Sunday, January 10, 2010

House Condensation

Re-Inspection, it's a service that all Home Inspectors should offer. Past clients calls, maybe from years ago. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Many inspectors seem to be very tardy about getting back to past clients. Maybe this is due to the fact that they are worried that they will have a complaint to deal with. Truth is, I get hundreds of calls each year and very rarely are these people that are trying to hang you with a problem that they have, in fact it is quite the opposite. As inspectors we establish a level of trust with our clients (assuming you are competent ) and they are calling for help, understanding, or direction.
I spend very little money on marketing ( not that that is the making for a good business plan) Where I spend my marketing dollars is somewhat indirect. I eat costs. Case in point, the cost of re-inspects, when I do charge it is very minimal. I leave my clients with the warm fuzzy feeling that they are still benefiting from a service that they may have purchased years ago. Guess what. We have all heard the old saying " They tell two friends and they tell two friends", well you get the idea. And it pays off in spades.
Yes you are correct that is a very strange introduction for condensation problems.
This is one of my typical call backs. Not to place blame, not to hold responsible, and not to point the finger. Just a cry for HELP. "I am frozen out of my cottage, the door is frozen shut, I can't even get my dam key in the lock and all the windows are dripping wet! We had to spend last night in a hotel because we could not access our own cottage!"
Here is the scenario, Clients from the Big Smoke buy a nicely renovated cottage in Haliburton County, the inspection goes well. In this case the cottage has all the tell tales of a "flip" an old cottage that has been purchased, cosmetically renovated and re-sold in the hope to make an extra buck. Here is the concern. We take and old cottage on piers with an earth floor and a very low slope roof, which at some point has had an addition of a fourth bedroom and another roof built over top of the original one to incease the pitch (or slope) of the roof. Not a bad idea, better snow shedding capabilities, and an increased attic space that allows for increased insulation and adequate ventilation. All the ceiling had been re-drywalled at which time, unfortunatly they covered in the attic access (sound familar, client bought anyway, and a year later still no access, oh well.) The drywallers did a very professional job but stangely enough left the add on bed room with the old paper accoustic tiles. The crawl space had been "skirted in" with plywood and a spray foam insulation had been sprayed on the exteior walls. As per the inspection recommendations the my client covered the earth floor with a 6 mill. poly to reduce the amount of moisture and soil gases eminating from the earth floor. The crawl space was pretty friendly it had a head room of between 36 to 48 inches in most places, but like most lake side cottages it was built on the side of a hill. This means lots of head room ( from a crawl space stand point) at the front of the cottage ( which would be considered the lake side) and not so much at the back. Inside the little cottage the new vinlye and laminate flooring also added. Once again acting on a recommendation form the inspection the client replaced the remaining old window with a highquality single hung vinyle window which were installed very well. The installer even offered to go around and re-caulk all the existing windows and doors, and equally did a very nice job of it.

So you might ask your self " Well Mike, this place sounds perfect. Whats the problem?"

The problem is they now are living in a plastic bubble. No air in and more importantly no air out.
The next question you might ask is so where is the condensation comeing from?

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