Six year old home, custom built for the home owner who represented himself as a State Licensed Building Inspector.

Not more than 5 seconds after exiting my truck did the home owner ask me how the NJ licensing was going and when are they going to let State Building Inspectors in the back door.  I proceeded to mention that the law has been recently enacted and to the best of my knowledge no back doors have been opened.  Only qualified inspectors with the proper experience and training will be licensed.  The home owner asked if it was OK to follow me and my client around his home which I accepted and was up to the challenge.

This licensing discussion came to an immediate halt when we rounded the building and I asked the home owner why he accepted the contractor installing the seams of the poorly installed buckling vinyl siding towards the street. I explained that the seams towards the street is only a cosmetic issue but the bucking is from the siding nailed to tight.  He replied that he never noticed this and it is only on the side the neighbor sees that by the way was installed by the second contractor hired after he fired the first one.

After a complete tour of the exterior I was complimenting the installation of the continuous ridge and soffits vents and stated that some times the insulation is installed blocking the soffits vents that I will check in the attic.  At this point the home owner stepped in to mention that he purposely cut pieces of insulation to cover all the soffits vents that the contractor left open to the attic.  I tried to explain that ridge vents work best with open soffits vents to provide ventilation to the attic to help avoid moisture buildup, ice damming, mold growth and delamination of the plywood among other things.  This clearification only seamed to complicate the home owners way of thinking because he could not explain why the soffits should be blocked.

Another item noted was that the insulation in the attic floor was un-faced.  I explained that properly installed vapor barriers help stop moisture from the living areas from entering the attic.  The home owner stated that insulation works best when un-faced.  To this I had no reply.

The attic AC unit was then inspected and had a return from the 1st floor hallway area and a second return duct in a 2nd floor closet ceiling where the sheetrock was cut out approx. 2’x4’ and the duct work was just laying on the ceiling joist over the opening.  The home owner stated that this was added after construction by the contractor and was a proper installation even though no grill was installed and the open areas in the sheetrock around the loose duct will cause attic air to be sucked into the system.  After tracing these return lines to the attic air handler it was determined that no facility for a filter was ever provided.  The home owner stated that this is impossible and the system could not work properly without one.  I did not disagree with this statement because he was digging a deeper hole for himself.  The home owner insisted that there has to be a filter.  After thinking about this statement I asked the home owner, who has lived in this home since it was built 6 years ago, if the filter that should be changed every 1-3 months according to the manufactured was ever changed.  His mouth dropped as he proceeded to state that he never changed the filter and never needed any service on it.

Another item on the attic AC was the condensate line tied together with the overflow line and then into the sewer vent line.  I explained to my client that the condensate line should run to the exterior usually into the gutter and the overflow line should run to the exterior over the gutter.  The overflow line over the gutter is a good way to see from the exterior if it is dripping which indicates a problem with the system.

Another item was the bathroom whirlpool tub that was installed with a shower but not the correct type.  The tub was not an alcove type that comes with raised flanges on three sides nor did it have a tile bead kit required when used with a shower.  A small cup of water poured at the seam of the tub and tile caused water seepage behind the tub visible when the access panel was removed.  The home owner stated all that was needed was more caulking at the seams.  I stated that this is only a temporary measure and that when the tub is filled, the weight will cause the caulking to open again and leak.

The fixed glass on the 1st floor Anderson sliding door had no screws on the inside to prevent it from sliding open.  The home owner stated that these doors are installed so tight that there is no way these doors can slide open. He was right on the first sliding door but the second one slid open quite easily.  Now I needed to tell my client that the first door did not slide due to settlement, water damage or just a poor installation and has caused the seal to fail, causing condensation to form between the glass that can not be cleaned, is ugly and obstructs the view to the exterior.

The second floor rear deck had no flashing installed between the rim joist and the home and was nailed right to the sheathing. On the interior, water stains were already present above the lower sliding door that was tight and had the failed seal.  The pieces all started to fall together and the home owner seamed to have vanished and was not offering any more opinions.

These were just the more significant items, as there was a long list of other items that required attention that normally would be the bigger concerns that now seamed minor.

Unfortunately as with many of our home inspections we never know the final outcome of our inspections.  We only know when our client calls for the second time to book another inspection.  Next week I will be doing another inspection for my client who after talking to other professions in the business is convinced that Home Inspectors and State Building Inspectors are not at all the same.

Ernie Borsellino