Archive for ◊ March, 2011 ◊

• Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

OK those of you who know me and Maryland Home Inspection Services knows we do a very thorough and honest Home Inspection.  We have a motto here, “It Is What It Is”.  That applies to all homes, or any property we inspect.  We aren’t deal killers, we simply do our job and report the conditions of the property as we see it at the time e of the inspection.  We offer our professional opinions and help in every way we can.

OK so last week I did an Inspection in Maryland and it was a “flipper” property.  The seller (contractor) and there agent start telling me how the whole house was just remodeled, and everything is in tip top shape.  I ask them about the roof as it looked to have some dips, and other out of place issues.  They they tell me (with conviction) the attic was all fixed up, and new insulation was added.  The fact that they were kind of offering this info without me saying a word made me suspicious.  OK well I did my normal routine (save attic for last) and finally got to the attic.  Well as I figured this attic was in some bad shape.

Now this whole inspection was a bit out of the norm as the seller side was there.  anyway they ask me if I can just say the attic was not accessible or something to just exclude my findings.  Jeesh, look at what I found.    Attic Needs Some Lovin 

• Friday, March 25th, 2011
OK well this was a fairly good and productive week here at Maryland Home Inspection Services.  We had quite a busy workload of Home Inspections.  We did a few full inspections including radon testing and a few with termite inspections, and a few with all the different ancillary home inspection services. 
We also were spread out all over Maryland from Gaithersburg, to Baltimore, to Frederick, Keedysville (where I met a very nice new Real Etate Agent) and great family, back to Rockville, and then shot out to Temple Hills.  I have seen a few new areas of Maryland this week I never new existed.  We also did an Inspection on a brand New Construction house in Frederick.  This inspection was a pre drywall inspection and we will be going back for a final inspection after the home is completed.
Well we have one last Inspection set up for tomorrow (Saturday).  It is another full inspection on a 1955 built home, and we will be doing a termite inspection as well as another radon inspection.
OK well until next post, be careful and be happy to all my friends.
• Monday, March 14th, 2011

Maryland Home Inspection Services and all of our Home Inspectors wanted to give you a few safety tips before summer.  As summer approaches, the International Code Council is urging homeowners to take the time to check their outdoor areas for potential safety hazards. Proper inspections now can help to keep your family and friends safe in the future. The International Code Council, a membership organization dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the International Code Council.

Decks and Balconies
Balconies can be at risk of collapsing if they are not properly constructed or if they are old. A common safety hazard occurs when balconies are nailed to buildings rather than being attached with the proper anchors or bolts. Nails are a poor method for attaching balconies to buildings because they work their way loose over time. Other safety hazards to look for are:

*Split or rotting wood
*Wobbly handrails or guardrails
*Loose, missing or rusting anchors, nails or screws
*Missing, damaged or loose support beams and planking
*Poor end support of the balcony deck, joists or girders
*Excessive movement of the balcony when walked on
*Swaying or unstable balconies

Building or repairing to code, which requires a building permit and an inspection, will help ensure that the balcony is safe. The International Codes specify the amount of weight a balcony is required to support. However, be careful not to allow the balcony to become overcrowded. If the people on the structure have difficulty moving about, the balcony could be exceeding its capacity.

Grilling on or near combustible areas can be a fire hazard. It not only puts your family and visitors at risk, but, especially in condos and apartment buildings, can put your neighbors in danger as well. The most common grilling hazards are open flames and heat generated in the grill base that can be transferred to the wood of a balconies or the home’s siding, causing a fire. When grilling, follow these safety tips:

*Place the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
*Periodically remove grease or fat buildup
*Use only proper starter fluid and store the can away from heat sources
*Check propane cylinder hoses for leaks before use
*Do not move hot grills
*Dispose of charcoal properly, keeping ash containers outside and away from combustible construction

*Check with your local building or fire department to see what is required by code where you live

The International Fire Code prohibits the use of charcoal and gas grills and other open burning devices on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction. There are exceptions for certain homes and where buildings, balconies and decks are protected by an automatic sprinkler system.

 Have A Very Happy Spring & Summer

• Friday, March 11th, 2011
With spring around the corner I am starting to see a little pick up in the real estate market here in Maryland. I have gotten a few new Home Inspections and Radon Tests already in Potomac, Germantown, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Bethesda and even one today in Olney.  That is a good sign of great things to come here in the local market.  Also I hear things are going to be getting tougher on the Home Inspection/Inspector licensing requirements and honestly I think that is good for everyone involved.  This will help to weed out the “Part time” Home Inspectors that do it on the side for extra cash.  I am a big advocate for Fulltime Home Inspectors. I take this profession very seriously and strive to be the best I can be.  I am constant ally furthering my education by taking state approved continuing education courses.  Many of these courses are give by InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors where I am a very active member.  The actual amount of education and knowledge that exists regarding the construction, safety and maintenance of a home is endless, thus it is a constant challenge to stay on top of the current codes and building practice standards.  
OK well time to go out and perform another Home Inspection here in Gaithwersburg 🙂 
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• Monday, March 07th, 2011
OK so on Saturday I did another Full Home Inspection in Germantown, Maryland.  This was a Town House with a finished basement.
The home was purchased last (as a foreclosure) by a local “flipper” construction company.  For the most part the home was/ is
relatively good condition for it’s age (built in 1078).  The builder did all the normal stuff like all new appliances, drywall repairs, fresh paint in and out, yada, yada, yada.  In fact they even replaced the roof covering, flashing, gutters, downspouts.  OK I am not going to write a long blog about the entire inspection, I just wanted to keep this limited to the deck portion of the inspection.
OK well in short the builder made it a point to boast about how they refurbished the deck, handrails and deck stairs.  Well the old deck, supports, ledgers, bolting, footers were all in good shape for their age.  Now for the surprises.  First all the handrails were replaced with brand new NON PRESSURE treated 2×6’s.  All straight cuts, now routing, beveling or anything close to fancy (I know that has nothing to do with my inspection, just wanted to toss it in).  The existing baluster were spaced to far apart, and the handrail going down the stairs was the same Non Pressure Treated 2×6.  Try getting your hand to hold onto that wide of a board if you were falling.  Not to mention the rot factor.
OK well overall it won’t take much to change out all the handrails to the correct type and then they will have a nice deck.  I was just amazed what some contractors
try to get away with.
Non Pressure Treated Handrail
Incorrect Balluster Spacing

Bad Stair Handrail

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• Tuesday, March 01st, 2011
U.S. Surgeon General Health Advisory
“Indoor radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.”
You can fix a radon problem. If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.
What is a radon test?
A radon test is a simple, non-invasive test that can be conducted in as little as 48 to 96 hours to determine if radon gas is present.
Maryland Home Inspection Services is certified in radon Inspections and can help you to assure that your home is safe from this dangerous, cancer causing gas.