Salem Oregon home inspection

Wood Chip siding/OSB Problems and Maintenance Ideas Noted on Salem Oregon Home Inspections

As wood products have become more and more expensive the search for a viable inexpensive alternative has intensified.  In the world of siding real wood is still hard to beat.  Real wood sheds liquid water and allows water vapor to effectively come and go.  Solid wood is really a fantastic siding material but it is expensive so creative companies have been trying to develop a product that could be made from wood by-product (wood chips and fiber).

Wood chip siding has been around for many years but in the late 80’s and early 90’s a certain type of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) siding really became popular around Salem, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.  The type that really had issues was the lap type made by Louisiana Pacific (LP).  This product had an adhesive that did not resist moisture effectively, and because proper sealing with primer and paint and continued home owner maintenance cannot be counted upon, the siding began to absorb moisture very quickly and began to deteriorate (grow mushrooms/fall apart).

LP went back to the drawing board, made some adjustments and continued to produce a very similar “wood chip” lap siding.  The adjustments were made to the sealing process.  They primed the entire board at the factory not just the front face, and they put a bevel on the drip edge of the siding that would help water drip off instead of being absorbed.

Wood chip siding also comes in panel form and although it is a similar product to the lap siding it doesn’t have as high of a percentage of vulnerable areas.  With the lap siding the bottom drip edge and all the other edges (only the front face is really the only durable side) are vulnerable and should be actively sealed/maintained with primer

and paint.  The panel boards come in 4’x8′ sheets and again only the edges are vulnerable but the damage resistant surfaces (again the front face) are much larger per piece.  The panels edges still need to be sealed actively.

One of the most common mistakes I see on home inspections around Salem, Oregon is the very bottom edge of the siding not getting painted.  Of course I carry a mirror that makes it easier for me to see that bottom edge that is only 8″ off the ground, but even with out fancy home inspector g ear you can get down on your knees and make sure this most vulnerable of areas gets sealed.  Both panel and lap siding have this issue and usually from waste down is where the lap goes bad and the very botto m is where the panel siding doesn’t get painted and begins to fail.

Now what is “failure/deterioration/dry rot?” In one of my earlier posts I wrote about “dry rot,” and why I do not use that term.  I prefer to use the term deterioration and basically that refers to a level of hardness or lack-of-hardness.  A good rule of thumb is: “If you poke it with your finger does it flex easily?” or (and if you are looking to buy a home that is not yours yet please leave this method to the professional home inspector) “Will a screwdriver/awl/knife point penetrate easily?”  If the answer is “yes” to either of those questions then the siding will not be able to sufficiently hold on to primer/paint and therefore it will not be able to shed water effectively and will continue to deteriorate and possibly begin to allow deterioration of related areas of the home (wall structure).

Some of the composite (wood chip/particle) sidings begin to swell when the paint is failing and allowing water to be absorbed.  Sometimes this swelling can be stifled with prudent and active painting.  But again the siding has got to be “hard” still. If it flexes it will not be able to hold on to the paint that will prevent further moisture absorption and will need to be replaced.

As the siding products have evolved, there have been good and not so good products.  The siding’s job is to shed water while allowing water vapor to come and go.  This job must be achieved while striving for low cost, durability, and ease of installation.  The “wood chip,” siding met a few of those needs, low cost and ease of installation, while suffering in the durability aspect.  However with knowledge of this type of siding’s vulnerabilities and active/aggressive maintenance it can be a lasting and effective siding system.




Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Advertisements

Builders are Just Human or You Still Need a Home Inspection on a new Salem Oregon Home

I was poking around one of the many good deals in real estate here in Salem, Oregon the other day and I noticed this “small” roof leak.

I love my job.  Above and beyond me finding problems with my client’s new homes, my job is to educate them on how their home works.  Most people who are willing to climb on a roof could notice that this roof vent is out-of-place but explaining the vital function of the roof vent is my job and I love it.

Home inspections are more than just a check list of the “problems” in a home.   They are a great start in the educational process that we as homeowners need to actively pursue.

 

 

The Door between the Garage and the Home: Your first line of Defense

The door between the garage and the home can be a very important part of fire safety in modern homes.  The issue that I routinely run into as a home inspector is this fact has only been an accepted building technique since the early 80s.  If a home was built before that, chances are that the door is not a “fire rated door.” The garage is a great place for a fire to start.  As far as house fires go,  the garage is where a vast majority of fires are started.  Paint cans, gasoline, natural gas appliances are all things that are usually in garages and are great for burning the house down.

If a fire does start in the garage a proper fire rated door and properly constructed fire wall are the best lines of defense to allow you to make your escape before the fire comes into the home.

There are a few ways to tell if your door has been updated.  Most solid-core and metal doors are fire rated.  There can also be a little metal tag on the hinge side of the door that will give some more information.

The pictures show what a hollow-core door looks like with thermal imaging/Infrared.  The strips you can see are actually sections of cardboard.

Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Pest and Dry Rot? What is That?? Explanations of some confusing Salem, Oregon real estate terms.

Pest and Dry Rot.  Seems like some pretty straight forward items eh?  Actually this can be a little more confusing than you might think.

Pest and Dry Rot is an unbelievably ambiguous term that gets thrown around a lot during the course of a real estate transaction.  To limit the amount of confusion lets dissect the parts and expectations of a Pest and Dry Rot inspection:

Most of the time, around Salem, Oregon the “P and D,” is what loan companies want to see (if anything) as far as the inspections.  So right from the start, things can get weird.  Unlike an appraiser I, the home inspector, do not work for the loan company.  My contract is with my clients (usually the buyers) and I do an inspection for my client’s benefit.  I do not care about what a loan company finds important, they did not hire me.

What is a pest?  I have had neighbors that definitely qualify as pests.  I have even known some real estate agents and mortgage officers that might fall under that guise.  So how am I, your well meaning home inspector, supposed to comment on Pests?  Stay tuned and I will further delve into what this term actually means……:

Wood Destroying Organisms Part 2

Wood Destroying Organisms Part 3

Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Thermal Imaging/Infrared sees electrical issues before problems occur on a South Salem Home Inspection

I was doing a home inspection the other day on a very nice, and newer home here in south Salem today.  The home had very few minor issues but one thing popped out when I used the thermal camera to scan the master bedroom.

The circuit did not appear to be hot enough to cause a fire however there was no significant load on this circuit and it should not have been heating-up.  As it turns out there was a loose wire in the heated outlet in the picture.  The heat was produced because of the looseness/resistance of the connection.

Just another issue that can be easily resolved with the help of thermal imagining/Infrared.


Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321                   jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Comfort level: Regular, Delicate Sheer, or Permanent Press?

Home owners can be very creative people. This is especially true of people from previous generations and people here in South Salem, Oregon.

 

If I had a nickel for every automotive part used in plumbing repairs that I have seen….I would have enough for a happy meal….maybe.

 

Recently while diligently checking a home’s heating system this dryer control knob was noted on a wall heater. I am not sure how hot ‘permanent press’ is or even ‘Delicate sheer’ but I am sure the knob fits tight and with a little training, might help dry the home’s air.

 

 

Where is this Water coming from?

Being an inspector equipped with a highly advance thermal camera I have been called upon to find quite a few leaks.

Leaks can be very frustrating and challenging. Our modern, climate controlled, super insulated and immaculately finished homes do not respond well to storm water on interior surfaces. Window sills swell, drywall turns brown, and wood floors crack. How rude it is when Mother Nature invites herself into the world we control.

A very interesting pattern has developed after a few dozen, “….help me find where this leak is coming from,” calls. A majority of the calls that were related to storm water had three significant things I common: the leakage could be noted in a window opening, the window was on the south side of the home and the siding was a lap type.

With properly installed flashing homes should not leak. However it is nearly impossible to ensure contractors install something properly especially if it is above and beyond those minimum building standards some call ‘codes’. Caulking is always a good first line of defense but if the openings are flashed properly, caulking should not even be needed to keep the home water tight.

Before all of our modern, space aged materials it was common knowledge to crack open a leeward window in windy and wet conditions. With a modern understanding of hydro-dynamics we now understand that when wind hits a home a low pressure vortex is actually created inside the home. This means that in windy, wet conditions water is not necessarily blown-in but pulled-in. When the window on the leeward side of the home is cracked open, the pressures are able to equalize. Many intermittent leaks can be slowed, stopped or completely prevented.

If you do have a leak around a window or door, your flashing is not adequate and should be repaired. This can potentially mean thousands of dollars. In the mean time, if the wind is blowing rain at your home, try cracking a window on the other side of the home.