A Tale Of Two Holes

A little history.  Not long ago, on a pre-drywall inspection, one thing I noticed outside was a kitchen vent placed right where a stairwell guardrail would need to abut the house.  Faux stone siding, the vent and the guardrail were all installed so that the result was clearly visible:  a 12" gap between the end of the rail and the house.  That hole was large enough for a small child to easily fit through and fall eight feet into the stairwell.  This is an incorrect installation, even if a buyer does not have small children.  My clients were very worried because their children are small.  And I pointed it out.  The builder agreed to move the vent.  And then, for the last two months, a large hole was left in the wall where the tubing used to be.  Also, the faux stones around the new vent location were removed and another large gap was left exposed behind it.

On the final walk through I was suspicious.  There were actually three locations in the finished basement I was suspicious about.  And under the still-existing vent holes my thermal infrared camera saw this:

The left image is at the ceiling just under those holes.

The right image is at the floor level.  The floor molding is visible and that dark spot is moisture around an outlet.  It registered over 30%.

Is this much moisture a shock (pun intended)?  Holes introduce holy water.

The builder agreed to remove the wet drywall and insulation and replace it all.  Actually this was the plan in all three wet locations!  But he said the plan included leaving the holes in the stone siding until spring!  I think my clients were not satisfied with that plan (I was adamant that things be sealed now) and this is the vent location a couple of days later.

Now, the rail extends all the way to the wall, as it should.

But my concern is the new vent location.  The cover was not removed to add new stone.  The hole behind it was filled with mortar and silicone caulk was used to seal around the edges.

Silicone does not stick long term to concrete, mortar and brick.

And who knows what gaps still exist behind that vent.

This may be a problem put off for another day.

My recommendation:  Demand that certain repairs be done immediately.  Even if something is only repaired temporarily when it is too cold to be done permanently is sometimes better than doing nothing at all.

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!