One Thing Leads To Another


I have the tendency to notice things about a house I am to inspect when I am driving up to it.  When pulling up to this seven year old house I noticed even before I got into the driveway that the front porch roof seems to incline toward the house.  Looking closer I determined that it did!

That isn't good.  One thing leads to another.

Then I noticed the staining on the brick.  You can see it running from the inside corner of the porch roof all the way to ground beside the garage door.

Beside the front door there was staining and rot in the molding.

Inside the house there was staining on the drywall over the transom window.

In the living room there was staining on the floor molding and some damage to the hardwood flooring under and to the left of the window nearest the front door.  And staining and cracking in the drywall.

In the garage, there was staining on the ceiling under that window and in the drywall on the upper left corner of the garage door.  And more cracking in the drywall there.

That isn't good.  One thing leads to another.

It had not rained in some time.  There was little moisture to detect, either with an IR camera or a moisture meter.  But there looked like there was stress over the garage door.  Was the front of the house resting on a steel beam for support or a built-up micro-laminate (wood) beam?  The brick would have its own angle-iron or steel beam support.  But sometimes the house itself is supported another way. 

The cracks in the drywall, in the living room above and in the garage below, indicated movement.  And that movement was right where moisture had been getting in from that front porch roof.  Not being invasive during a home inspection, I had little choice but to suggest that it be evaluated by a structural engineer.  My clients took my advice.

After all, by then I had convinced them that one thing leads to another.

An engineer came to the house.  They opened up the wood trim covering the support behind the brick work.

This is what that revealed.  The entire front of the house was resting on a triple micro-laminate beam.  While very strong when dry, this beam system had gotten so wet it had begun not only to rot but attract termites!

The engineer said that the house was essentially resting on the one remaining interior beam.  That is testimony in itself as to how strong those things are!  A later termite inspection revealed that the vertical support under those beams was similarly infested with termites!  Yikes!!

The engineer said it was only a short period of time before the house may have collapsed!  Maybe even before settlement.  What a DISASTER that would have been...

And why?  Because one thing leads to another!

Even the sellers were grateful for the home inspection.

Wouldn't you be?

My recommendation:  recognize that houses are intricate systems.  Things are interconnected.  One thing does lead to another.  If you pay attention to the little things, the big things will often take care of themselves.

And get a home inspection!

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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!