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About wmayne

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    home renovations / home inspector
  1. How far do you dig when something alerts you to an issue? I find sometimes I think too much, complicating things instead of just writing down what I've observed. Yesterday's inspection was a crappy beat up semi -detached, recently flipped by someone with a very low budget and even lower reno skill levels. I think the bank owned it ... no occupants. One bedroom over the garage had a flat roof. I couldn't see anything from the ground, so got out the ladder. The roof was covered in snow, but I kicked some aside with my boots. Ice and water under the snow. Here's where I probably should have s
  2. Thanks gentlemen, I appreciate all the replies. I knew the utilities own the service drops, tell clients about that if they ask, but must have had a brain fart. I learn something new every day. I seem to forget something every other day.
  3. A house I was in today had a 200 amp breaker for the main disconnect, and 3/0 service entrance conductors out to the drip loop (good for 200 amps, I believe). The conductors of the service drop from the splices out to the street were 2 gauge (good for 125 amps). I want to write this up as being unsafe (better to be on the safe side?), but I've heard that wires for service drops can be smaller because they're in free air, and won't overheat. This small house doesn't have electric heat, and a simple load calculation would not come anywhere near 125 amps. Can someone with much more experi
  4. As you said David, I only heard about it from the realtor, who's wondering who is right about the leak(s). Has anyone had positive results finding wet sheathing, framing, insulation, etc. by scanning with an IR camera from within the attic? Perhaps I'm looking for a "magic bullet" that doesn't exist? It would seem from clients' comments that possible roof leaks are one of their biggest concerns. I just don't feel my visual inspection is sufficient, considering there are areas in most attics where I can't get close enough to touch, probe with a meter, even see clearly. I know, our standards
  5. Humble Newbie here. Can anyone suggest a practical approach for evaluating moisture levels in concrete basement floors and walls? I've found that in a lot of older homes my moisture meter (Tramex ME+) reads high everywhere on the floor, and usually the lower few feet of the wall. In fact I'm finding it so often I'm reconsidering my comments ... maybe it's not a problem unless it's right off the scale. Homes built in the last 10 years or so have 6 mil poly under the slabs, so they are nice and dry, and "drainage planes" keep the walls dry too.
  6. I did a pre-listing inspection a couple of weeks ago. While I usually walk (crawl, squirm) as much of the attic as I can, the relatively low slope roof on this one made it hard to move around much. I found lots of stains on the trusses from previous leaks, and a couple of spots where the plywood sheathing was a little soft, but my trusty moisture meter (Tramex ME+) said it was dry. I walked the whole roof on the outside. Shingles about a year old, original flashings, but in good shape and re-fastened and caulked where needed. Client said the roofer had replaced any questionable sheathing w
  7. By far the best source of information I've found so far in my career is this site. My thanks to the many people who take time to share their knowledge and experience. Posts are almost always short, not always so sweet. (Sounds like the recipe for a good report?) Hey, if I want a pat on the head, I'll go see my mom. Jim, I tell all clients during my short little explanation of what I do that no house is perfect. I've seen a few people (especially first time buyers) bounce from house to house, scared off because each one has a "punch list". It may save everyone some hassle if I tell them ahe
  8. Thank you for your advice, gentlemen. It always sounds so logical and simple when someone with the experience and training that some of you have had chimes in. I like logic. Simple is good too. I believe we are bound by our respective standards of practice and codes of ethics to explain to our clients any significant issues (even latent ones) that we have found during an inspection. However, often the hard part is to help them keep the items in the report in proper perspective. No house is perfect, right? We tell them what we found, what might happen as a result, and move on. Yes, I had on
  9. Inspected a 50 year old home on Saturday that had originally been a cottage sitting on blocks, which was raised onto a full basement foundation in 1988. A double wide driveway slopes over a distance of about 35 feet to the garage floor, which is level with the basement. Basement is about 5 feet below grade. The only drainage for this natural "catch basin" is a 1 1/4 inch pipe opening flush with the concrete outside the garage door. The pipe leads to a small sediment pit inside the garage, which is drained by another 1 1/4 inch pipe (I don't know where it drains to, if I was the homeowner I
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