This is a blog written by an experience realtor posting to her clientele. I couldn’t say any more that would add anything significant. Comment directly on Lenn Harley’s article.

Except to say call me for these services for here in the greater Montreal area.



An informative post by our own James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector, offers goodHome Inspectors advice for home owners everywhere.

This article points to:

1.  The necessity of regular inspections of our homes (even when it’s not for sale).

2.  The inevitable wear and tear of aging on our homes (not unlike ourselves).

3.  The cumulative damage done to our homes by weather and normal movement of the earth.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD A HOME INSPECTION??  When you purchased your present home?  Never?  You might be very surprised to find that, although you are a conscientious home owner and preform regular maintenance, a TRAINED EYE will find items of deferred maintenance that you probably never considered.

HOW MUCH DOES A WHOLE HOUSE INSPECTION COST?  Few home owners will pay to have a home inspection on a home they already own.  However, while homeowners may understand the importance of service contracts or at least regular inspections of visible systems, how many will have an inspection of their roof, inside and out??  How many home owners drain their water tank on a regular basis (you’d be surprised at the gunk that is sitting in the bottom of the tank).  How many have an inspection for termites or other wood destroying insects??  Most WHOLE HOUSE INSPECTIONS are performed only when a property is for sale and there is a buyer who wants to know the true condition of the property for which they are going to invest many thousands of dollars.

MAINTENANCE IS MORE THAN JUST FIXING WHAT YOU CAN SEE.  Most of us understand that a regular cleaning and inspection of the heating system is important to the life of your systems.   But how many of us can identify the defects in an exhisting roofing system as shown in Mr. Quarello’s excellent post?


STRUCTURE:  How many home owners understand the mechanics of construction and how natural movement may cause serious damage to the structure, foundation, roof, windows, etc., of your home?? 

EXTERIOR:  We may walk around the house but will we really know what we are seeing? 

INTERIOR:  Natural movement, water intrusion are matters that can cause cracking, separating, shifting in a home.  Is the insulation in your home adequate?  Or, are we just complaining about the utility costs?

MECHANICALS:  An inspection and maintenance on a heating or cooling system is far less expensive than replacement costs.

APPLIANCES:  When was the last time you vacuumed the dust out of the cooling area of the frig??  Can you determine the performance efficiency of your appliances?

PLUMBING:  Water, water, water is the most destructive force in any home.  Home inspectors can locate small problems before they turn into major problems.  (Shhhh, don’t say the word mold.)

ELECTRICAL:  How competent are we home owners to determine the efficiency AND SAFETY of electrical systems??

ADVICE TO HOME BUYERS:  Get a home inspection so you can discover the many items of deferred maintenance or simple wear and tear on the property you plan to buy and own for many years.

ADVICE TO HOME OWNERS:  Get a home inspection every 5 years or so to make sure there are no items of maintenance or wear and tear on the property that can usually only be found by an experienced home inspector.

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.  Representing home buyers in Maryland and Northern Virginia.



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Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

The Big O, a new EPDM roofing membrane

The Big O, a new EPDM roofing membrane

Big O

Here is a relatively new roofing product, especially when used for residential buildings. It will replace the older tar and gravel roofing systems for flat roofs.

EPDM ethylene propylene diene Monomer (M-class) rubber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPDM_rubber

In commercial applications large sheets of the EPDM, a rubber type material are laid over the roof surface. If more is needed, other sheet are laid adjacent to the first and overlap. The overlapping seams are glue/welded together to create a watertight membrane that covers the whole roof and extends up the sides of parapet walls to under the cap flashing. All passthroughs and openings are sealed in the same manner.

In some applications the membrane is weighted down rater than being mechanically attached. This allows for large widths to expand and contract with out detriment or leaks at attachment points.

Residential applications can be done differently as they usually are not as large. At regular intervals large disk like washers are screwed to the sheathing/framing below (often through new layers of rigid insulation). The disks are then covered with glued down patches of the same roofing material.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

LEEDS schmeeds, Who needs LEEDS !

LEEDS schmeeds, Who needs LEEDS !

Or Bullshit Baffles Brains:

I wrote this a s a comment to a blog posted today by Jay Markanich; I Have Never Seen This Before .

I agree with Jay. This is potentially a dangerous and unsafe panel installation. The post got lots of comments and then Jay told me (comment #18) that the supervisor/salesman there justified it by saying it was LEEDS certified.

As far as I’m concerned “LEEDS” is just being used as another jargon term that both impresses and confuses consumers at the same time. It has not yet developed into the standard that it might become someday.

It stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Standard”. That’s all. This is developed as a focus for architects and engineers to work toward energy efficiency and sustainable building practices and materials.

It’s not a building standard, but it will become a design standard. It’s to be an evolving reference. What is up to LEEDS rating this year will not be LEEDS rated next year.

Buildings are not LEEDS certified. The building design is LEEDS certified, dated for the completed set of drawings.

That’s nice but it isn’t everything. It is currently an incomplete developing standard for design. It’s a starting point and will take generations to become a high quality reference that it has the potential to be.

 But if contractors and developers keep using it as a ‘buzz word‘ then it won’t develop and it will become meaningless.

Drawings are not the building and certified drawings do not mean a certified building. Judicious supervision and frequent inspection will get you to a certified building status. (Building, fire and electrical construction and safety codes.)

Builders are expected to follow the plans, but the plans don’t tell them how to work. As usual they are expected to follow all the normal trade practices as well as all building, fire and electrical codes.

In the process they are must integrate safety into the work place and the construction. Common sense is to be applied.

It just hasn’t been here. (In the case depicted by Jay Markanich’s blog article today which shows a large electrical distribution panel backing directly onto a shower wallboard.)

Plans are always modified in detail through the construction process to accommodate practical limits in materials and space requirements. Sometimes the plans are redrawn and sometimes not. (The changes are covered by annotated addendums and sketches.)

I can give you 2 solutions that would solve the problem and not cost any more money, if they were done at the right point in the build.

Bullshit Baffles Brains.  That catchy little phrase has been around for a long time for good reason.  So if LEEDS certified is just going to be another buzzword, I say who needs it.




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post