observe and report on clothes dryer ducts that are in very poor condition. Often, the types of installed ducts are conducive to venting problems. There are generally four different types of ducts. There are rigid metal ducts that are smooth on the inside; these are by far the safest types of ducts because they aren’t prone to sagging and are relatively easily cleaned. There are semi-rigid, semi-flexible ducts that are not quite as “good” as rigid metal ducts but are also a reasonable choice. And then there are the other two types…flexible foil and flexible plastic. These latter two types account for the majority of deficient issues that I see relating to clothes dryer ducts. They are thin, are prone to sagging and to physical damage, are not able to be readily cleaned, and should just plainly be avoided. Those plastic ducts will not only do absolutely nothing to contain a fire should one start in or near the duct, they will actually readily burn themselves…bad, bad, bad! Then there’s the “failure to clean” aspect where the duct is mostly blocked with lint. It’s these conditions of improperly installed ductwork, the use of unsafe or improper ductwork, or a failure to maintain the cleanliness of the ducts that cause the most troublesome issues. It’s worthy of note that most all manufacturers of clothes dryers disallow the use of those horrid plastic flexible ducts; nonetheless, they continue to be used in many homes…even in newer homes! Also worthy of note is that, in most jurisdictions, those plastic flexible ducts have never been allowed to penetrate floors or walls… but that’s a commonly observed configuration as well.

Raleigh Home Inspector On Clothes Dryer Duct Safety

The Raleigh Home Inspector routinely observes damaged clothes dryer ducts

Even when an acceptable material has been installed, ductwork can be damaged e.g. that portion of the duct that is behind the dryer between the dryer and the wall. Dryer duct hoods can get bent or become clogged with lint. Or, the back-draft damper of the hood can be incapacitated such that it doesn’t fully close; when this occurs, vermin such as rodents and insects can enter the duct or birds can enter the duct and build nests that can severely restrict or block the airflow.

As for the monetary efficiency of the operation of your clothes dryer (meaning the amount of money you’ll spend to operate it), that’s fairly simple, too. A dryer that’s not well vented, that has a clogged filter, or that has a partially or wholly clogged vent duct has to work all that much harder, and longer, to dry your clothes. Any or all of those conditions will contribute you to having to spend more of your hard-earned money to operate the dryer and can directly (and quickly I might add) lead to outright failure of the dryer. Simply put, it’ll cost you more money to do your laundry while your clothes dryer approaches its pending failure. Then, when it quits, you’ll have the unanticipated opportunity to plunk down a considerable amount of money to replace it. Now, to me, that doesn’t sound like a pleasant scenario. Does it to you?

So…what can you do to prevent potential catastrophe and operate your clothes dryer as efficiently as possible? First, clean your clothes dryer duct, or have it cleaned, on a regular basis; annually might be good starting point but some systems might require more frequent cleaning. Second, make sure that the duct system is in a safe and fully functional condition. Have a professional assess the condition and configuration of the system in your home. Such a professional might be a licensed Home Inspector or a licensed Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) professional…either of these types of professionals should be able to assess your system and make pertinent recommendations. In many instances where flexible foil or flexible plastic ducts are installed, a recommendation to replace those types of ductwork with a more suitable product, one that is both safer and is more readily cleaned, would not be unreasonable.

In summary, clothes dryers are great inventions that make our lives easier on a daily basis. However, we tend to take them for granted and, if not well installed or properly maintained, they can be problematic. An improperly configured duct system, or the use of certain types of dryer ducts, or a failure to maintain the system can lead to an excessive consumption of your money. Much worse and of greater import, these deficiencies can cause a house fire that can take your life or cause significant damage to your home. Inspect your system and its installation, or have it evaluated by a professional and repaired or corrected as needed…the condition of your wallet, and maybe even your very life, may depend on it!

To read other articles written by Gary Gentry, your Raleigh Home Inspector, visit his eZine Expert Author Page.

Raleigh Home Inspection Firm On: Those Pesky Pests

As a leading Raleigh Home Inspection firm, we often get asked by our clients about pests and insects and such.

While the identification and reporting of such things is outside the scope and Standards of Practice of a Raleigh Home Inspection in North Carolina (unless the Raleigh Inspector happens to be appropriately licensed), Home Inspectors are in a position to…”notice” …evidence that there may be issues with any particular home regarding pests. I mean, after all, we are the ones crawling around in the Crawl Spaces where most fear to tread. Most clients are aware that we are in an area where termites are a potentially major issue. Now there’s a word that strikes fear into home-buyers…but what about the other myriad of bothersome pests that might be present?

There are often some mostly obvious signs that there is, or has been, an issue. Many times, we’ll discover bait traps, rodentcides, glue blocks, and any number of readily available “systems” designed to rid an area of pests. Are those types of treatments effective? Maybe so and maybe no. But based on our experience, nothing beats the work of a professional who knows exactly what they are doing and who has all the right tools and methodologies to identify and correct most any problem.

Raleigh Home Inspection On Pests

A Glue Trap Observed In A Crawl Space During A Raleigh Home Inspection

Raleigh Home Inspection On Pests

A Bait Trap Observed During A Raleigh Home Inspection

Raleigh Home Inspection On Pests

Another Type Of Glue Trap Observed During A Raleigh Home Inspection

Raleigh Inspector On Evidence Of Pests

A Rodentcide Pellet Pack Observed In A Crawl Space By The Raleigh Inspector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In any event, your Raleigh Home Inspector may notify you, either in your Home Inspection report or verbally during the Home Inspection, that the house might have an issue with pests.  In that instance, it might be prudent to contact a licensed Pest Control Operator to determine what issues might be present and what might be the best way to remedy the problem.

If you are in need of a professional Home Inspection, we recommend you hire an Inspector that is certified by the American Society Of Home Inspectors (ASHI)…one that is a member of the North Carolina Chapter of ASHI (NCASHI).

Call Quality Residential Inspections at 919-848-4833 and schedule your Home Inspection today! Or Schedule Your Home Inspection right here on our website…

The Raleigh Home Inspector On: Summer Storm Damage

This time of year, the Raleigh Inspector and Quality Residential Inspections are often made aware of damage caused by summer storms and by the copious amounts of water that they can bring with them. It is of the utmost importance that your roof, gutters/downspouts, and decks be periodically assessed, particularly after the passing of any of our numerous summer storms, to make sure that any damage is recognized and corrected as soon as possible.

Summer storm damage: What to look for and how to fix it

(ARA) – Storms are a natural part of summer. After a storm has passed and it is safe to go outside, take stock of your home and repair any minor damage caused by the storm. Repairing minor problems quickly can help ensure they don’t evolve into major headaches.

The home improvement and maintenance experts at Lowe’s offer some guidelines for assessing and dealing with storm damage:

Checking the roof:

Your roof and gutters will often take the brunt of a storm’s power. After a storm, check out roof shingles by walking slowly around your home and inspecting from the ground. Use a good pair of binoculars to look for lifting or missing shingles around the edges, valleys, plumbing and furnace vent pipes and the chimney.

Raleigh Home Inspector on Storm and Roof Damage

Summer Storms Can Cause Damage To The Roof Of Your Home

You can also inspect your roof from inside the attic. Discoloration of the decking or plywood surface of the roof could signal problems. And if you can see light coming in around plumbing vents or the chimney, it means the flashing needs to be repaired or replaced.

Roof repairs can be difficult and dangerous for homeowners, even if you’re an adept do-it-yourselfer. So be careful when climbing on your roof to inspect damage, especially after a storm when damage is unknown. Ask for professional help at your local home improvement store if you have any doubt about your abilities. You can also visit www.Lowes.com/roofing for more information about patching or replacing your roof.

Maintaining your gutters:

Clogged gutters and downspouts can keep water from being carried away from your roof. Follow this gutter health checklist for obvious signs of failing gutters:

* Gutter hanging off the roof
* Downspout disconnected from the gutter or house
* Missing gutters
* Water in the basement or elsewhere inside the house
* Leaking or dripping gutter seams
* Overflowing gutters

Gutter damage usually takes one of three forms – holes, cracks or sags. You can easily repair minor sags or pin-sized holes yourself. If careful inspection reveals a pinhole, use an abrasive pad to clean the area. Then, cut a piece of material – the same kind as the gutters – that is 1 inch larger than the hole on all sides. Using a stiff brush, spread a bit of gutter repair compound on the area around the hole and place your patch over the top. Cover the patch with another layer of compound to ensure a good seal.

Raleigh Home Inspection On: Storm and Gutter Damage

Maintianing the gutters of your home is an important aspect of home maintenance

To repair minor sags, simply add a new hanging bracket to the sagging area or replace an existing one if it’s old or damaged. Screw in the bracket until the gutter is back in proper alignment. Be sure to use hanging brackets that are designed for your type of gutter system.

Cracks or more serious gutter damage may require professional help.

Caring for decks:

The safety of your deck after a storm passes through is of great importance, especially if you entertain regularly on your deck. Check for damaged boards and replace them with the appropriate decking material. Tighten loose fasteners or replace them if they won’t tighten. Tap down and set protruding nails or replace them with deck screws. Check for splinters, especially along handrails and steps, and smooth them with sandpaper.

If your deck is too far gone and you have to build a new one, consider using composite decking, such as Trex or ChoiceDek. The decking material is low maintenance, splinter free and mold resistant. You can also use traditional treated lumber for a more economical option.

Sometimes storm damage is unavoidable. But making quick repairs can help ensure your home is safe, sound and dry before the next storm of summer arrives.

If you are purchasing a home and are in need of a Raleigh Home Inspection, or a Home Inspection anywhere in the Triangle region of North Carolina, then give us a call at 919-848-4833 or Schedule Your Home Inspection right here on our website. We look forward to providing you with the very best, and most professional, inspections and ancillary services available.

Quality Residential Inspections also provides Radon-In-Air Testing

Raleigh Inspector On: Why Winterizing Your Fence Is An Important Part Of Home Maintenance

As a Raleigh Inspector, and when evaluating the physical condition of properties as part of a Raleigh Home Inspection, we often see fences that are,  well… in less than stellar condition. Wood fences, metal fences…they all need some routine maintenance to keep em’ in good condition.  Fences and gates just seem to get neglected.  Routine fence maintenance is an important component of the overall maintenance plan for a home. And fences aren’t cheap to install or replace either…so a little maintenance effort can go a long way toward saving a homeowner some money over the long term.  If the home has a swimming pool, then the proper installation and maintenance becomes more than just a maintenance issue because there is an increased liability associated with the condition of the fence and its gates. Most fence and gate maintenance can be a do-it-yourself project. The following article delves into the issue of fence and gate maintenance.

Why Winterizing Your Fence Is An Important Part Of Home Maintenance

(ARA) – Winter rain and storms take a toll on metal gate hardware. Inexpensive gravity latches function fine when new. However, as soon as rust sets in or gates fall out of alignment, these latches no longer close without manual assistance.

A well-maintained fence can protect your home and possessions, prevent young children and pets from venturing out of your yard

Homeowners Will Benefit From Routine Fence And Gate Maintenance

Homeowners Will Benefit From Routine Fence And Gate Maintenance

without your knowledge, and keep unwelcome intruders out.

A fence that has been allowed to deteriorate, particularly if the gate no longer closes and latches securely, is a liability. It won’t provide constant reminders that repairs are needed, like a leaking roof, but it still needs to be fixed. You could be subjected to a lawsuit if someone enters your property, even without your permission, and is injured. A well-maintained fence surrounding your property can reduce that liability.

Professional fencing contractors can be consulted for minor repairs, as well as new or replacement fencing, but there are many “do-it-yourself” steps homeowners can take to preserve the appearance as well as extend the useful life of their fences.

For wood fencing:
* Protect against dry rot. If it’s already invaded the wood, pry or cut the damaged section out, scrub the remaining fence with mild detergent or diluted bleach and replace the section you removed with the same type of wood that was used in the original fence. Then, prime and paint or stain the entire fence.

For metal fencing:
* Powder-coated aluminum needs little maintenance, but if the coating has worn off in areas, it will need to be sealed and repainted before winter weather causes the metal to rust.

* Steel or wrought iron fencing needs to be repainted when it rusts. Use a stiff metal brush to remove rust, wash thoroughly, then prime and paint with a rust-proof paint.

Gates and gate hardware are the only movable parts on a fence system, so they’re subject to the most wear and tear. Rust and gate misalignment are the most common problems that prevent latches from engaging properly. If the gate does not latch each time it’s closed, the entire fence is ineffective.

Selecting the right gate hardware can prevent most of these problems. An investment in quality when buying new, or when replacing defective or old hardware, can mean that little or no maintenance needs to be done to the gate. Gate hinges and latches by D&D Technologies, made of strong engineering polymers and stainless steel that will not rust, are adjustable during and after installation to easily correct for gate alignment issues in seconds.

It takes just a few minutes to update your gates so they close automatically after opening (self-closing) and the gate latch engages without manual effort (self-latching), improving the security and overall look of your fence. Most D&D latches feature built-in key locks, which eliminate the hassle and extra cost of a separate padlock or pull-string. The company’s hinges have a built-in self-closing spring that is tension adjustable for different gate weights with a twist of a screwdriver.

Rust-free gate hardware by D&D Technologies is now available under the Stanley or National Hardware brand through select Lowe’s stores or online at www.lowes.com, and through other hardware retailers. See www.ddtechglobal.com, e-mail info@ddtechusa.com or call (800) 716-0888, ext. 292 for details.

The gate is the only part of the fence that is used daily. Ensuring that your fences and gates are functioning properly and are protected from rust is an essential part of maintaining your property.

Raleigh Home Inspector: Keep Spring Pests From Hatching In Your Home

When we’re inside of homes performing Home Inspections, we often see bugs… sometimes,  allot of bugs. Even though the reporting of the presence of insects is outside the scope of a formal Home Inspection, most people don’t like em’ very much…agreed? So, part of a home maintenance plan should be the identification and treatment of those pesky pests. The Raleigh Home Inspector found value in this article… and we hope that you do as well. At the end of the article there is a source for a simple checklist that can be used by a homeowner to search out problem areas…and some pretty good general information as well

Keep Spring Pests From Hatching In Your Home

(ARA) – As spring approaches, homeowners won’t be the only ones opting for stay-cations. Insects that hibernate during cold winter months reappear in the spring, setting their sights on a location closer to home than you think – the safety and warmth of your house.

Hundreds of thousands of pests breed and hatch in large numbers in early spring. For example, most spiders live either one to two seasons and one female spider may produce as many as 3,000 eggs.

“Hidden places in your home could be the breeding ground for pests that hatch in spring,” says Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide and fertilizer products used in and around homes and businesses. “Once these pests hatch, their numbers quickly increase, and food sources and shelter often determine the length of their stay.”

Pests like bed bugs and stink bugs that have found their way into homes across the country often stay year round, as long as they

 As spring approaches, bugs are breeding and hatching in the cleanest of homes.

As spring approaches, bugs are breeding and hatching in the cleanest of homes.

find food and shelter.

Also, as the spring real estate market heats up, many lenders are requiring re-inspections that could reveal pest-related health and safety hazards. At least buyers and sellers are on the same page about one thing: the importance of taking preventive action to avoid or manage pest infestations. Ask any pest management professional to share horror stories about problems new homeowners have experienced with pests, often with repercussions for sellers who neglected to fix a problem.

What can homeowners and sellers do? Take these easy-to-follow steps, suggested by the acronym I.N.S.P.E.C.T:

Investigate – Become a pest detective and investigate your home or a potential new home for pest problems. On the inside of your home, open food containers, look for cracks in interior walls, look for signs of droppings, check vents to the outside, holes in window screens and know that pests like to hide in cool, dark places like attics and basements. On the outside of your home, make sure the cold temperatures aren’t causing cracks in your exterior walls, and investigate for holes, unsealed garbage cans, woodpiles and plants that may be too close to the home. Also, check any structure that can hold standing water, which is a favorite breeding ground for mosquitoes. Also check for stinging insect nests on the ground or in your gutters.

Study – Identify your pest problem so that you can use the proper method to solve or control the issue. Take time to search reputable online sites to identify pests. You can also contact a university extension office, or visit a local garden store that may have insight on common pests in the area.

Prepare – Think about the tools you’ll need to solve your problem, including gloves, caulk and insecticides or herbicides. “One of the most common problems homeowners have is that they aren’t sure which products to use or who to call to solve the problem,” says Janet Hurley, integrated pest management specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. “Doing your research, talking to professionals and correctly using the products are the quickest ways to effectively end those pesky pest problems.”

Eliminate – Take the time to eliminate access points and other inviting entryways for pests lurking outside. Remember to seal windows, caulk gaps around windows and doors and fix any water leaks. Be ready to tackle neglected or overgrown shrubs and trees near your home. These areas encourage ticks, fleas and stinging insects to stay, increasing your risk for Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and infections and allergic reactions resulting from bites and stings.

Clean – Pests need a place to live, food and a source of water, so make sure you aren’t providing them with room, board and all the comforts of home. For example, store cereals, crackers and other food items in plastic containers with secure lids. Without easy access, pests won’t be able to find their way into your food.

Treat – Treating pest problems with the responsible use of pesticide products will help keep your home, lawn and community pest-free. This includes purchasing the right products for your problem. For some significant pest problems, such as termites, calling a certified pest professional is the best option.

To make inspecting your home easy, visit www.debugthemyths.com/inspectandprotect for a step-by-step checklist. You’ll also find additional resources including regional fact sheets, kids’ activities and other helpful information to help you protect your family’s health and your property value from pests.

Raleigh Home Inspector on Mortar Joint Repairs/Maintenance

One of the most common deficiencies  observed by this Raleigh Home Inspector during the performance of a Raleigh Home Inspection, is that of deteriorated mortar joints at brickwork. Most often, we find this deterioration at exterior steps and inside masonry fireplaces. And with older homes, the mortar joints of the exterior brick or brick veneer wall cladding has begun to deteriorate. With the right tools and appropriate repair materials, the maintenance or repair of such deterioration can become a maintenance task for the  “do-it-yourselfer”…

Protect Your Home By Making Minor Mortar Repairs

(ARA) – With colder temperatures looming, now is the time to check your home for deteriorating mortar joints and loose mortar – and make any minor repairs before they turn into major headaches.

Freezing rain, ice, snow and deicers, as well as freeze/thaw temperature cycles have the potential to cause costly damage. Unrepaired damage can allow water to seep in between cracked, loose mortar and cause interior wall damage.

Minor cosmetic repairs to mortar can be made on any type of brick walls – including garden walls, a home’s exterior brick and chimneys. And making such repairs is easier than many homeowners realize – all you need is a caulk gun and the right repair material.

Re-Pointing Of Exterior Brickwork Mortar Joints

With The Right Tools and Materials, Re-pointing Of Exterior Brickwork Mortar Joints Can Be A Do-It-Yourself Maintenance Task

A sanded acrylic mortar repair caulk – such as Quikrete Mortar Repair – will give the appearance of mortar in texture and color and is a more easily undertaken project for homeowners who are nervous about mixing mortar. The caulk’s sanded acrylic formula adheres to brick, block, stone and concrete surfaces, and the caulk tube’s square applicator tip is designed to smooth mortar joints during application of the caulk.

Before applying, make sure joints are clean, dry and free of grease, dust or loose particles, and remove all loose mortar from the  joint. Apply the caulk by pushing the cartridge tip over the surface and forcing a bead of caulking into the opening. Do not apply any thicker than 3/8 inch in one application. Excess caulk can be wiped off with a damp cloth.

For homeowners looking to repair cracks in their fireplace, there is a specially designed mortar that is ideal for repairing damage commonly found in fireboxes. Quikrete Fireplace Mortar is a silicate-based refractory cement caulk ideal for tuck

Re-Pointing Fireplace Brickwork Mortar Joints

If You Have A Masonry Fireplace, Re-pointing Of Brickwork Mortar Joints Is A Part of Home Maintenance

pointing damaged firebox mortar joints and repairing chips, cracks and breaks in fire brick commonly found in fireplaces and wood burning stoves. Once cured, the mortar provides superior adhesion for a durable repair while withstanding temperatures up to 2,000 F. keep reading, there’s more

Raleigh Home Inspection Firm Suggests That Gutters Should Be Installed On Every Home

What if gutters were installed on every single-family home that was ever built? Well, I suggest that things would be different in many ways…at least insofar as homes, the owners of those homes, and the owners wallets are concerned.

Most people don’t give much though to gutters. As a Raleigh Home Inspector and the owner of a Raleigh Home Inspection firm in North Carolina, I give thought to them most every day. Either there are gutters installed on a home or there aren’t…It’s one of the very first observations I make when I arrive at a property to perform a Home Inspection. And here’s the thing…in the vast majority of instances where there are no gutters installed to control all that roof run-off water, the home exhibits some deficiency or deterioration as a direct result. Why is that?

When no gutters are installed, then all of that wonderful, beautiful, life-giving substance that we know to be water falls onto the roof, runs off of the roof, and is deposited immediately onto the ground next to the foundation…or onto other surfaces such as patios or driveways. This is where the troubles begin.

Too much water adjacent to a foundation can have potentially disastrous results. Uncontrolled grade and roof run-off water can make its way into crawl spaces and that excessive moisture can lead directly to decay of wood structural components like floor joists and support beams. It can also lead directly to conditions that are conducive to the growth of fungal growth…mold and mildew and other such nasty undesirables that can, and often are, associated with health issues.

And the adverse effect of water on buildings isn’t limited to those home constructed on crawl space foundations. Homes constructed on basements are especially vulnerable…in the first place, who wants a wet basement? But excess water on the exterior side of a basement foundation wall can be more than simply annoying or uncomfortable…it can lead to serious structural issues as well. When the soil is constantly wet immediately next to the foundation, that wet soil can exert tremendous inward force against the structure as a result of a phenomenon called hydrostatic pressure where the wet soil presses against the exterior of the foundation and dramatically increases the associated lateral loads, or force, applied to the wall. Resulting structural failure can be very technically challenging, and very expensive, to repair. Roof run-off water that splashes onto walkways, driveways, and porches is yet another common problem. That water often splashes up onto the building and causes the decay of wood doors, door trim, siding, and other such components.

Homes constructed using the concrete slab-on-grade methodology aren’t immune either…although the effects of all that water around a slab foundation might not be readily apparent and may not become obvious for some time to come.

One very simple, and relatively inexpensive way to prevent the possibility of these types of issues is to install a gutter system to control the roof run-off water and discharge that water well away from the foundation. I have found that seamless aluminum gutters are the most effective because…(drum roll, please)…they don’t have any seams that can leak. Properly sized seamless gutters, combined with properly sized and extended downspouts, or splash blocks placed on the soil with a positive drainage slope (so the water runs away from the building rather than toward it), will allow for adequate control of the roof run-off water and preclude that water from damaging a home.Seamless gutters

Of course, as with most things, there are other related considerations. First, those wonderful gutters that are doing such a magnificent job of protecting your home…they’re going to have to be routinely maintained and kept clear of debris such as leaves and the like. Because in my professional experience, having evaluated many, many thousands of homes, the only thing worse that a home with no gutters installed…is a home with a clogged or failing gutter system installed. Gutters and downspouts that are allowed to become clogged are just as potentially damaging as having none at all. Most gutters are going to overflow during periods of very heavy rainfall…but gutters and downspouts that are allowed to become clogged will overflow during even minimal or moderate rainfall. And that water can damage other wood components like fascia and soffit at the eaves around the home…and that’s while it’s on the way to the ground where it can be detrimental in the ways previously mentioned.

So simple and inexpensive is the installation of gutters and downspouts that I suggest they should be required components for every home ever built. I have often heard home builders say “We don’t use gutters because they look ugly!”. Personally, I’ve never seen a gutter or a downspout that is more ugly than a wet, nasty crawl space…or a rotten piece of wood…or an expensive door that is so rotten it needs to be replaced. And I should point out that most conscientious builders of quality homes do, indeed, install gutter systems on their homes because…(another drum roll, please)…it makes good common sense!

If there aren’t any gutters installed on your valuable home….then I urge you to have them installed by an appropriate professional. If gutters are installed, then go out and give em’ a good look and make sure they are clear of debris and in good working order.

In summary, an effective gutter system, consisting of seamless gutters and extended downspouts that discharge roof run-off water well away from the foundation, is such a positive aspect of a “healthy” home, that it just simply should not be over-looked. It is exceptionally valuable insurance against expensive repairs as a result of water damage. And they’re relatively inexpensive, too. Who doesn’t like that?

Laminate Flooring Is An Alternative To “Real” Wood

If your home maintenance projects have led you to the conclusion that some of your finish floor covering needs to be replaced, then take a look at laminate flooring….it is durable alternative to wood that is worthy of consideration. This Raleigh Home Inspector installed some laminate flooring in his own home; after six years, its performance and durability are proving to be quite satisfactory.

(ARA) – You love the look of natural wood flooring but are afraid to install hardwood because you know the floor will take a beating from the kids, dogs and the heavy day-to-day traffic all too common in modern family life.

But you don’t have to sacrifice high style looks for boring sensibility when considering a new flooring option in your home – not if you choose laminate, that is.

Today’s best laminates combine the realistic grain and texture of wood with high durability and scratch and indentation resistance that “authentic” wood floors don’t provide, according to Jeff Katz, director – laminate for Tarkett Residential, a leading provider of innovative and sustainable flooring. And not only are today’s laminates available at a fraction of the cost of real wood floors, but they’re right in sync with the latest designs.

“There’s always a new decorating trend around the corner,” Katz says. “It’s imperative for manufacturers to respond to market demand, keeping up with the most up-to-date trends to ensure consumers are getting the latest in style and design, as well as technology.”

One such line is Tarkett’s Trends laminate, a durable new collection featuring eight of the hottest flooring designs, including Old World-inspired antique-stained planks and soft, hand scraped wood grains. Colors and styles in this line will continually rotate out with new introductions to give homeowners the newest, most popular looks in flooring, ultimately providing them with the high style of premium wood floors without the fuss.

“That’s the beauty of laminate products,” Katz says. “They’re the new normal – great-looking products that deliver great performance at a great value.

When shopping for laminate products consumers should look for flooring that is engineered with sturdy inner core board layers – preferably ones that deliver high impact resistance (at least an IC3 rating). This type of rating helps provide excellent indentation resistance, and when combined with highly rated top surface protection (AC3 or better) kids and pets can run and play freely on laminate floors without making a dent or marring up the surface’s good looks. As a result, laminate flooring is so durable versus real wood products that some laminates come with up to a full lifetime warranty.

What’s more, creating a laminate flooring transformation in your home is a relatively simple DIY project. Many of today’s new laminate floors come in easy-to-install planks that simply snap together without the need for messy glue or nails to pound. Laminates can even be used over several types of existing flooring, often eliminating the need for costly sub-floor preparation.

“Consumers now have the choice of selecting laminate floor innovations that provide excellent performance and value, while also reflecting and accommodating their changing tastes,” Katz says. “Laminate flooring solutions keep up with their day-to-day life. That’s something we know will never go out of style.” For more information about the latest trends in laminate flooring, visit www.tarkettna.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

For a Raleigh Home Inspection, call Quality Residential Inspections to schedule today……919.848.4833. We provide Home Inspections, and related ancillary services e.g. Radon testing and water testing, to the greater Triangle region of North Carolina to include Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Clayton, Garner, and Durham.

Protect Your Home From Termite Damage

In the United States, termites are most abundant in the South and Southwest. Here in North Carolina, we are definitely in the “termite belt”…and as Home Inspectors, it is quite routine for us to discover damage, or visible evidence of likely damage, during the performance of a Raleigh Home Inspection. The little critters are a very big problem that can potentially plague your home…..and your pocketbook…. if they are allowed to reside with you in your home. You just want to live in and enjoy your home, right? Well, the pesky little termites live only to eat it and destroy it! (Boooo….hisssss….bad). This excellent article contains some great tips to protect your home from damage.

Protect your home from termite damage

(ARA) – As Americans head outside to tend to their lawns and repair their houses, it’s just as important to consider what might be happening out of sight, deep inside the home.

Termites, which are found in every state except Alaska, live in colonies that eat continuously. These wood-destroying pests eat homes from the inside out, making their presence difficult to detect. Termites annually cause more than $5 billion in damage, and the destruction termites cause is not normally covered by homeowners insurance, leaving owners to pay an average of $3,000 in out-of-pocket costs for repairs, according to Terminix.

“In most cases, it’s easy to tell when a house is in need of repair. Either the paint is chipping or the roof is leaking. But that’s not usually the case with termite activity,” says Paul Curtis, a Terminix entomologist. “Because termites are often active in the least visible areas of a home, it can be difficult for the homeowner to tell whether they have a termite problem or not.”

Usually, homeowners will only be able to tell they have a termite infestation during swarm season. That’s when winged, reproductive termites leave their colonies and establish new ones.

A swarm can be identified by the large number of flying termites and by the discarded wings they often leave near doors and windows.

“Termites do not discriminate. They eat wooden framing, support beams and the wood flooring inside your home the same way they would a tree in the forest,” Curtis says.

While swarming only takes place during certain times of the year, termite colonies never stop eating, even to rest or sleep. Unless evidence of a swarm is discovered, or damage is severe enough to be noticed, a trained professional will most likely be required to identify the presence of termites within a home.

Although eliminating termites requires the help of a trained professional, homeowners can take the following proactive steps to make their homes less inviting to these wood-destroying pests:

1. Fix the roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows termites to survive above ground.

2. Clean and repair gutters. Gutters that do not drain properly can allow water to accumulate near the foundation.

3. Eliminate wood-to-soil contact. Any wood that simultaneously touches the soil and the home can provide termites with direct access to the structure.

4. Keep mulch or soil from being piled against the home’s siding. Soil or mulch allowed to pile up against the home can hide termite activity.

5. Avoid storing items in the crawlspace. Pieces of scrap lumber, boxes or even books can serve as a food source for termites.

6. Maintain adequate ventilation in crawlspaces. Termites prefer moist conditions. Eliminating moisture can help make the environment less suitable to them.

7. Use a mesh screen on all windows, doors and ventilation openings. Screening will help prevent winged termites from entering the home.

8. Schedule an annual inspection with a trained professional. Prompt treatment and regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Call your Raleigh Home Inspector today at 919.848.4833 to schedule your Home Inspection. Quality Residential Inspection is your trusted source for professional Home Inspection and related services.