Month: November 2010

Time to winterize

Many posts have been written about how you should prepare your home for the winter months. Here in the willamette valley our

Plugged gutter on a home in Keizer, Oregon noted on a home inspection

winters are not all that extreme. It does stay wet, however we don’t get much snow on the valley floor and our temperatures very rarely dip much below freezing.  These moderate temperatures do have their own set of maintenance issues:

1. Gutters: Gutters, gutters, gutters. Did I mention gutters? Seriously, gutters. The manner in which we receive rain requires properly functioning gutters. For around 8 months we stay wet. Not huge downpours, just steady and wet. Every drop of rain that hits your roof is supposed to be concentrated and collected into a few spots around the home. If the collection system is plugged or allowing water to splash or dump around the home serious problems can develop. This is my number one thing to keep functional on my own home.

2. De-moss the roof. In general, every two years you will want to spread some moss killer. The shady slopes and roofs that are near large trees may need additional applications of the copper or zinc.

3. Remove the hoses from the outside water faucets.
I do not use the styrofoam cover thingys.  Again, it is all about our climate. If you remove your hoses it will not usually get cold enough to need those cover thingys.

Foundation vent plug in on a Salem Home Inspection

4. Crawlspace vents. There seems to be a viral belief in the necessity to plug the foundation vents. I do not think that this is a verygood thing to do. Most of our winter temperatures are going to be around 40 degrees. Pipes do not freeze at 40 degrees. More likely than frozen pipes is the possibility of moisture bubbling up from underneath the home. If the vents are all plugged, and water is present you have created a moist, stagnant area that is perfect for critters and fungus that eat the wood that is holding up your home. The moral of all of this is: Do not plug your vents unless it dips below 25 degrees, and as soon as it warms up again, take the plugs out.

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Foundations; Which type of cracks are ok?

Foundation cracks are typically something that home inspectors look for around the perimeter inside and out. Foundations in Marion and Polk counties are usually a poured concrete or possibly concrete block type foundation.

Concrete does two things, it gets hard and it cracks. Small, less than an eighth inch, vertical cracks are typically indicators of shrinkage and are a normal part of the concrete curing process. The cracks that are potentially structural in nature falling in a few categories.
1. Diagonal cracks: these cracks typically occur near corners and indicate that the corner has settled. This happens either with moving down, or uplifting moving up. Diagonal cracks typically occur in pairs. One on either side of the corner.Cracks in a foundation in a old home in Salem Oregon.

 

 

2. Horizontal cracks: these cracks typically indicate pressures against the foundation wall from soils. Either in properly backfilled soils or soils that have unusual amounts of moisture creating excessive pressures.

 

 

3. Cracks with displacement: displacement indicates movement on either side of the crack. One side of the foundation has moved forward or back more than the other side. Displacement can occur with any of these types of cracks and is always an indicator of structural movement.

 

 

4. Cracks that are wider than one quarter inch: this indication can also occur with any of the previous mentioned cracks. Cracks that are larger than one quarter inch may indicate a significant amount of structural movement and repairs may be needed. When cracks of this size are noted standard operating procedure for most good home inspectors is to recommend a structural engineer further evaluate.Large foundation crack noted during a home inspection on a concrete foundation in a North East Salem, Oregon home.

 

 

Those are the styles of foundation cracks to look for. If any of the above four are noted it may be time for further evaluation. Home inspectors are always a good non biased source for structural evaluations.