Preventing Moisture Intrusion

PREVENTING MOISTURE INTRUSION

Monitor the Exterior 

Planters:  Check any planting beds adjacent to the foundation of your house because planters are built in a way that traps water, which may infiltrate hidden areas of your home. The structure around the planting beds acts like a dam and traps water. Flower planters should never be installed up against a house’s exterior wall. 

Puddles:  Puddles and areas of standing water are not good. The ground surface beneath decks, porches and other parts of a house that are supported by posts or cantilevered structures should be checked, especially if you have a sprinkler system. The ground should not have any low-lying areas but should be sloped so that water will not collect and puddle there. Settled backfill allows water to collect next to the foundation wall and penetrate the house’s foundation. 

Gutters & Downspouts:  Downspouts may need adjustment. Water from the roof reaches the ground through gutters and downspouts or by flowing directly off roof edges. Because downspouts create concentrated sources of water in the landscape, where they discharge is important. Downspouts should not discharge where water will flow directly onto or over a walkway, driveway or stairs. The downspouts on a hillside home should discharge on the downhill-side of the building. The force of water leaving a downspout is sometimes great enough to damage the adjacent ground, so some protection at grade, such as a splash block or a paved drainage chute, is needed. In urban areas, it is better to drain downspouts to an underground storm water drainage system, if there is one, or underground to discharge at a lower grade away from buildings. Water that flows directly off a roof lacking gutters and downspouts can cause damage below. Accordingly, some provision in the landscaping may be needed, such as a gravel bed or paved drainage way.

#moistureinstrusion #exterior #homemaintenance

Flood Zones

It will pay off to check with local authorities to determine if your home is in a flood-risk zone. If it is, check with local building officials.  Higher standards than those set by national agencies have been adopted by many communities. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program have established and defined five major flood-risk zones and created special flood-resistance requirements for each. For a flood map, visit http://www.nachi.org/go/femamaps.  

Improperly designed grading and drainage may aggravate flood hazards to buildings and cause runoff, soil erosion and sedimentation in the zones of lower flood risk, according to the Interflood Zone and the Non-Regulated Flood Plain.  In these locations, local agencies may regulate building elevations above street or sewer levels.  In the next higher risk zones, the Special Flood Hazard Areas and the Non-Velocity Coastal Flood Areas (both Zone A), the elevation of the lowest floor and its structural members above the base flood elevation is required.  In the zone of highest flood risk, the Coastal High Hazard Areas (Velocity Zone, Zone V), additional structural requirements apply.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Blanchard, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

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Keeping French Drains Operational

frenchdraingrate

As a home inspector in Oklahoma I see these these french drain grates a lot.  I usually find them around homes that are built on a relatively flat lot, or at a point at which water needs to be taken away to avoid intrusion into a home or a feature such as a patio.  You may be surprised to hear this from a Home Inspector, but I am genuinely happy when I get to do an inspection during a heavy rain or just afterwards.  It gives me a better chance of ensuring that I catch any drainage problems the homes property may have that my client should be aware of.

Usually when I see these grates, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they are filled with debris.  This is their purpose, to catch debris before it enters into the drain pipe system and leads to a clog.  Best case scenario, the drain pipe takes the water to the street and to a main neighborhood drain, but this is not always the case.  Unfortunately, I often can find no evidence of where the drains lead to.

Downspouttofrenchdrain

The bottom line is; french drain systems are like any other drain. In order for them to function properly they need to be kept clear of debris.  If you have drains like these or others, pay attention next time you get some good rainfall and see if they are doing their job.  If they are not, clear away any obstructions that you can gain access to.  Should the problem persist, I recommend you gave the drains cleaned professionally by a plumber using a power-feed drain cleaner.  If you fancy yourself or someone in the family as handy with tools like this, they can be rented at your local big box store for a reasonable fee.

plumbingsnake

Like any other home maintenance project, the longer you prolong the repair of these drains, the more costly the fix is likely to be.  I’ve seen homes requiring literally thousands of dollars in foundation repair as a result of roof drainage that could have been easily upgraded for less that $50 bucks when the problem first started.

Happy Home Maintenance!

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
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Kick Out Flashing

Kickout flashing, also known as diverter flashing, is a special type of flashing that diverts rainwater away from the cladding and into the gutter. When installed properly, it provides excellent protection against the penetration of water into the building envelope.

 

 

Several factors can lead to rainwater intrusion, but a missing kickout flashing, in particular, often results in concentrated areas of water accumulation and potentially severe damage to exterior walls. Water penetration into the cladding can occasionally be observed on the exterior wall in the form of vertical water stains, although inspectors should not rely on visual identification. There may be severe damage with little or no visible evidence.

Inspectors may observe the following problems associated with kickout flashing:

1.  The kickout was never installed.

  • The need for kickout flashing was developed fairly recently, and the builder may not have been aware that one was required. The increased amount of insulation and building wrap that is used in modern construction makes buildings less breathable and more likely to sustain water damage. Kickout flashing prevents rainwater from being absorbed into the wall, making it more essential than ever.

The following are locations where kickout flashing installation is critical:

  • anywhere a roof and exterior wall intersect, where the wall continues past the lower roof-edge and gutter. If a kickout flashing is absent in these locations, large amounts of water may miss the gutter, penetrate the siding, and become trapped inside the wall; and
  • where gutters terminate at the side of a chimney.


2.  The kickout was improperly installed.

  • The bottom seam of the flashing must be watertight. If it’s not, water will leak through the seam and may penetrate the cladding.
  • The angle of the diverter should never be less than 110 degrees.

3.  The kick-out was modified by the homeowner.

  • Homeowners who do not understand the importance of kickouts may choose to alter them because they are unsightly. A common way this is done is to shorten their height to less than the standard 6 inches (although some manufacturers permit 4 inches), which will greatly reduce their effectiveness. Kickout flashings should be the same height as the side wall flashings.
  • Homeowners may also make kickout flashings less conspicuous by cutting them flush with the wall, making them less effective.

In summary, kickout flashing should be present and properly installed in order to direct rainwater away from the exterior roof-covering materials, particularly at the chimney locations.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
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There’s A Bird Nesting Near My House. What Should I Do?

birdnest

In general, the best thing you can do for a bird nesting near a human dwelling is to try to minimize the disturbance—stay at a respectful distance, minimize foot traffic, door openings/closings, and postpone and projects or construction slated for the area.

If a bird is nesting in an inconvenient place on your property, the good news is that the nesting period is not forever, and in some species may only be matter of weeks. The nesting cycle for most songbirds, robins included, is around 4 weeks from egg laying to chicks leaving the nest (two weeks of incubation, two weeks of nestlings). Try not to use the area around the nest until the young have fledged to ensure that the parents will not abandon their nest. If this is not possible, try to minimize your presence around the nest; many yard birds are tolerant of occasional disturbances.

Unless the nest is causing damage to your property or exposing  you or your family to potential disease from waste, we don’t recommend that you move the nest; Birds will often abandon their nest if it is moved. Only in extreme circumstances should you consider relocating a nest, and if you do, it must be replaced very close, within a few feet of the original location.

Some people choose to put up feeders or leave mealworms around to try to provide an additional food source for birds nesting nearby, but this is not necessary for the nest to be successful.

From my experience as a home inspector, most nest are not close to human traffic and are easily removed in the winter if desired.  The most detrimental nest are the mud type that Barn Swallows build, often on porches.  These birds, through beautiful, can be threatening-especially to young children.  I recommend removing these nest as soon as they are noticed.  Once established, you will have a neighborhood of “new builds” on you front porch and all that comes with it.

Any nest that is built inside of your dwelling, as in a hole in the soffit or facia, should be removed immediately.  Left alone this will only contribute to deterioration of your home.  The nest and its occupants should be removed and access permanently sealed to avoid further intrusion.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
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#springhomemaintenance  #birdnesting

811: Three Numbers That Could Save Your Life

811

      Believe you me, as a technician working for the cable and phone companies, we went through roll after roll of underground cable during the month of April.  On more than one occasion, in addition to cutting the customer’s own cable line, they had also damaged electrical and gas lines.
     It only takes a few seconds to damage a buried pipeline, but the consequences could last
a lifetime. Digging before having underground utilities marked puts you in serious danger
of injury or even death. But there’s an easy way to prevent that – just dial 811! It’s a free
call that can keep you and your neighbors safe.
     April is National Safe Digging Month and the perfect time to refresh your knowledge
about safe digging practices. There is a vast network of pipelines, telecommunication
cables and electrical wires buried underground that need to be identified before
beginning any digging project to prevent injury, damage and service outages.
One phone call to 8II from wherever you are will route your call to Okie811 which will
alert owners of pipelines, telecommunication cables and power lines to mark their buried
assets within two full business days of the request. There’s no charge to you for this
service. You may also submit a locate request ticket online by visiting www.okie 811.org
or by downloading the Okie811 mobile app.
811app
     Whether you’re planting a tree, tilling soil, installing a deck or sprinkler system or setting
fence posts, always remember to call 811 at least two full business days before you plan
to dig to allow all utility line locations to be marked.
     It’s easy to do. So during National Safe Digging Month, and any time of year, be safe –
call 811 before you dig. For more information about digging safety, visit the safety section
of the website at www.oklahomanaturalgas.com

 

 

Source:  Oklahoma Natural Gas
Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
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Moisture Intrusion: Part 1 of 2

rainonroof

Moisture Intrusion left unchecked can lead to structural defects in a home over time, as well as health problems for the home’s family.

Some common moisture-related problems include:

  • structural wood decay
  • high indoor humidity and resulting condensation
  • expansive soil, which may crack or undermine the home’s foundation, or softened soil, which may lose its ability to support an overlying structure
  • metal corrosion
  • ice dams, which form in roof gutters that are undersized or obstructed and water isn’t allowed to drain properly
  • Mold growth. Mold can only grow in the presence of high levels of moisture. People who suffer from the following conditions can be seriously or even fatally harmed if exposed to elevated levels of airborne mold spores: asthma, allergies, lung disease and/or compromised immune systems.

Note that people who do not suffer from these ailments may still be harmed by elevated levels of airborne mold spores.

So now that we are entering the rainy season here in Oklahoma, take a few minutes after the next big rain and make sure you homes outer shell is doing its job.  Make sure your gutters are cleared and draining properly.  Make sure your downspouts are taking water well away from your foundation(we recommend 4-6 feet if possible.  Maybe you can add those gutters this spring that you have been meaning to for years.  Believe me they pay for themselves over time.

Check the indoor systems as well.  Bathrooms and Kitchens have a lot of water going through them.  Keep an eye out for moisture around showers and dishwashers.  Look under those bathroom and kitchen sinks.  Yes I know it may take a few minutes to clear all that stuff (I see it every work day-believe me), but as I found out not too long ago, all those products under there may keep you from noticing a leak that may cost you in repairs and impair indoor air quality.

As we crank up the A/C with the rise in temps and humidity, make sure your condensate drains are doing their job and taking the moisture to the drain.

Have a safe spring!

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
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Avoiding Home Damage from Trees and Vegetation

 

treeoverhang

It’s that time of year again here in Oklahoma.  Storm season.  Hopefully we will get some much needed rain, but along with this we often get more wind then we would like.

I see this in most of my home inspections.  A lovely tree or bush has become a little to cozy with the side of a home and is causing damage to the exterior of the home as well as the roof.

Before the next weather event comes along, take a look around your abode and make sure there are no opportunities for your trees and vegetation to cause damage to your biggest investment.

A little prevention in the form of tree-trimming goes a long way toward keeping leaves and moss off your roof and keeping your roof damage-free. Abrasion from limbs and leaves that touch your home can eventually damage shingles, vinyl siding, and window screens, especially in high winds.

Overhanging branches also give squirrels and other rodents access to your roof. They can gnaw on your roof and siding. Branches need to be 10 feet away from your roof to keep these pests at bay. If that’s not possible, wrap the tree trunk with a sheet-metal bank to prevent them from climbing the tree.

Trimming branches that hang over the roof is a job for a pro, though, or you might cause more damage than you prevent.

Always think safety before starting a home project.  It’s often worth hiring a pro when you consider the cost of an injury.
Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com

We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
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Seasonal Maintenance Checklist: In the Spring

springhome

Spring has sprung!  March 20th was the first day of spring, so as you are spending more time outdoors, take a few minutes to address some Spring home maintenance items that will help to maintain the value of your investment:

  • Roof:  Check for damage to your roof.  Especially here in Oklahoma you should do this after each big spring storm.
  • Exterior Siding & Trim:  Check all the fascia and trim for deterioration and caulk as needed.
  • Masonry:  Check for masonry cracks or voids and tuck-point as needed.
  • HVAC:  Have an HVAC professional inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Water Heater:  Check your water heater for leaks or rust.  Drain water heater tank to reduce sediment (consult a licensed plumber first if you have not been doing this annually for your water heater).
  • Fire Extinguishers:  Check you fire extinguishers.  I recommend you have one for your kitchen and garage.
  • Kitchen Exhaust:  Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.
  • Concrete:  Repair all cracked, broken and uneven driveways and walks to help provide a level walking surface.
  • Plumbing:  Check the shutoff valves at the plumbing fixtures to make sure they function.
  • Dryer Exhaust:  Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and damper and the space under the dryer.  Ensure that your dryer is venting to the exterior and not to the attic or garage.
  • Gutters:  Clean gutters and downspouts.  Repair as necessary.  Make sure water is diverted from the home.
  • Filters:  Replace HVAC filters, water treatment system filters, water filter in the refrigerator, and any other filters as needed.
  • Concrete:  Pressure wash deck, drive, and walkways.
  • Exterior:  Walk exterior perimeter of house and check for potential entry points for critters.
  • Detectors:  Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

 

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175

homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
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#springhomemaintenance  #timeoutdoors #greatoutdoors

 

Roof-Drainage Maintenance: Part 3 of 3

gutterextension

Downspouts
Downspouts are designed to drain water from the gutters and discharge it a safe distance away from the foundation. They often discharge directly onto the ground, but through the use of extensions and other devices, they should be configured in such a way that roof runoff does not saturate the soil at or beneath the foundation.

Water from a downspout that discharges next to the home’s foundation can wash away soil from beneath the wall, leaving the foundation unsupported in large areas. If too much of the wall loses support, it may settle unevenly or even crack. This can lead to moisture intrusion or even flooding in the basement or crawlspace, not to mention costly repairs.

Downspouts should connect to the gutters securely and be free of debris. They should have some device (such as an extension or splashblock) that will carry runoff away from the foundation before discharging it to the soil. Clogged downspouts will cause runoff to overflow the gutter, which can create hazardous and unsightly puddles.

downspoutdrain

Some downspouts may be tied into perimeter drains, and this can be a problem when the ground is frozen. Ice may prevent the system from working. When this happens, some homeowners may disconnect the downspout, but they may never re-connect them, which can create new problems.

Interior Downspouts
In-roof gutters sometimes connect to downspouts installed inside the exterior walls. In older homes, these downspouts are made of metal and eventually corrode and leak. Internal downspout leakage can sometimes go unnoticed for long enough to do considerable structural damage, such as decay of home’s the wooden framing.

Now that you know more about what can go wrong when you neglect regular roof-drainage maintenance, you’ll hopefully be less likely to put off cleaning out those gutters. Your home will thank you!

 

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
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