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I was hired to do a re-inspection of 5 items at a home that was inspected by another company....simple right? Only 5 items....

One of the items was loose grout/mortar at top of a stone chimney and missing at flashing....

Instead of using mortar they used clear silicone/caulking. Looks like 100% silicone....seller mentioned the "mason" told here he couldn't get new mortar to stick to old mortar.

I also found a giant crack that isn't mentioned in the items I am supposed to check on.

Report the crack or not to report the crack...

Silicone ok or not ok?

Thanks in advance.

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Hi,

That looks like wire lath behind the "stone" so it's faux stone. A crack through that stuff is just cosmetic. The flashings should extend up behind that veneer onto the face of the underlying sheathing. Sealing the slot along the top of the flashings in that case doesn't make any sense because the veneer has to drain.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by tneumann

I was hired to do a re-inspection of 5 items at a home that was inspected by another company....simple right? Only 5 items....

No. It's a mine field.

One of the items was loose grout/mortar at top of a stone chimney and missing at flashing....

Instead of using mortar they used clear silicone/caulking. Looks like 100% silicone....seller mentioned the "mason" told here he couldn't get new mortar to stick to old mortar.

Well, he's *really* going to have a hard time getting it to stick now, eh? As Mike said, the missing mortar isn't the issue. That flashing should have gone behind the paper, not on top of it.

I also found a giant crack that isn't mentioned in the items I am supposed to check on.

Report the crack or not to report the crack...

Silicone ok or not ok?

Thanks in advance.

The crack is of minor concern, but you should probably mention it. Explain that it's only of cosmetic importance and recommend that they patch it with color-matched mortar if it bothers them to look at it.

The silicone is not ok. I think you should diplomatically explain that the flashing is incorrectly installed and should be re-installed properly to lessen the chance of leaks around the chimney chase.

How did you come to be reinspecting the work of another inspector?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by tneumann

Instead of using mortar they used clear silicone/caulking. Looks like 100% silicone....seller mentioned the "mason" told here he couldn't get new mortar to stick to old mortar.

Apparently the "mason" has never heard of repointing. Jeez.

Is it right? Almost certainly not. Will it work? Maybe. I don't know of anyone trying to use silicone for that purpose or what result they got. The manufacturers usually list the materials it will and won't stick to well on the tube. If it's 100% silicone it'll probably take the heat okay, but other than that we're looking at an experiment.

Brian G.

Mason With Pointy Head Noted at Chimney [:-dunce]

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Well, for what it's worth, I'm totally unfamiliar with this material and installation process. I've never worked with paste-it stone. But, if masonry surfaces are adequately cleaned and moistened (roughed up if necessary) and the new work properly cured (which is the critical key) there is a high probability that the materials will indeed successfully bond. On occasions where I thought it necessary, I've made and applied a cement paste about the consistency of paint to the old surface immediately before applying the new work.

But again, days of curing is paramount.

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I was hired by a realtor who couldn't get the other inspector to come up for less than the total inspection fee....this area is out in the boonies.

I didn't think the silicone was proper either...does it repel the water and do what it is intended...? (keep the water out) Probably it does...I also thought the flashing was incorrect....I also thought repointing would be ideal...not caulking like the dickens....

Question I have is: Since I was only hired to check the items listed...and my agreement w/ my client specifically says that all other items are not part of the inspection...should I mention the crack at all or if I mention the crack and subsequently get sued for not finding something else entirely will the lawyers pick me apart by saying since I went above and beyond on one thing, I should have gone above and beyond on others?

Sigh....I wish I could learn to say no...never been very good at saying no except to my kids.

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Tony,

You have a couple of options, and neither are great;

1. Simply report what you are seeing and that is it. If you need to report something additional that you think will have an impact on the buyer, then you need to report it.

2. Return any fees that have been paid to you. Say that you are sorry, but once you arrived at the home you realized that the original inspector is the only one who can do this reinspection.

If it was me I would choose option #2. Learning to say "no", "I do not do that" "I do not know" are the hardest things for a home inspector to learn. I think all of us have struggled with this from time to time.

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Consider addressing the specific areas requested in your report and be very clear about what you were asked to do.

I regret that the two photos don't offer me enough to guide you regarding the mason's decision, but in most cases, a proper masonry repair is entirely possible.

If you have other concerns, mention them as a post script in a cover letter. "Please be advised that in the course of providing the attached report the following condition was observed: Etc."

That's probably the most sensible way to mention a concern regarding an area you were not asked to inspect.

Just my two cents.

Good luck.

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Originally posted by tneumann

I was hired by a realtor who couldn't get the other inspector to come up for less than the total inspection fee

You should take note of that.....it's a good lesson.

2. Return any fees that have been paid to you. Say that you are sorry, but once you arrived at the home you realized that the original inspector is the only one who can do this reinspection.

Scott has a good idea here.

Once you sign off on that, you'll own it forever and a day. Another reason not to re-inspect someone elses work.

Question I have is: Since I was only hired to check the items listed...and my agreement w/ my client specifically says that all other items are not part of the inspection...should I mention the crack at all or if I mention the crack and subsequently get sued for not finding something else entirely will the lawyers pick me apart by saying since I went above and beyond on one thing, I should have gone above and beyond on others?

Yeah, they could. But if you don't report it they can say

"Geez Mr. HomeInspector, you were on the roof at the Chimney and you didn't tell my Client about this life threatning discrepancy?"

You're really caught between a rock and a hard place.

Good Luck,

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I had considered the same thing...returning the money. Pissing off the realtor doesn't really bother me, I have decided it is too hard to NOT piss them off to worry about it so much. FWIW..it is a One Million dollar home less than 2 years old.....sigh.

PS would someone like to make that call for me?

What should I tell my client as the reason for not doing that inspection for them after I agreed to do it.? I made a mistake and after consulting my insurance company they informed me that I will not be covered under these conditions?

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Originally posted by tneumann

I was hired by a realtor who couldn't get the other inspector to come up for less than the total inspection fee....this area is out in the boonies.

I don't blame him. However, the realtor and/or the buyer should have understood that inspector's terms when they hired him. You're now being put in a very awkward position.

I didn't think the silicone was proper either...does it repel the water and do what it is intended...? (keep the water out) Probably it does

Yes, it repels water. No, it's not "intended" to serve as a replacement for mortar or faux stone. It's a dumb idea. It doesn't belong on this chimney chase. It's the work of a dumbass.

...I also thought the flashing was incorrect....I also thought repointing would be ideal...not caulking like the dickens....

Re-pointing or tuckpointing is something you do to masonry. This isn't masonry. It's lick-n-stick fake stone. To fix the stone part, you'd have to tack up a small piece of that metal lath, butter it up with a modified mortar product and stick on a triangular piece of that faux stone. You might have to secure the stone in place with stone wire or even duct tape till it sets up. HOWEVER, that shouldn't be done here till the flashing is fixed first. The big issue here is the flashing, not the stone.

Question I have is: Since I was only hired to check the items listed...and my agreement w/ my client specifically says that all other items are not part of the inspection...should I mention the crack at all or if I mention the crack and subsequently get sued for not finding something else entirely will the lawyers pick me apart by saying since I went above and beyond on one thing, I should have gone above and beyond on others?

NO, NO, NO. You don't get sued for finding problems. I wish that particular bit of home inspector folklore would wilt and die soon. You get sued for missing stuff, not for finding stuff.

Sigh....I wish I could learn to say no...never been very good at saying no except to my kids.

Too late now. Write a report telling you client that the flashing is incorrect and needs to be re-installed -- probably all the way around the chimney chase. Then tell them to get a different contractor to fix the lick-n-stick properly, per the manufacturer's printed installation instructions, without using silicone.

Just tell the truth and be a friend to the person who's hiring you.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Re-pointing or tuckpointing is something you do to masonry. This isn't masonry. It's lick-n-stick fake stone.

True. I stand corrected on that point.

Just tell the truth and be a friend to the person who's hiring you.

Good advice and undoubtedly the best course in general. You can still get in a mess, but the other kinds of mess are worse. Maybe I've been lucky so far, but I have yet to get a bad reaction from a client from being totally straight with them. Sellers and agents are a different story.

Brian G.

We're On a Need to "No" Basis Sometimes [:-mischie

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Jim.....that is exactly what I needed....I have been sitting on this report since Friday....and now I'm ready to write it. It wasn't repaired properly...neither were 2 of the other 5 things...maybe I should suggest an entirely new inspection at my price.

BTW...the original was USInspect and the house is 5500 sq ft..they did it for $345....the Realtor almost fell out of his chair when I told him that was 1/2 of my price.

Thanks guys, very helpful and I hope to return the favor someday....it was like being in a room w/ all of you and talking through it...thanks

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UPDATE

My clients' realtor is a bit upset but understanding..he is having the original inspector come out and look at it also, preliminary thoughts are that i am correct in calling out the silicone..thanks guys for the tips. Sellers agent is not happy and wants to know why the original guy wasn't called out to begin with....apparently the sellers agent knows this guy from USInspect! LOL...

Anyway, so far so good....thanks again for all the helpful advice.

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Good job,

Although, the fact that the guy is with USInspect really has nothing to do with it. It could have been anyone from any number of companies making the same mistake.

That company has a 3-week training program. Most of the inspectors in this country undergo less than 10 days of training before they go out and begin learning on other folks' homes. I'd blame it on the inspector before I would the company. At least they put some effort into training them a little better before they turn them loose.

People make the same generalizations about USInspect that they do about franchises - they're big, so they must be populated by the dark side. Hell, I used to have that attitude myself when I was still a rookie in this business. Now that I've been around a little while longer, I can see that the company has nothing to do with it.

I used to have a franchise. We had a 140 hour training program. There were guys who came out of their training who hit the ground running and did great inspections. At the same time, there were those who became the 'zoid darlings, were done in about an hour on even big homes and had a tendency to be nearsighted.

Some dentists can work on your teeth and there's no pain. Others make you beg for the gas. It's about the skills, knowledge and how you use them - not about the company.

Anyway, this is a topic for another day on another thread. Glad it worked out. Continue to learn as much as you can because you never know when there might be someone following behind you on one of your inspections.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

Good job,

Although, the fact that the guy is with USInspect really has nothing to do with it. It could have been anyone from any number of companies making the same mistake. . .

Of course, we don't really know if he even made a mistake. The top of the flashing might have been covered by a flake of mortar when he was there. Maybe the repair guy knocked it out of the way to make room for his silicone.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I saw the pics....I wouldn't say he missed it, but he overlooked it.

Have heard this guys name quite a bit in town, the inspector that is...the realtors love him and they always mention his name when telling me they already have an inspector. And like I mentioned, the listing agent was pissed when she heard it was me doing the re-inspect and not this guy. I'm guessing the franchise he works for has nothing to do with why they like him....although, his price on the 5000 + sq.ft house might have something to do with it....

thanks guys.

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Point of order,

US Inspect is a single company, not a franchise. He's an employee - not a franchisee. It's a common mistake folks make. In fact,they make it in both directions. Folks were always assuming that I worked "for" the franchiser and didn't own my own company when I had the franchise. Hell, even the franchiser used to make that mistake. That's why I sold the franchise. There's actually quite a bit of difference though.

Your in a town of less than 8,000 residents. Two inspectors in a town that small are going to constantly be battling one another, so you'd better get used to it and figure out how to distinguish your services and show why your inspections are worth the cost. If I were in your shoes (I might be - there are over 150 inspection companies in and around Seattle), I'd take advantage of this incident. Point out to the realtors involved that some inspectors do Lexus inspections and some do Yugo inspections. In other words, what the cheap guy might miss because he's moving so fast might result in the client receiving a Yugo quality inspection while the stuff that can be missed could potentially cost the realtor the equivalent of a Lexus.

Looks like we're done here. If not, let's talk about different perceptions of inspection companies and their inspectors in another thread.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Wow, one thing that is curious about this thread is that the general Realtor attitude in a lot of your areas is one that we passed through years ago. I remember it well.

Now, most Realtors here don't want ANYTHING significant missed. If they get a call from the home owner after possession, you're pretty much history! It's only when inspectors go beyond thorough to ridiculous that they suffer in this part of the country.

There are about ten inspectors here that are all in the 8 - 15 years experience range and probably 5000 - 10,000 inspections performed range. We all stay slammed. Between us, our pricing ranges from average to obscene. I am confident that in each of our cases that the only reason we each stay so busy is that very little gets by us.

I guess I really need to be thankful.

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