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Mark P

Poria Incrassata in Attic?

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Okay I may not be the quickest brain child around, but I feel pretty good about today’s inspection. All in all it was a pretty exciting day. First I found hidden moisture in a wall with my IR camera. I was alone so I really got to play with the camera and investigate the moisture is the walls. I figured there was a leak from around the chimney. Then I go into the attic and realize the chimney terminates inside the attic. My first thought was that it was a shitty roof job, even though it was only a year old. After 5 minutes in the attic looking in wonderment at the incredible amount of moisture dripping down it finally occurred to me that the furnace and water heater were venting up the chimney and into the attic and all that water vapor was condensing on the underside of the roof and falling down like rain. It was not a roof leak, after all.

This is a really tall attic and there is no floor to set up a ladder on so I could get a close up look at the peak. What do you think the white stuff is? Poria Incrassata? Is it possible for Poria to grown in an attic, I think so considering all the moisture. My concern is that the wood is so wet and if it is Poria then even if it dries out that framing would need replaced. Will Poria die and the wood be saved once the moisture is stoppe and the framing dries out? What a shame. What a bone-head move, someone needs to be slapped silly.

Thought and comments are appreciated.

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I don't think it's poria incrassata. I've seen that stuff and it's brown, fungal-looking and thicker. Whether it can grow in an attic, I don't know, but I doubt it.

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I saw a statement once; I can't remember where but it must have been a pretty credible source or I wouldn't have remembered it, that maintained that for every 10% of wood that's affected by wood rot fungi the wood loses 50% of its strength.

There's no way to save that. The roof and roof framing has to come off and be redone. Do not even suggest "sistering" as it won't work.

I first learned about Poria about a decade ago. I found it, researched it, contacted Prof. Jeff Morrell down in Oregon and asked him what it was. He explained that it was Poria and told me to recommend they strip the roof off and rebuild it because it couldn't be saved. I related that in my report. That was the last I heard about the matter for about 9 months. Then one stormy February night I was on the ferry coming back from a job on Bainbridge Island when I got a cell call from the client, "Mike, it's raining in my bathroom." "Who is this," I asked. "It's XXXXXX XXXXXX, remember me?" she asked. I answered, "Yeah, I remember you. So, you've got rain coming in through the ceiling of your bathroom?" "No," she answered, "I don't have a roof over my bathroom and it's raining through a huge hole in the roof." "Where's your house," I asked. She answered, "You know, the house you inspected for me." Now she's got my attention, "You bought that house?!" I asked. "Yeah, why," she responded. "'Cuz that roof was badly rotted and needed to be torn off and rebuilt. Did they do that." "No, all they did was hire a Chinese guy, Victor Wxx, to patch a hole in the roof. He said everything was fixed, so I went ahead with the deal." "I'm on the ferry from Bainbridge Island. I'll be there as soon as I can get there," I said, and then I hung up.

She'd had to leave the inspection to catch a flight for a business trip about fifteen minutes before I went up into the attic and discovered the lousy ventilation and rotten framing. Back then I still didn't have the computer smarts to send reports out email and was still delivering them by hand. I'd dropped her report off at her realtor's office, had explained the roof issue to him and had warned him not to let her go ahead with that purchase unless they tore that roof and roof framing off and rebuilt it. I'd known the guy for about four years by then and expected him to do the right thing. Things got pretty hectic - it was the summer months when this area was booming - and I'd completely forgotten to follow up.

When I got to her house, I walked into her bathroom to find that a couple of rotten rafters had given away and that the drywall ceiling had caved in along with the rafters and all of that blown-in cellulose and I could indeed look up through a 3ft. wide hole in the roof. I ran to the truck, got the tarp I use under attic scuttle hatches, climbed up onto her roof with a few good sized stones from her garden and then spread the tarp out over the hole and weighed it in place with the stones, praying all the time that the roof didn't collapse under me and that the stones wouldn't slide off the roof and that the tarp would stay in place for the rest of the night. Then I climbed down to find out what she'd been told by her agent.

I learned that at the time I'd inspected her house the agent and his wife were moving to Phoenix and couldn't hang around for the closing; so they'd turned the whole transaction over to another agent that did the closing. However, instead of giving the client the report and telling her what I'd told him, while she was still out of town her agent got together with the listing agent, who was the wife of the owner who himself was her broker, and they hired the notorious Victor Wxx to look at the house. He'd gone up into the attic, came down, said that he didn't see anything to be concerned about, except a little spot of rot, and he could fix it easily. They'd then had him patch it with a piece of plywood and the agent left town after passing along to the agent that was taking over for him that all issues had been resolved. She returned from her trip, closed on that house and that was that.

A few weeks later, I got a call from an attorney who was representing my client. She explained that she'd contacted the agent, Carter Koxxx in Arizona, had spoken to him and that his exact response to her had been, "Why are you contacting me, O'Handley is the one that ****ed up. Go after him." In the end she told me that I was the only one that wouldn't be sued as a result of what had happened but that she did expect me to testify. Since I never received a subpoena, I assume that it was all settled out of court.

Yeah, yeah, I know, too long a story just to tell you that your idea of letting things dry out isn't going to work, but I think it helps to put it in perspective, don't you?

That roof needs to come off and be rebuilt. Don't let anyone tell you or the client otherwise. If you do, don't be surprised if you get that phone call someday.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks Mike, Good Story. My client is a rental property management company, the owner is considering selling the house and wants to know what needs to be done. The roof was replaced last year. I don't know if that is when the chimney was removed or not. I can see this turning into a lawsuit for sure.

I think in 6 years of business this is the most dramatic thing I have ever found. At home looking at the pictures I found one of the corner boards running up to that peak cracked.

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Looks to me as though there's been a fire also. The old 1x's look to be charred, most easily seen on the upper side of the photo. Can't tell for sure though.

Nah,

I think it's just plain old rot that's so severe it's turned the wood black. By the way, Mark, the OSB is going to be toast too - the rot spore loves the starches and sugars in OSB and will have spread into the deck.

If that roofer had the remnants of a chimney there, thought it was abandoned, knocked it down to below the roofline and then boarded it up without discussing it with anyone, he'd better either get over to a lawyer to file Chapter 11 or call his E & O carrier 'cuz he's gonna lose a bundle for putting the lives of everyone living in that building in jeopardy.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Looks to me as though there's been a fire also. The old 1x's look to be charred, most easily seen on the upper side of the photo. Can't tell for sure though.

Nah,

I think it's just plain old rot that's so severe it's turned the wood black. By the way, Mark, the OSB is going to be toast too - the rot spore loves the starches and sugars in OSB and will have spread into the deck.

If that roofer had the remnants of a chimney there, thought it was abandoned, knocked it down to below the roofline and then boarded it up without discussing it with anyone, he'd better either get over to a lawyer to file Chapter 11 or call his E & O carrier 'cuz he's gonna lose a bundle for putting the lives of everyone living in that building in jeopardy.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Not lookin' to start an argument, but why is the top of the chimney dark also? Looks like smoke stains...

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Hi John,

Well, I can't without lab testing; but it makes no difference - that wood is toast. No argument here; just my opinion worth only the price charged. I think that the chimney is dark at that top due to acid deterioration. The brick has absorbed about all of that acidic condensate that it can and now it's breaking down and changing color.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I did not see any charring, I think it is as Mike says, the wood has absorbed as much water as it can. Here are some more pictures. In the first one, taken away from the discussed area, notice the difference in the color of the wood, also you can see water running down the center 2x. In the 2nd one you can see the different colors of the OSB that show the wetest areas at top, black decay in the middle, and a more normal color toward the bottom.

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I was going to quote Mike's post, and say great story, but I thought I'd save a few GB's worth of Db space. [;)] Seriously, that's mighty fine of you to get up on the roof in a storm and tarp it up for her.

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Seriously, that's mighty fine of you to get up on the roof in a storm and tarp it up for her.

I'm a retired Army MSG; she is a retired Air Force NCO. I'm thinking that she was a retired SP - the airforce counterpart to the army MP - but it's been so long I can't recall now. In any event, I tend to bend over backward for military active duty and retirees. They have to (or have had to) put up with enough shit; the last thing they need is a POS house.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mark, I am not convinced it is Poria, as it seems to be growing on the surface. When those types of rots are advanced, the wood will crack across the grain, breaking into small cubes. I don't see that in your pics. It is an ugly mess, no doubt.

I can see that symptom as clear as day in the photos.

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I decided not to go with any specific name, I just called it "a wood decaying fungus that causes failure of the infected wood"

Its been 2 days since I sent out the report and I can't belive I've not recieved a call from anyone yet.

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Mark, I am not convinced it is Poria, as it seems to be growing on the surface. When those types of rots are advanced, the wood will crack across the grain, breaking into small cubes. I don't see that in your pics. It is an ugly mess, no doubt.

http://www.novaguard.com/fungus.html

The idea that rot spore will only grow "on the surface" won't hold water. Rot fungi is an organism that feeds on organic material and rot spore spreads through the cell structure of wood like a virus through the human body. Do a search of this site for Poria. Somewhere you'll find an explanation I wrote that explains the three stages of rot.

Mark is right, it really doesn't matter what it is; the main thing is that it is rot and that it's well beyond first and second stage rot and is into third stage rot, which means the wood is untenable and the roof is structurally compromised..

Any recommendation that I'd make in regard to that roof would say that and make it clear that anything less than tearing off that roof and replacing that framing is completely unacceptable, irresponsible and borders on reckless indifference.

'Course, that's just me. We all have to make our own calls, nobody can make them for us.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mark, I am not convinced it is Poria, as it seems to be growing on the surface. When those types of rots are advanced, the wood will crack across the grain, breaking into small cubes. I don't see that in your pics. It is an ugly mess, no doubt.

I can see that symptom as clear as day in the photos.

It's exactly that "cubical" look combined with the black that made me wonder if there might have been pretty heavy charring in places along with the moisture damage.

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Well I hope to have the chance to get up in that attic again and take some more pictures. I'd also like to be there when they tear the roof off just so I can get my hands on on of those pieces of wood from the peak.

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Mark, I am not convinced it is Poria, as it seems to be growing on the surface. When those types of rots are advanced, the wood will crack across the grain, breaking into small cubes. I don't see that in your pics. It is an ugly mess, no doubt.

I can see that symptom as clear as day in the photos.

It's exactly that "cubical" look combined with the black that made me wonder if there might have been pretty heavy charring in places along with the moisture damage.

Not sure if this is the cubical look you guys can see, but I see water streaks.

The wood is water-soaked. There is some kind of fungi growing there, maybe several kinds. Rafters have been sistered and there's one new plank, also water-streaked.

BTW, I'm not arguing to prove I'm right. I am just grateful this was not my inspection.

Telling the clients to tear it all off is a good call - convince them to walk. There must be plenty of better places for them to choose from.

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The owner finally called and I have permission to go back over and take some better pictures and maybe set up a ladder in the attic to get a closer look.

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