Common Problems With Decks Found During Home Inspections

Shane Serra - Friday, April 14, 2017

Decks by far have to be one of the most common upgrades that homeowners will take upon themselves to construct. Unfortunately, decks are also one of the most common problem areas observed on the exterior of a home during an inspection.

Improper Deck Framing

Improper deck framing is a very common problem. There are many “weekend warrior” types that feel their construction skills are up to par for building a deck. Problem is most don’t have a clue, and this can lead to some serious safety issues. Improper deck framing is a problem commonly observed during home inspections.

Over spanned and over spaced joists, improper sized joist hangers, improper joist fastening, ledger boards not secured properly, improper joist supports, undersized beams, undersized beam columns, improper or damaged footings are all typical issues found during home inspections.

Some other common issues found with decks during home inspections are improper, damaged or missing railings, improperly constructed stairs, deck stairs not properly fastened to the deck itself, damaged or deteriorated treads and surface planks and rot and deterioration in general.

Implications of Deck Defects

Implications of these defects can sometimes be serious. If a deck collapses and someone becomes injured or seriously hurt, one could find themselves being slapped with a substantial lawsuit. This is why attention needs to be given to inspecting the deck to ensure it is safe to use.

More often than not, poorly constructed decks are observed during home inspections. Most homeowners also do not follow local code compliance regulations regarding proper deck safety and construction methods, again another reason to ensure your home inspector has a real good look at that deck.

Above Grade Home Inspections Inc. performs home inspections, WETT inspections, thermal imaging and mould inspections in Barrie and across Simcoe County.

Common Issues Found During Home Inspections – Mould in the Attic

Shane Serra - Saturday, February 25, 2017


Common Issues Found During Home Inspections – Mould in the Attic

Mould, it’s a very common occurrence in most homes, and it’s not unusual at all to discover mould growth during a typical home inspection. Mould can be found in a home due to a variety of reasons, perhaps there was a plumbing leak that soaked drywall or carpet, maybe a foundation leak into a finished basement, or maybe a venting issue inside the attic.

Many people have been influenced by sensationalized media when it comes to mould presence in their home and therefore tend to panic when mould growth is discovered when they are having home inspection. Lets discuss one of the most common mould issues found during a home inspection:

Mould Inside the Attic

There can be a few different reasons as to why mould may be present inside an attic. Perhaps there is a lack of proper venting, or someone has carelessly vented bathroom exhaust fan inside the attic, it could be due to a leakage problem or even due to a grow operation.

From our experience performing home inspections, usually mould growth inside the attic is due to careless bathroom exhaust fan venting inside the attic, or what is more commonly observed in homes constructed within the last 20 years or so, is soffit vented exhaust fans that sometimes allow moist air to enter back inside the attic space in a localized area, typically between a pair of rafters or trusses (see attached photo).

Mould Remediation

So, what are your options when mould is discovered in the attic during your home inspection? Moving forward, you always want to address the issue, in cases as mentioned above, if the mould growth is localized you probably don’t need to panic. You should at some point either remove the affected material, or have it properly treated by a qualified remediation specialist.

Removal of the affected material can be as simple as having the affected roof sheathing replaced the next time the shingles are replaced, or having a mould remediation specialist remove material through various media blasting or other chemical treatments. Depending on the situation, high cost can be a factor, but not always, so it’s best to consult with professionals to know what your options really are.

How to Prevent the Mould Problem from Reoccurring?

Once the affected materials are replaced or treated, it’s a really good idea to address the root cause to the issue to prevent the problem from recurring in the future as well. This can sometimes be as simple as relocating the exhaust vent to another suitable area or venting in another manner to improve the discharge of warm moist air away from the attic space.

In conclusion, not all attic mould growth scenarios are life threatening or severe problems, so if you are having a home inspection performed and mould is found, do not panic and take the time to consult with the correct professionals so you know what the best course of action moving forward is.

Above Grade Home Inspections Inc. performs home inspections, mould inspections, WETT inspections and thermal imaging in Barrie and across Simcoe County.


Mould Inspection & Remediation Level Guidelines

Shane Serra - Saturday, August 15, 2015
Mould Inspection Remediation Level Guidelines

Sometimes during a home inspection, mould or suspected mould growth may be discovered. There are a variety of situations that can cause mould growth, just as there are a variety of methods available for remediation of mould growth within a home.

There seems to be much confusion and misinformation among the general public these days regarding mould presence or growth in a home. Much of this misinformation has been present by remediation companies that use fear as a tactic to scare homeowners into believing their health can be put into serious risk if they ignore mould growth within a home (while some cases are indeed serious, not all cases are). Here is a breakdown of the typical remediation “levels” and their guidelines.

Level 1 Mould Remediation - Small scale growth under one metre squared can be classified as a “Level 1” remediation.

Level 2 Mould Remediation - Medium scale growth (Level 2) is between one to ten square metres

Level 3 Mould Remediation - Large scale (Level 3) is over ten square metres

Each level of remediation has its own recommended rules and regulations as to how the remediation must be perform in order to prevent further growth or contamination of the home.

In general, Level 1 remediation can be fairly common in households and can be performed by a homeowner with a little bit of education and the proper PPE.Level two and three jobs should be completed by qualified mould remediation specialists who will have the correct tools and equipment to complete the job correctly.

If you come across mould during your home inspection, it’s best not to panic and stay calm. Quite often we come across clients that fly off the handle and make their real estate transaction a nightmare because they were ill informed about mould growth.Quite often the problem isn’t as big as it may seem and can be dealt with without much pain or serious expense. It’s best to keep cool and engage with qualified home inspection professionals who will guide you down the correct path for the specific scenario you may be dealing with


Mould Inspections for Allergies in Barrie

Erich Kelter - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mould Inspection For Allergies

Some people may notice that whenever they are at home they “feel” different or perhaps ill. These same people may also observe that whenever they leave their home, they feel better or don’t experience symptoms such as fatigue, congestion, difficulty breathing, headaches etc. that they often experience when inside their home. If this is the case, then it may be worth looking into having a mould inspection and mould air sampling performed inside your home.

Mould Issues Are Not Always Obvious

Sometimes mould related problems may not be so obvious. It may take a long period of time for someone to correlate that their health declines each time they enter their home and spend significant time there. In these situations, it may make sense to have a mould inspection performed as well as air sampling to aid in troubleshooting or detecting a mould problem. Sometimes it may be localized in the home, perhaps just the basement has a problem due to moisture leakage, but since the basement is finished and nothing appears out of the ordinary, how can you tell if you have a mould problem without tearing apart the entire finished basement or other part of the home? The answer is simple; have a mould air sampling inspection performed.

Air Quality Testing 

Air sampling is a typical first course of action when dealing with a suspected mould problem. Why? Because it is typically non invasive and non destructive and air sampling can give us our first idea or clues as to what may or may not be a mould problem. If elevated spore counts are observed, then a proper course of remedial action can be taken or alternatively, if no elevated spore counts or abnormalities are observed, then one can move forward and in their evaluation of the home and determine if other possible sources may be the cause for the allergies.

Follow up Mould Remediation Test

If a problem is observed, then it is recommended that a qualified remediation company be contacted to perform abatement. Once the job is completed, a follow up mould air sampling inspection should be performed to ensure a proper and through remediation was performed.

Above Grade Home Inspections Inc. performs mould inspections and mould air sampling in Barrie and across Simcoe County.

Air Sampling & Mold Inspections

Erich Kelter - Thursday, March 05, 2015

What’s that smell? You smell “something” but you’re not quite sure what it is? It may be described as musty, earthy, damp etc...Usually the telltale sign that you may have a mould growth problem in your home. Is it time for a mold inspection?

3 Things Needed for Mould Inspection To Occur

  • First is temperature, anything above freezing essentially, but room temperature in a house is perfect.
  • Second we need food, pretty much 90% of residential building materials qualify as food for mould.
  • Third, we need water, maybe not physical to the touch, but moisture or high humidity will get the job done.

If you have all three things combined at the same place, you are likely to have mould growth.

Most mould problems in homes are caused by water presence and contact with building materials, be it from a leaking foundation, a plumbing leak or excessive condensation around a window frame. This is why it is very important to dry off any building materials in a home that get wet as soon as possible. Mould growth can start as quickly as 24-48 hrs if conditions are correct.

Sometimes if you have a plumbing leak or foundation leakage problem you may not be aware of, mould growth can accumulate slowly over long periods of time. The mould may not present itself immediately therefore growing unimpeded and creating a possible health situation. Usually the first sign that you may have a hidden mould problem is the smell. A smell may have developed over time even though no physical signs of mould growth or leakage are present. In this situation here, air sampling for mould growth may be your best bet before you go tearing down all of the finishing in a home.

Having a mold inspection and air sampling performed can give you a pretty good picture as to what may be going on within your home. It may also be the first stop in your defense or remediation strategy when trying to troubleshoot or deal with a mould problem.

Above Grade Home Inspections Inc. offers mould inspections and air sampling to help you identify any possible mould growth problems in your home. Our mold inspection report will provide you with professional lab analysis and data to help you move forward with any mold problems or mold growth you may have.

Three Signs that Mould Inspections are Needed

Erich Kelter - Wednesday, October 05, 2011

As a homeowner, it is only natural that you want to protect your investment, and mould inspections can help you do just that.  But how do you know if you have a problem that needs to be checked out by an inspector? 

Here are five signs that indicate you should be looking into a mould inspection right away:

  1. Unexplained odours – If it seems like one particular part of your home always smells musty, or if it just recently started to have a strange odour, then it is definitely time to start thinking about a mould inspection.  Odours are one of the first signs that you have mould growing in your home.  One way to know if you may have a mould problem, especially inside your ventilation system, is to turn off the furnace fan for a while.  Then when you turn the air conditioning or furnace back on, stand right over one of the vents in the house.  If you smell an odour, it’s time to look at getting a professional mould inspection.
  2. Moisture problems – Mould is caused by moisture that is allowed to sit, so if you notice any area of your home where moisture is a problem, then a mould inspection is in order.  Some common places where moisture could be a problem include in the restroom, closets, or basement. Sometimes it’s as simple as water left over after a shower or a problem with having the humidity too high inside the home.  In cases where water leakage is a problem, be sure to check the window caulking.
  3. Moisture staining on baseboard trim - If you see staining on your baseboard trim especially in a finished basement; you should seriously consider having a mould inspection performed. In some cases mould can start at the trim and grow several feet up the drywall where it can always be seen. Homeowners who fear they may have mould inside the walls should have a mould inspection immediately because this can be a very serious problem.

Knowing the first signs of a mould problem could be the difference between being able to protect your home or allowing it to have some very serious problems.  Your home is one of your most important investments, so you need to be able to recognize the signs of mould before it becomes a huge problem.

Above Grade Home Inspections offers complete mould inspections throughout Barrie and Simcoe County.

The Four Levels of Mould Inspections

Erich Kelter - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When it comes to asking for mould inspections, it is very important to understand that there is more than one kind of inspection. In fact, you have four different options in mould inspections, so it helps to know exactly what you get with each kind of inspection. After all, not everyone requiring mould inspections has the same needs. Sometimes a more thorough inspection is needed, while other times the answer may be more obvious to inspectors.

Here are the four levels of mould inspections available through most inspectors:

  1. Basic – This first level is mostly a visual check for mould and sources of moisture that could cause mould. Inspectors may take air samples to check for indications of problems, take photos, and write up a report.
  2. Intermediate – In addition to a visual check and air samples, intermediate mould inspections may include bulk or surface samples. Inspectors also take pictures and write up a report.
  3. Complete – Home owners or buyers who really want thorough mould inspections will be interested in the complete inspection, which includes thermal imaging to point out problem areas where hidden moisture may be present. It also includes surface and air samples, along with a written report and photos.
  4. Remediation – In some cases, it may be necessary to do a remediation inspection. These types of mould inspections focus on making sure that any mould or moisture problems identified in the first three types of inspections have been taken care of.

If you're looking at buying a home, you will probably want to get a complete inspection so that you know the home does not have any serious problems that will require you to shell out a lot more money in the near future. If there are any problems, you've got to find them before you sign on the dotted line so that you can get the problems fixed or move on to a different home. You simply can't be too careful when it comes to protecting the investment that is your home.

Not every inspector can offer all levels of mould inspections, so it's important to ask exactly what you're going to get with each company. For example, thermal imaging is not something offered by every inspector, so if that is something you want, then make sure that it is being offered.

Above Grade Home Inspections provides all levels of mould inspections in Barrie and Simcoe County.

Mould Inspections Can Improve Your Family's Health

Erich Kelter - Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mould inspections can help improve your family's living environment and, in turn, their overall health. Many people are affected by mould each day and have no idea what is going on. Some types of mould can actually lead to tragic health conditions while some are mild, but still dramatically affect the individual's life. Hiring a professional mould inspection service is the best way to ensure all mould is gone from your home.

Coming in Contact with Mold

If you notice a mould problem in your home, the best thing to do is avoid it completely. Physical contact can instigate health problems. Even after identifying the issue, some homeowners are reluctant to pay for a mould inspection. The important thing to remember is that just because you are not physically touching the mould with your body does not mean you aren't coming in contact with it. Mould can become airborne and will be inhaled by those living in your home. A mould inspection is the best way to identify this issue and fix it.

Allergies and Mould

A home mould inspection is a good way to help alleviate persistent allergies. Many individuals suffer from typical allergies, however some have no idea that they are living next to the main cause of their symptoms. A mould inspection can uncover the unseen presence of mould so it can be removed. Allergy sufferers can use a mould inspection and removal service to improve their living environment which can have a very positive impact on their skin and respiratory system.

Symptoms of Mould Contact

Your family could be experiencing the symptoms of mould contact without realizing it. If you notice a change in moods, lowered energy levels, irritability, weakness, burning eyes, chest pain and difficulty thinking, you may need a mould inspection performed on your home. A professional service can look for potential problem areas that could harbor mould. Your home should be a place that nurtures good health in you and your family. The presence of mould can completely change that. Paying for a home mould inspection today could help your family live healthier.

Mould Inspections Check List: Is Your Home at Risk for Mould Growth?

Erich Kelter - Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mould inspections handled by professionals offer the most effective option to determine if your home has a black mould problem. Some homeowners are reluctant to fork out cash for a professional inspection. There are many situations that can cause mould to grow, and in some cases you may not even notice it until it has become a serious issue. If you haven’t considered having a mould inspection performed on your residence then review the following check list to determine if you are at risk. If your home has experienced any of the following, then you may need a mould inspection.

Recently Replaced Roof

If you recently replaced your roof, consider having a mould inspection performed after the repair. The previous condition of the roof could have allowed water to seep into your home. Even if the damage was only present for a very short time, natural moisture could make its way in and lead to mould growth.

Sewer Issues

Any kind of sewer issue in your home that leads to a leak or back up can cause mould growth. Immediately after correcting the problem and removing any sewage and standing water, contact a professional to conduct a mould inspection. This situation is ideal for mould growth, even if it was corrected quickly.

Unsealed Windows and Doors

Windows and doors in your home should be resealed periodically. These tend to be weak points where moisture can enter your home. A mould inspector can look for any growth in and around door and window frames to stop a problem before it becomes worse.

Damp Basement

Many homes have damp basements. These dark, moist conditions can entice mould growth. A professional mould inspection can tell you whether or not mould has formed and how to get rid of it.

Aged or Damaged Siding

The siding on your home acts as a protective later that keeps the elements out. When the siding becomes damaged or needs replaced, this can provide a perfect entry point for water which can lead to mould growth. If you recently replaced damaged siding or all the siding on your home, consider hiring a mould inspection service to ensure nothing managed to grow.

What is a Thermal Imaging Home Inspection?

Erich Kelter - Saturday, June 11, 2011

Many homeowners have never heard of a thermal imaging home inspection. This technology is a breakthrough for residential inspections because it is non-invasive and requires no damage or alterations done to the home to work. It is completely safe and can quickly identify problem areas in any room inside your home. How does a thermal imaging home inspection work?

How does a thermal imaging home inspection work?

A thermal imaging home inspection uses infrared energy to reveal any problems in your residence. The system works by utilizing waves of energy that fall outside of the human eye’s visible spectrum. The inspector moves through the home with a thermal imaging device revealing the presence of hidden moisture, cold areas and hot areas. These could be caused by a leaky pipe, missing or a lack of insulation, electrical components that are overheating or areas where moisture is able to make its way into your home.

The Benefits of a Thermal Imaging Home Inspection

What makes a thermal imaging home inspection so much more appealing for some homeowners? The main draw is the un-intrusive nature of this type of inspection. The inspector uses a camera displaying the thermal imaging. Nothing needs to be inserted into walls or cut opened to view behind closed areas. The device handles the process without doing any harm to the home.

The thermal imaging home inspection provides a great deal of insight and detail that might have been missed. Homeowners can discover water leaks or moisture areas that they might never have noticed. These areas can weaken interior structures, walls and even cause mould growth that can turn into a serious problem. The thermal imaging home inspection can also take some of the guesswork out of determining exactly where a problem is originating. The color variations show the inspector where the problem is and can help direct the homeowner to its place of origins in their home. A thermal imagine home inspection is one of the most effective ways to find any hidden issues that may be lurking inside your home.

For more information contact Above Grade Home Inspections today.