Absence of Body Or Alien Invasion?

Absence of Body Or Alien Invasion?

big wasp nest on house

Scary? Yes!

Is it a Halloween prop or a science fiction horror film of alien invasion?

Is it arriving through a bend in space, And Materializing in front of your eyes?



But this is very much an earth bound phenomenon, even though winged beings with multi-faceted eyes and antennae on their heads does sound “out there”.

This is a wasp nest.  Yup!   A big one. And you can be sure it extends in up and under the shingle siding. You can see at least four shingle joints filled with the hive ‘paper’.

Even the window screening has been pulped and papered. Odds are there is a hole in the screen. This one is likely bigger than it looks, and it looks big.


Combating this ‘invasion’ successfully will require preparation and planning. 

If you’ve ever seen a wasp nest that has been disturbed you’ll have some idea how fast that “mouth” will spit out angry stinging wasps.

A big nest means there will be a lot of them and even though you know that, there’s always more than you think!

They have it good here and they don’t want to go.  So this is an invasion. They don’t want to share! But you need’em gone!

 Clocking this guy on the chin isn’t going to work.

1.     Smart homeowners will call in the pros. Easy, safe and practical.

2.     The adventuresome will buy the canned chemicals at the reno store. Buy more than two, follow all instructions, have a plan B, and be prepared to run like hell.

3.     The foolish will consider water blasting. This will certainly damage the nest considerably, you will get stung – repeatedly, and the wasps will still be there..

4.     The insane would consider fire. It could be successful. There are too many risks to list. The nest will be gone. But maybe the house too. And the wasps may not…

So be smart get a professional ‘exorcism’. Don’t let this demon haunt you. You can only apply so much calamine lotion. And it will still hurt.



What is better than presence of mind in a bad situation?…..Absence of body. 

Better to pay to be elsewhere.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Hello HAIL hole ? Heck no hail hole, that’s one of three……….

Hello HAIL hole ? Heck no hail hole, that’s one of three………. what?


Have a look at this hole, looks like an impact puncture from this angle. Hence the ‘hail’ in the title. But if hail did this ‘damage’ there would be lots of other impacts as well. Then I found another one (2nd photo) ;

Roof hole but not a hail hole


And this second one was similar but had a new wrinkle;

A new wrinkle

Now this one has a debris ‘bulb’ strainer, the type normally used to keep leaves and other junk out of the drains for flat roofs. This roof is definately not flat and needs no drains here, right?

You can also see what probably is flashing under the shingles at that tab slot below the ‘hole’. So it’s not likely to be impact damage, it was intentional.

So what is it?

Well , though I had a good idea about it,the mystery was solved when I got to see the attic side of things;

plumbing stack


Well this is what you see from the attic side, and it’s no impact hole, hail or other wise. Neither is it a roof drain, though it will drain a few square inches of the zone immediately above it (them, remember there are three.).

What they are is plumbing stacks (vents) for the 5 bathrooms/powder room and kitchen of this large home.

The good news is that there are no leaks in this very non-standard installation. (so far)

Look closely at the copper parts. You can see that there are 2 sections. The top one is sleeved into the lower one (very tightly) and it has a soldered seam facing us, the ‘up-hill’ side. That’s because it is not a pipe section.

It is a flashing boot that has been installed up side down.

Here is a similar product made in galvanized metal and available at Home Depot and other hardware suppliers;

This is a modern galvanized version of ther same thing.

This is meant to be installed uptight on the surface of the roof with the plumbing stack pipe coming out the opening and extending up to at least 18″ above the roof.

The edge where the pipe comes out can be sealed but a better treatment is a counter flashing sleeve extending down from the top of the pipe to a point a few inches below that joint.

The top of the sleeve has a smaller opening than the pipe diameter, which works fine for it’s function of letting in air, but it restricts rain and incidental debris entry.

The top of the flashing base gets tucked under the upper shingles and the lower end is meant to be on top, just like it was a shingle itself. That’s how it’s designed to work.


So these three holes on this roof are incorrectly installed amateur or non-professional work. The materials have been used inventively but incorrectly.

The only saving grace is that the work was done carefully enough so that there have been no leak problems to date.

But there have been problems. I asked the house keeper who was present at the time of the inspection if the drains made noise or here slow to drain. Yes to both symptoms was the answer.

I then asked if it was worse under heavy rains and through the winter snow season? She said Yes, how did you know that?

The answer is of course is that’s when those roof ‘holes’ are blocked with snow, leaves or taking in high volumes of rain water, so the ‘stacks’ can’t draw air to allow the drains to operate and run freely as they should.

The roof shingle surface is new and in good shape. But the flashings do not lap over the lower shingle courses so sometime in the next few years water will be getting under those shingles, risking damage to the roof below those ‘holes’  and of course eventually admitting water to the homes interior.


How many real estate professionals who are not inspectors would identify this condition and recognize the problem and realize that correction is required?  How many homeowners and buyers?

There is no book or course out there that will explain any mistakes, errors or ‘inventive’ details that may be found. You need experience working for you. You need analytical thinking applied to your inspection., not just a check list.

When you are looking at, or investing, in a home or property in the Montreal or the surrounding area you know who to call.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Do You Ever Have That Sinking Feeling?……………………….An OMG FIle.


Do You Ever Have That Sinking Feeling?……………………….An OMG FIle.

Do you ever feel like you are just floating along, not connected to any thing. Not grounded. Well you might not be if you are on a deck like the one shown below.

deck supports

You can see that the support beam that’s been added to this deck at mid-joist span to support and stiffen it. It is doing neither. It’s not even touching the joists or the footing post below itself.

It could be removed and it would have no effect on this deck. You’d never know it was gone.

Usually as support beam is larger than the joists it is supporting (or supposed to be supporting). This one IS a double thickness built up beam, but it’s 2/3s the size of the joists. The original joists and decking are pressure treated.

The footing of course is the floating type on the surface of the ground. That means it’s going wherever the frost takes it. So this deck will be having its ups and downs. A footing below frost depth is the only thing that is stable in this climate.

So you can see that nothing is touching here like it should be. You can also see there are no connectors. No nails, no screws, or no brackets.

Footings and foundations for buildings and structures, like decks, that are not anchored below the frost depth are described as floating footings.

In this case the structure might be more accurately described as flying rather than floating.


So when you buy a home you want to know you wont be sinking under repair bills. Get a full professional inspection.




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post