hausdok Posted December 27, 2008 Report Share Posted December 27, 2008 Today was interesting. Last night about 8:00 pm I was at a friend's house having a late holiday dinner when one of the other guests, a realtor, asked if I could do an inspection this morning. It seems that nearly 10 days ago his client's offer was accepted on a home but the client didn't want to do an inspection because they'd talked the owner down over $30,000 and felt that they were pushing the envelope. Well, that was last week; 'cuz yesterday, 24 hours before they're due to go to closing, the client called the realtor and said that she wanted to get the place inspected but wanted him to pay for it. He'd agreed. I didn't have anything scheduled, so I told him I'd be over there this morning at 9:00 am. I showed up right on time and walked into a house with no less than about 8 big blue drying fans running and two massive portable dehumidifiers running to beat the band. The windows were all fogged up and there were puddles of water on every windowsill. The carpets were damp. About 60% of the main floor is hardwood and it was so badly cupped that it looked like the surface of an antique washboard. In the garage I found a pile of black plastic bags. I looked inside and found them full of foam rubber carpet padding. I went back inside and peaked under the carpet - uh, oh, no pad. Hmmm. Obviously, a pipe had burst but where? I walked out the back yard and around the house. Yep, there they were at opposite corners of the house; hose reels still hooked up to frost-free sill cocks. It's been snowing and unusually cold here lately; you can guess the rest. Inside, I got moisture readings in both the interior and exterior walls from 30% to 99.9% as high as 2ft. from the floor in some places. Outside, I found water draining out of the siding. There was so much humidity in the house that vapor had been unable to diffuse through the siding naturally and had been condensing in the exterior walls and freezing. Now that the temperature had gone up over freezing outside, it was melting and draining out of the exterior walls. The bottom of the walls was bowed outward in a few places where the OSB sheathing has swollen and is trying to expand. Up in the attic, the top 1-inch of the 12-inch thick blown-in insulation is saturated with water droplets. Vapor is diffusing up through the ceilings, passing through the insulation, and then, as it nears the other side of the insulation and cools it's condensing and hanging out in the insulation with the attic ventilation barely holding it's own. If the temps drop tonight, it's going to freeze and make things worse. It should be interesting to see what those ceilings look like in another day or two. Underneath the home in the crawlspace, there's water everywhere about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and the flexible polyethylene heating ducts are full of water, have broken most of their nylon straps and are straining to pull away from the register boots. A few are dripping. I figure that there's at least two 55 gallon drums worth of water hanging under those floors ready to burst forth at any moment. I didn't try to squeeze over or under any of those to inspect the crawl, lest I cause one to pull loose and turn that place into a lake. Funny thing, try as he might, the buyer's agent couldn't raise the listing agent on the phone all morning. However, after I talked to a neighbor and asked how long the house had been like that, the neighbor revealed that he'd talked to the owner, who's moved out and is living elsewhere, by phone this morning and the neighbor had told him that a pipe had burst in the home a few days ago. Hmmmm. Shortly after the neighbor went inside his home, the listing agent called up and explained that they were going to have the interior dried out within a day or two and everything would be fine. Yeah, riiiiiiiiiiiight. It's my guess Mr. Seller thought that he could get the interior dried out before anyone came by and discovered the mess and he was planning to go to the closing without saying a word. The home is 8 years old. The timer on the whole house air changer wasn't even set up to vent the home so it's gone the last 8 years without being ventilated. The underside of the roof looks like the fur of an ocelot all black spots that have definitely been there since long before this episode; now this. The owner thinks he's getting away with throwing out the carpet padding and drying the place out. It looks to me like roughly 900 sf of oak has to be torn up and thrown away 'cuz after it shrinks the floor will be all cupped and there will be compression set gaps everywhere. Besides, it will take weeks for that saturated OSB deck to dry out in this weather. If they don't take up the carpeting and hardwood they'll have enough fungi under there in two weeks to feed half of the bugs in the state. Given the amount and height of moisture in the inside walls and the water dripping out of the exterior siding at least a foot above floor level, I'm betting the inside of the walls and the insulation are soaking wet and no amount of fans is going to dry them out in this weather. It's just a rot farm waiting to get started. Lemme see; 1. Pump out the ducts and plenum, replace all of the ducts, remove the saturated insulation from the underfloor plenum, re-insulate it, and then install new ducts and hangers. 2. Tear up the floor and remove all of the carpeting and insulation, put heaters in the crawlspace and in the house to dry out the floor; sand the OSB flat then nuke it with a fungicide/sealer. 3. Do invasives on all interior wall surfaces to determine which wall cavities are wet; open all of the wet ones, dry them, nuke em with fungicide and then seal them, re-insulate and restore the drywall. 4. Re-insulate the floors and put down new carpeting and hardwood floors. 5. Nuke and seal the underside of the roof. 6. Remove the exterior siding where it's bowed outward and fix whatever is going on with the exterior sheathing behind that siding (I'm guessing it's soaking wet, has expanded and is trying to pop off the face of the studs.). 7. Restore the siding. 8. Repaint/refinish everything. I think we're looking at a good week to ten days of 10-hour days and still won't be able to paint until the spring. It's going to cost a whole lot. Betcha the homeowner's contractor says it'll only cost $1500 to $2000 to do and the hardwood floors are perfectly alright. Just another day. ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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