Rubber roofing systems, or EPDM, have been successfully used on residential roofs for over 40 years. Low sloping or flat roof surfaces that provide challenges for traditional roofing system are easily overcome by a rubber roof. Take ponding for example. A traditional roll roof or tar build up roof can suffer adversely from water that lays (ponds) on the surface whereas a rubber roof can withstand this condition.

Much of what goes into a quality rubber roof installation is dependant upon the professional who installs the system. As with most premium products, the manufacturer provides detailed instructions on their product. Adherence to these instructions will make the difference between a roof that performs well and one that fails under real-life conditions. More often than not a residential system has been installed by someone who does not follow the manufactures instructions.

I have seen many rubber roof installations installed poorly. These roof installations will fail early and be a constant source of leakage over time, entailing expensive repairs. The pictures below were from a recently inspected roof where the installation was particularly poor.

Below: The rubber here was not glued down, the seams were not sealed, and the edges were not sealed.

In the next photo: The rubber here was not terminated properly at the wall, and not sealed at the joint.

Below: The rubber edging was not sealed and the joint at the corner was left flapping in the wind.

 

Precise Inspecting is proud to announce the addition of infrared technology to its home inspection services. Infrared imaging, or thermography, is a physical science that allows for the capture of light in the infrared spectrum of the light scale. It measures an object’s heat radiating off itself.

Heat loss, moisture penetration, and electrical panel overload are the three areas of main focus in our Thermal Imaging service. As a fully Certified Residential Thermographer, I am able to perform a thermal image scan of your home and provide you with a dozen or more thermal images paired with their standard digital counterpart for comparison.

If you are purchasing a new home and want to identify possible hidden problems before you purchase, then you can now add thermal image scanning to your home inspection.

Above photos: The photo on the left is of an exterior wall where it joins a cathedral ceiling. Cathedral ceilings are often difficult to access and in this case, my customer was concerned with the possibility of moisture intrusion in the high, out of reach, ceiling. After shooting the area with an infrared camera we discovered a thermal anomaly*. Upon further investigation, we found that the area was only a cold spot due to the convergence of multiple wood framing members in the corner.

*thermal anomaly – refers to a departure from a reference value. In layman’s terms, it is the difference between what you would expect to occur and what is actually occurring. To further clarify, a positive anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was warmer than the reference value (surrounding area), while a negative anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was cooler than the reference value (surrounding area).

Roofs present many potential issues (like in this video) that can only be discovered by climbing up and making a visual inspection, which I prefer to do whenever it’s safe.

 

Recently I inspected the roof pictured above. My visual inspection revealed at least three layers of asphalt shingles. Without removing each layer there was no way to be sure that a fourth lay hidden beneath. Most homeowners who opt for a re-roof do so to save money in labor costs. Under ideal circumstances, the average savings is about 25%. Those ideal circumstances include solid decking, no existing leaks, and a roof with no sidewalls or chimneys where flashing is needed. Add to that the fact that a re-roof likely won’t last as long as a new roof on solid decking and you are left with a job that could end up costing you more.

Now that we have reviewed the upside, let’s look at the downside.

  • Number one: If you don’t strip off your shingles and tar paper down to the sheathing, you will never know the condition of your sheathing. Sheathing rot and water damage are common even in properly installed roofs.
  • Number two: with an overlay, you forfeit the opportunity to install an ice and water-leak barrier directly to the wood decking. Without this, ice could travel up the old layer of shingles, melt and leak into the home.
  • Number three: as mentioned above, flashing around roof penetrations are harder to address and can easily be compromised leaving the roof vulnerable to adverse weather conditions.
  • Number four: a second or third roof adds tons of weight to the roof framing and this could be a big problem if there is significant snow accumulation.

The Final Word – all of us are used to making decisions based on the pros and cons. In this case, the answer is obvious.

       

Recently Precision Inspecting, LLC underwent a name change to Precise Inspecting, LLC. The reason for the change was to avoid confusion with another home inspecting company in the Mechanicsburg area whose name is Precision Inspections and Radon Solutions. My desire is to continue to offer quality home inspections and ancillary services to the Lancaster, Lebanon and York areas while avoiding any unnecessary confusion. Thanks for your understanding.

The new home inspection law HB1001 addresses an important issue regarding the confidentiality of the home inspector’s report as it pertains to the buyer and his/her agent. The letter of the law reads:

Confidentiality

  1. Except as otherwise required by this subsection or by law, a home inspector may not deliver a home inspection report to a person other than the client of the home inspector without the client’s consent.
  2. The property owner shall have the right, upon request, to receive without charge a copy of a home inspection report from the person for whom the home inspection report was prepared.
  3. If immediate threats to health or safety are observed during the course of the inspection and if the premises are occupied, the client hereby consents to allow the home inspector to disclose the immediate threats to health or safety to the property owner and occupants of the property.

Key take-away — the buyer maintains control of who sees the home inspection report. If anyone else receives the report it should only come directly from the buyer who is the home inspector’s client. Typically, the buyer grants permission in the contract for his/her realtor to receive a copy.

For a more in-depth treatment, see the article by Matt Steger of WIN Home Inspections – The Home Inspection Report — Who Does It Legally Belong To?

The new home inspection law HB1001 working its way through the PA legislature also calls for specific requirements for the home inspector’s report. In addition to requiring the report to be typewritten, a PA home inspector’s report must include all of the following:

  1. A description of the scope of the inspection.
  2. A description of material defects noted during the inspection, along with a recommendation that certain experts be retained to determine the extent of the defects. Also included shall be
    • A limitation on the liability of the home inspector
      for gross negligence or willful misconduct and
    • A waiver or modification of any provision of this corrective action that should be taken.
  3. If at the time of the inspection, there is visible evidence of the presence of interior mold, mildew or fungi, the home inspector must disclose in the home inspection report the visible evidence and the location and advise the client to obtain a professional evaluation.
  4. The following statements, set forth conspicuously:
    • A home inspection is intended to assist in an evaluation of the overall condition of the dwelling. The inspection is based on observation of the visible and apparent condition of the structure and its components on the date of inspection.
    • The results of this home inspection are not intended to make a representation regarding the presence or absence of latent or concealed defects that are not reasonably ascertainable in a competently performed home inspection. No warranty or guaranty is expressed or implied.
    • If the person conducting your home inspection is not a licensed structural engineer or other professionals whose license authorizes the rendering of an opinion as to the structural integrity of a building or the building’s other component parts, you may be advised to seek a professional opinion as to any defects or concerns mentioned in the report.
    • This home inspection report is not to be construed as an appraisal and may not be used as such for any purpose.

Coming up next: The home inspector and confidentiality.

The new home inspection law HB1001 working its way through the PA legislature codifies the home inspector’s contract with his/her client. Many inspectors already include these provisions but a couple important ones will now be required. Here’s the full list:

  1. Signature of client.
  2. Scope of home inspection.
  3.  Fee charged to client.
  4. Contact information of home inspector.
  5. License number of home inspector.
  6. A statement explaining the confidentiality between the home inspector and the client.

Two important prohibitions will also be required. The contract shall be unenforceable if the contract includes either of these two provisions:

  1. A limitation on the liability of the home inspector for gross negligence or willful misconduct.
  2. A waiver of any provision that the new law stipulates.

Next post: The Home Inspection Report

Soon to be voted on, HB1001 outlines prohibited acts that a licensed home inspector in Pennsylvania shall not engage in. They are summed up as follows:

(1)  Performing any repairs to a structure for an additional fee for which the home inspector has prepared a home inspection report within the preceding 12 months. Except for radon or wood-destroying insects work.

(2)  Inspecting for a fee any property in which the home inspector has a financial interest in the transfer of the property including commissions as an agent unless the financial interest is disclosed in writing and the buyer signs an acknowledgment of receipt of the disclosure.

(3)  Offering or delivering a commission, referral fee or kickback to the seller of the inspected property for the referral of business to the home inspector.

(4)  Accepting an engagement to perform a home inspection or to prepare a home inspection report in which the employment itself or the fee payable for the inspection is contingent upon the conclusions in the report, pre-established or prescribed findings or the closing of the transaction.

There is one notable exception –A home warranty company that is affiliated with or retains the home inspector does not violate subsection if the home warranty company performs repairs in accordance with claims made under a home warranty contract.

A good home inspector will have his own code of ethics to which he subscribes such as this.