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Inspector/pundit, Dwight Barnett on weep holes


hausdok
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In this article from the July 22nd issue of the Currier Press, a seller asks home inspector and Q & A columnist Dwight Barnett whether an inspector made the wrong call when stating that the seller's home, which was built without weep holes in the veneer, should have weep holes added after the fact.

Barnett's response may surprise you and leave you wondering whether Barnett is a real inspector or just another toady pandering to the real estate folks.

For the whole story, click here.

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These lines kind of jump out at you...

"The home inspector and builder are not responsible for code enforcement, and the lack of weep holes is not, by itself, a major defect. It is the responsibility of the subcontractors, such as the plumber, electrician and brick mason, to perform their work according to the codes in effect...."

So he seems to be saying that the builder can hire the cheapest subs he can find and then wash his hands of any responsibility for their shoddy work. What ever happened to "The buck stops here"? And he also seems to imply that the inspector is supposed to just ignore anything not built to normal standards???

It sure would make for a very skinny report on a new house. Something along the lines of...

"I found all sorts of things that were screwed up but I'm not going to mention them because it's not my job. If you discover them later then you should take it up with the sub-contractors, if you can find them. The end."

Would "Wow!!!" be an appropriate response?

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I wouldn't accuse him of being a toady. I'd accuse him of being grossly ignorant of a few well established facts about masonry construction.

His recommendation in the last paragraph about sealing the brick as an alternative to weeps is breathtaking. There's a lot of folks in Chicago that have tried that, and the results range from worthless to disastrous.

The folklore mill just keeps on churnin'.....

Bizarre. Completely bizarre.

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Originally posted by kurt

I wouldn't accuse him of being a toady. I'd accuse him of being grossly ignorant of a few well established facts about masonry construction. Bizarre. Completely bizarre.

Seriously Kurt? I mean, according to him, he's been inspecting homes for 40 years and he is, after all, a nationally known and syndicated inspection guru. Surely, if anyone knows their stuff, this guy does. [:-graduat

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

P.S.

For anyone that's wondering, the statement above is made with my tongue planted so hard in my cheek that I think I dislocated my jaw.

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From his website:

"We know more about inspecting a home than all our competitors combined. What they know they learned from us."

Somehow I doubt that.

It's good to know about that code thing though; makes my job easier if I can forget all that stuff. [:P]

Brian G.

For Sale: Worthless Code Books [;)]

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Originally posted by Brian G.

From his website:

"We know more about inspecting a home than all our competitors combined. What they know they learned from us."

Somehow I doubt that.

Well, yeah the sales pitch is cheap and annoying, but that doesn't mean he isn't qualified. I don't see anything on the site that indicates incompetence.id="maroon">

It's good to know about that code thing though; makes my job easier if I can forget all that stuff. [:P]

Brian G.

For Sale: Worthless Code Books [;)]

[/navy]

Yep! The article is a datapoint for incompetence, but not the website.

And I'm with you on the code stuff. Anyone who doesn't at least study the code books is just lazy. There is much to learn from those pages. I just sold an entire ICC "Inspectors set" for half-price to a lucky inspector. As a winter project, ICC certification is his goal. That is, IMO, the best certification out there.id="maroon">

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Sounds a lot like the two-faced "It's screwed up, but don't worry about it" boilerplate that I edited for a large HI company about 7 years back. Sooner or later, that earns the HI a trip to the defendant's table.

Here in assbackwards Tennessee, we've yet to find a proper drainage system (weeps, flashing, etc.) in any recently-built brick-veneered house. True enough, most of the houses don't show any evidence of trouble, but we've had several customers who've grown mold farms in their weepless walls. Some have had the houses bought back; some have had to abandon their houses, and try to recover damages in court.

Like so many HI folklorists, the writer of this tale is tangling up GC responsibility, muni inspector work habits, code requirements, and his 45 years of experience in ways that don't really connect. IMHO, he should've explained that the bricker/GC screwed the pooch; conditions in the wall are unknown; and, problems could range from none to catastrophic.

There's this from his website, which kinda contradicts his online fairy tale: "At the time of the inspection we will give you a list of items which you can then request that the seller or builder correct prior to closing. At Barnett & Associates, Inc. it is our job to protect you against many of these unknowns. " (my bold)

He also notes that he and/or his company are nationally recognized. I wonder if he can back that up.

All that said, I wouldn't tell a person to drill faux weeps into an existing house that shows no problems. My 1914 BV house doesn't have any wall flashing/weeps, etc. It has performed just fine, probably because there's no plastic in the wall cavity.

I would, however, recommend a little destructive testing. Has anybody tried the Ridgid "See Snake" yet? Two hundred bucks gets you a cheap look into the wall.

WJ

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I didn't see anything @ his site that was objectionable. His sales pitch is fine; it's just a sales pitch. If it wasn't hyperbole packed, it wouldn't be a sales pitch.

It's his disregard for accepted practice that's a little breathtaking. It would be interesting to see him hold up his end of a courtroom conflict. Disregard for accepted practice doesn't get you too far in the courtroom, does it?

Slight drift, but.....

The longer I work this job, the more I think flashing, weeps, and wicks are less important than the composition of the mortar.

I work in a masonry city; I see nothing but brick all day, all week, all year. The new stuff is screwed up, almost regardless of flashing issues. The old stuff works, and invariably has soft lime rich mortar, or sandy mortar that breaths well.

When the dust settles on the "moisture in the brick wall" controversy", I'm betting there's a lot more emphasis placed on mortar composition than on flashing methods for correcting materials that are unsatisfactory in the first place.

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Hi Kurt,

I could be wrong, but I think that I read on the HistoricPropierties.com site that they're planning to address that very subject in that seminar that they're holding in September. Check out the calendar of events for September. (Don't you dare bail out on us!)

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Kurt,

I could be wrong, but I think that I read on the HistoricPropierties.com site that they're planning to address that very subject in that seminar that they're holding in September. Check out the calendar of events for September. (Don't you dare bail out on us!)

OT - OF!!!

M.

That's right; that's what they're talking about.

(I won't be bailing; don't worry.)

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