Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sellers' Pre-Listing Inspections

Eventually, your buyers are going to conduct an inspection. You may as well know what they are going to find by getting there first.  Having an inspection performed ahead of time helps in many other ways, such as:
  • It allows you to see your home through the eyes of a critical and neutral third party.
  • It alerts you to immediate safety issues before agents and visitors tour your home.
  • It may alert you to items of immediate concern, such as radon gas or active termite infestation.
  • It permits you to make repairs ahead of time so that ...
  • Defects won't become negotiating stumbling blocks later.
  • There is no delay in obtaining the Use and Occupancy Permit.
  • You have the time to get reasonably priced contractors or make the repairs yourself, if qualified.
  • It helps you to price your home realistically.
  • It may relieve prospects' concerns and suspicions.
  • It may encourage the buyer to waive his inspection contingency.
  • It reduces your liability by adding professional supporting documentation to your disclosure statement.
Never hire an inspector who is not a member of InterNACHI, which provides the most trusted and rigorous training for inspectors in the industry.
 
Copies of the inspection report, along with receipts for any repairs, should be made available to potential buyers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

REALTORS ARE SMILING AGAIN


In some ways, it looks like the time machine has sent us back to 2006. Home prices are rising by the double digits in some areas; home builders are scrounging for workers to replenish depleted inventory; and there are even some old-fashioned bidding wars again.

Home prices statewide have been rising 15 straight months. Last month, the median Florida home price rose to $160,000, up 15 percent from a year ago. The number of homes sold was up 9 percent, with nearly half of the closings paid in cash.

Among the big drivers of the buying spree are institutional investors eager to buy and rent out homes before prices escalate further.

Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, draws an anecdote close to home to illustrate how much the housing market is heating up.

One of his neighbors was solicited by a Realtor going door-to-door. They agreed to a listing.
"By the end of the week, it was sold," Brown said, "and it was never really on the market."

By Jeff Harrington
Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Threat of a Storm Surge should be Monitored as you track a Hurricane

What is a Hurricane Storm Surge?

Storm Surge is a phenomenon that occurs most often when a tropical cyclone, either a tropical storm or a hurricane pushes water onshore. The winds associated with these types of storms are remarkably fast and as they rush across the surface of the water they push the water forward causing it to rise above normal sea level. Also the center of these circular storms, the eye, is a low pressure area compared to the surrounding storm and this causes a second rise in sea lea called a pressure surge.

This creates a front of waves and water that rush towards the shore and can flood and destroy coastal areas. The extent to which your area is going to be in danger depends on the strength of the storm and the topography of the ocean floor around your coastline.

The damage that a hurricane can inflict comes not only from the ferociously high winds but also from flooding and waves caused by these storm surges. Much of the reason that Hurricane Katrina was a deadly and caused as much damage as it did was because of massive flooding. In some coastal cities nearly 80% of the metropolitan areas were completely flooded. In New Orleans waves 15 feet above normal rushed over seawalls to flood the city. In the deadliest and most costly hurricanes in United States history the storm surge associated with the storm is how most lives are lost and the most damage caused.

The threat of a storm surge should be monitored as you track a hurricane in your area. If you are in an area that is considered close to sea level you should monitor your evacuation status. If you are ordered to evacuate proceed immediately to your local hurricane shelter. The storm surge can be just as deadly as the high winds brought on by the hurricanes.

 By

Find out everything that you should know about hurricanes at [http://my-hurricane-guide.info]
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Stone
 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What do you get from a SitePro Inspection?



A great SitePro Inspection is made up of three components; a snapshot of the building materials and systems in your home, a list of 'deficiencies' from correct or safe building practices, and an education on your homes major systems. The list of 'deficiencies' is often the most concerning to home buyers after a SitePro Inspection as this is what may break a sale or could involve unexpected expenses during the purchase process. So what should home buyers do after they get the SitePro inspection report?

Get All The Information
Everything about a home can be fixed except for its location and no home is perfect under the lens of a SitePro Inspection . Most home 'deficiencies' are related to changes made by amateurs after the home was built, neglected maintenance items, or aging systems needing replacement soon.

Read the SitePro Inspection  report and all the written comments from your SitePro inspector to get the most information from the report. Your SitePro inspector and your SitePro Inspection  report should be able to tell you what your next step is for each deficiency and the degree of urgency a defect has. Some 'deficiencies' are inexpensive to repair but urgent to repair as they may present a life safety hazard (e.g. exposed live wires). Other 'deficiencies' are not immediate life safety hazards but may require budgeting for the repair such as replacing an old hot water tank that is still fully functional at the time of the inspection.

Home sellers are also a great source of information on the home. For example, if the SitePro Inspector notices signs of a past oil heating system, the home seller should be able to identify if an oil tank has been removed from the site. Home sellers also should keep copies of warranties and guarantees on work done on the home. If the SitePro Inspector  identifies an installation defect on a new furnace, this may be repairable under the original warranty.

Talk To Your Realtor
You should have an excellent working relationship with your Realtor if you are going to have a successful real estate transaction. Experienced Realtors have dealt with many of the common home deficiencies found in SitePro Inspections in the past and they can offer solutions to you like:
  • ·         Arrange for the seller/builder to fix a deficiency before possession changes
  • ·         Helping you find a contractor or handy person who can fix the deficiency
  • ·         Arrange for more time before removing purchase subjects to investigate the problem(s)
  • ·         Re-negotiating the purchase price of a home
  • ·         Negotiating a Hold-Back in case of premature system failure or future Strata assessments
  • ·         Help You Decide when to remove inspection subjects

Your Realtor can also help give you guidance if the home deficiencies are beyond normal and reasonable repair and perhaps you should consider walking away from the home and looking for another one. Ultimately this decision is up to the client but your Realtor can help you understand what your options are.

Who Should Fix the Deficiencies?
Many home sellers are quick to suggest they will fix a deficiency rather than take a hold-back,  lower the purchase price, or lose the sale. While this method may solve the problem, the buyer does not have any control over who is fixing the problem and the materials used. As many 'deficiencies' in a SitePro home inspection come from amateur work, the last thing you want is for another amateur to 'fix' the problem. It is also important that all work is performed by licensed trades people and that any permits that may be needed are in place.

On existing homes, SitePro Home Inspectors typically recommend that the home buyer has the correct people come in to fix any deficiencies after the home transaction is complete. This allows the future occupant of the home to know that the repairs are done right and will be safe and solid for years to come. If the home is newly built, the builder and their trades people should correct any deficiencies before the transaction is completed.

Professional SitePro Home Inspectors  operate under standards of ethics which prevent them from quoting on, performing any repair work, or collecting referral fees for recommending any contractors. This is to protect
SitePro home inspection clients who have a lot at stake based on the recommendations of a SitePro home inspection report. If your SitePro home inspector offers to do repairs or have a family member do repairs for a fee, you should throw away the entire inspection as suspect and bring in an independent professional SitePro home inspector for a new inspection.

Call in the Experts
All repairs should always be performed by licensed professionals. For minor fixes, many professionals will perform repairs based on an hourly labor rate plus repair material which they typically will have in their service vehicle. Don't be surprised if there is a minimum charge for showing up. Your Realtor or the Better Business Bureau can help you find a trusted professional if you don't have any personal connections.

If the repair job is beyond a normal service call, it may be necessary to get a few quotes from professionals in your area. Contractor rates can vary by as much as 300% and the quality of labor and materials can vary greatly.


Final Thoughts
As no home is perfect under the lens of a SitePro home inspection, clients will always have to make some decisions about 'deficiencies' found in a SitePro home inspection report and assume some of the risks and maintenance expenses with a home purchase. While in some extreme cases the deficiencies may be severe enough to walk away from a home purchase, most items are fixable for a very small percentage of the purchase price of the home or with just a little maintenance time from the new home buyer.


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"


Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and other authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail. SitePro LLC is neither liable for the proper nor complete transmission of the information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt.

SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that any attachment to this e-mail has been swept for viruses. However, we cannot accept liability for any damage sustained as a result of viruses and would advise that you carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. This e-mail is meant to communicate company related materials only. Opinions expressed by the author of this e-mail are solely his/her own. SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections will not be liable for opinions expressed in this e-mail.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Top Ten "Deficiencies' Noted in a Home Inspection



No home is perfect under the lens of a SitePro Home Inspector. There are however some common fixable items that creep up in many SitePro Home Inspections which home owners would be wise to correct before they put their home up for sale.

Here is a ‘Top 10' list of easily fixable deficiencies found by our SitePro inspectors: (in no particular order)

1.    Soil Level Too High at Foundation - Unless you live in a high-rise condo, nearly all our homes are made with wood products. When soil levels are against the house siding (or even close) rains and ground moisture will seep into the wood and create and environment for hidden rot. Ideally, property grading should allow 6-8" of visible concrete foundation between the siding and the ground.

2.       Vegetation Growing Against Structure - Vegetation and trees can cause considerable damage to homes by mechanical damage but also by preventing the structure from drying properly. Trimming back bushes and trees so they do not contact the home (or power lines) is an easy fix for home sellers.


3.       Garage Door Safety Features - Garage doors with mechanical openers typically have one or two safety features, an electronic 'eye' and an auto-reverse pressure sensor. SitePro Home Inspectors will check both these safety features for correct operation as they could save a life of an adult or child.

4.       Weather-stripping on Doors - Doors are the weakest point in the 'envelope' of our home and when poorly maintained can add a lot of costs in lost energy efficiency but can also allow in water and insects when poorly sealed.


5.    Gutters Not Correctly Discharging Water - Water from our roofs needs to be safely discharged so that it does not cause erosion on the property or find its way back into our homes. It is common for our SitePro home inspectors to find crushed, missing, or disconnected downspouts during a SitePro inspection.

6.       Leaky Drains Under Sinks - Water drain pipes are not under pressure and only leak when water is running through them. As they are not under pressure and most drain pipe materials fit snuggly together, leaks are often very small. Leaks however can cause considerable damage over time to cabinets, floors, and ceilings if not repaired quickly.


7.    Rot at Wood Trim - When moisture levels approach 15% in wood products and the temperature is above 5 Celsius, the conditions are present for rot. It is not uncommon for wood trim around windows, doors, and fascia boards to begin to rot in the elements and they need regular paint and maintenance.

8.    Missing Weatherproofing - The exterior cladding of our homes protects the structure from water damage. Any penetration in the siding like from windows, doors, hose faucets, or dryer vents needs to be well sealed with caulking to prevent water ingress.


9.    Broken Glass - Broken windows are always a potential safety hazard. Even if the window is still holding together with a crack, the crack creates a massive structural weakness that could fail suddenly in a temperature change, wind, or next time the kids bump into it. Replacing broken windows is an important safety precaution.

10.   Missing or Incorrect Handrails - Handrails on stairs are a critical life safety mechanism but these are surprisingly common to find missing in home inspections. SitePro Home inspectors will always call out missing handrails or guardrails as a major safety failure in the home
When buying or selling a home, a SitePro home inspector can help you potentially save thousands of dollars in unexpected costs. Always call a licensed; SitePro Inspector so you know your home will be safe and solid.

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"


Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and other authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail. SitePro LLC is neither liable for the proper nor complete transmission of the information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt.

SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that any attachment to this e-mail has been swept for viruses. However, we cannot accept liability for any damage sustained as a result of viruses and would advise that you carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. This e-mail is meant to communicate company related materials only. Opinions expressed by the author of this e-mail are solely his/her own. SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections will not be liable for opinions expressed in this e-mail.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Burglar Resistant Home

There are a number of measures that homeowners can take to ensure that their homes are not attractive to burglars. If clients are concerned about break-ins, inspectors can pass on to them basic strategies for burglar-proofing their homes.

Some interesting statistics concerning break-ins in the United States:

  • ·         International Association Certified Home Inspectors estimates that theft makes up more than three-quarters of all reported crime. 
  • ·         In 2012, law enforcement agencies reported more than 6 million burglary offenses.
  • ·         According to a survey, burglars enter homes through the following locations: 
Ø  81 percent enter through the first floor;
Ø  34 percent of burglars enter through the front door;
Ø  23 percent enter through a first-floor window;
Ø  22 percent enter through the back door
Ø  9 percent enter through the garage;
Ø  4 percent enter through the basement;
Ø  4 percent enter through an unlocked entrance;
Ø  2 percent enter through a storage area; and 
Ø  2 percent enter anywhere on the second floor.

Exterior Doors:
·         Doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood construction. Hollow-core wood doors are more easily broken than heavy, solid-core doors.
·         Doors should be free of signs of rot, cracks and warping.
·         Doors should be protected by quality deadbolt locks. Chain locks are not adequate substitutes for deadbolt locks, although chain locks may be used as additional protection.
·         If a mail slot is present, it should be equipped with a cage or box. Mail slots that are not equipped with cages or boxes have been used by burglars to enter homes.  Burglars can insert a contraption made of wire and cord into the mail slot and use it to open the lock from the inside, if no box or cage is present.
·         If a door is equipped with glass panes, they should be installed far from the lock. Otherwise, burglars can smash the glass and reach through the door to unlock the door.
·         Spare keys should not be hidden in obvious locations. Burglars are very good at finding keys that homeowners believe are cleverly hidden. The best place for a spare key is in the house of a trusted neighbor. If keys must be hidden near the door, they should not be placed in obvious locations, such as under a doormat, rock or planter. 
·          
·         Exterior Doors:
o    Doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood construction. Hollow-core wood doors are more easily broken than heavy, solid-core doors.
o    Doors should be free of signs of rot, cracks and warping.
o    Doors should be protected by quality deadbolt locks. Chain locks are not adequate substitutes for deadbolt locks, although chain locks may be used as additional protection.
o    If a mail slot is present, it should be equipped with a cage or box. Mail slots that are not equipped with cages or boxes have been used by burglars to enter homes.  Burglars can insert a contraption made of wire and cord into the mail slot and use it to open the lock from the inside, if no box or cage is present.
Keys should not be placed in obvious locations, such as under a doormat, rock or planter.         
A peephole can be installed in doors so homeowners can see who is on their doorstep before they open the door.
·          
Clients should consider installing bump-resistant locks on their doors. “Bumping” is a technique developed recently that can open almost any standard lock with less effort than is required by lock-picking. This technique uses “bump keys,” which are normal keys with slight modifications. Lock companies such as Schlage Primus and Medeco manufacture a number of locks that offer some bump-resistance.

Pet Doors:
·         Pet doors can be used by burglars to enter homes. Some burglars have reached through pet doors in order to unlock the door. It is advisable to not have a pet door, but if one is necessary, it should be as small as possible and installed far from the lock.
·         A crafty burglar may convince or coerce a small child to crawl through a pet door and unlock the door. Also, some burglars are children.
·         Electronic pet doors are available that open only when the pet, equipped with a signaling device in their collar, approaches the door. These doors are designed to keep stray animals out of the home, and may provide protection against burglars, as well.

Sliding Glass Doors:
·         They should be equipped with locks on their tops and bottoms.
·         They should not be able to be lifted from their frames.
·         A cut-off broom handle, or a similar device, can be laid into the door track to prevent it from being opened.

Illumination:
·         Lights should be installed on the exterior of all four sides of the house. Burglars prefer darkness so they cannot be seen by neighbors or passersby.
·         When building occupants are not home, a few lights should be left on.
·         It is helpful to install exterior lights that are activated by motion sensors. Burglars that are suddenly illuminated may flee.

Windows:
·         All windows should be composed of strong glass, such as laminated glass, and be in good operating order.
·         They can be installed with bars, grilles, grates or heavy-duty wire screening. Barred windows must be equipped with a quick-release mechanism so occupants can quickly escape during a fire.
·         Windows should not be hidden by landscaping or structures. If landscaping or structures cannot be moved, lighting can be installed around the windows.

Landscape and Yard:
·         Shrubs and trees should not obscure the view of entrances. Shielded entrances can provide cover for burglars while they attempt to enter the residence.
·         Fences are helpful burglar deterrents, although they should not be difficult to see through.

While the house is vacant:
·         A loud radio can be used to make burglars think someone is home. Timers can be used to activate radios and lights to make the home seem occupied.
·         A car should always be parked in the driveway. A neighbor’s car can be parked there so that it appears as if someone is home.
·         The lawn should be cut regularly. Uncut grass is a clue that no one is home.

Other tips:
·         Dogs are excellent burglar deterrents. For clients who cannot own dogs, they can place “beware of dog” signs around the yard for nearly the same effect.
·         If no security system is installed, the client can post security alarm stickers around the yard.
In summary, there are a number of tactics that inspectors can pass on to their clients that will help safeguard their homes from break-ins. There is no substitute for a good alarm system. A quality, monitored alarm system can also contact help in the event of a fire, break-in, flood, or carbon monoxide leak even if you are not at home. For a free no obligation quote for an alarm system and monitoring, please contact SitePro Security at (888) 789-9046 who’s partnered with ADT. 


                                                                                                                                                                     
ADT makes its BEST offer to families who have used a SitePro professional property inspector. Here are two great options:
  1. You can activate ADT security monitoring using any other alarm system equipment with NO money out of your pocket.
  2. You can also utilize the ADT Safewatch Quick Connect program with ADT. This includes wireless accessories, two way voice communication with ADT Monitoring Centers during an alarm, and a wireless keychain remote.
Both choices require NO MONEY out of pocket (no rebates to deal with). Here at SitePro Residential and Commercial Inspections we constantly strive to offer extra value. Contact a SitePro Inspector to help with your security.
Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"


Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and other authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail. SitePro LLC is neither liable for the proper nor complete transmission of the information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt.

SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that any attachment to this e-mail has been swept for viruses. However, we cannot accept liability for any damage sustained as a result of viruses and would advise that you carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. This e-mail is meant to communicate company related materials only. Opinions expressed by the author of this e-mail are solely his/her own. SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections will not be liable for opinions expressed in this e-mail.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Are You Protected From Fire?



First, a moment of truth. Until recently, I was never very good at changing the batteries in my smoke detector. It is not like we use them everyday and they only go off for false alarms like when I burn toast ... right? 

Fire safety month is soon, which makes this a good time to talk about three safety features we need in our homes:

  • Smoke Detectors - The job of a smoke detector is to alert you to the early stages of a fire. Smoke detectors should be located around, or in, all bedrooms and on each level of the home. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years as they do wear out over time and if your smoke detector uses disposable batteries, these need to be changed annually.

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector - CO detectors perform a very different life saving function than smoke detectors. They are looking for Carbon Monoxide which is an invisible and odorless gas that can be life threatening when it accumulates in our homes and in our bodies. CO is generated in gas burning appliances (like furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces) but can also creep into our homes from car exhaust. CO detectors should be located near bedrooms, be replaced every 7 years, and need disposable batteries changed annually.

  • Fire Safety Plan - The best tool we have in an emergency is our brains. All families need to have an emergency plan and even young children can be taught some basics about fire safety. Your plan should include what to do when you hear an alarm, where emergency exits are, and where the family will meet outside to do a head count. The local fire department always has great information to help you make a great fire safety plan.

Take a moment today to look for the safety detectors in your home and be ready to add more, replace old units, change disposable batteries, and test each alarm. Smoke detectors and CO detectors are not expensive and this small cost will go a long way to keeping your home safe and solid.

If you have any questions about the installation of your alarms, contact a SitePro Home Inspector. The largest inspection company in the Florida Panhandle.

SitePro, LLC
Van Hibberts




Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.
DISCLAIMER: This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. Email transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free, as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender, therefore, does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message which arise as a result of email transmission. If verification is required, please request a hard-copy version

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Face Sealed Exteriors




If you live in a rainy climate, like Florida has been in for the past few months, the exterior walls of your home take a real soaking during wind driven rains. This is particularly troublesome the taller your walls are which is one reason condominiums have had so much difficulty with ‘leaky condo’ issues. Exterior sidings are designed to resist water ingress by either being ‘face sealed’ or ‘rain screened’. Both techniques are effective however the physics involved and maintenance needs are very different.

What is a Face Sealed System?
Face sealed exterior systems are easiest to define in that the siding, or face, of the building is water tight from top to bottom. Face sealed wall systems tend to have a very universal appearance as there should be no joints in material for water to get into. Any joints that may exist will be caulked and sealed. Water that gets behind a face sealed system can cause hidden and expensive damage as there is no path for water to exit and no air circulation to encourage drying. Failures in face sealed systems are particularly troublesome for wood framed buildings as rot and mold thrive in wet environments and they will deteriorate the structure of the building.

Windows, doors, and other protrusions on the exterior of face sealed systems present a challenge as they create weak points in the water proof seal of the building envelope. Multi-story condominiums in particular have had difficulties due to high walls with many windows, doors, vent holes, balconies, and other lifestyle related protrusions. Face sealed buildings require diligent maintenance of caulking, painting, and weather proofing to maintain a water tight seal and are a major part of the ‘leaky condo’ troubles in recent years.

Common exterior materials in a face sealed system include:
  • ·         Traditional Stucco
  • ·         Exterior Insulated Finish System (EIFS)
  • ·         Concrete or Masonry ‘Mass’ Walls
What is a Rain Screened System?
Rain screen systems are designed with consideration for some penetration of wind driven rains. Rain screen systems employ three layers of protection:
  • 1.       A durable exterior surface for primary water control and resistance to mechanical damage
  • 2.       An air gap between the primary exterior and the house structure
  • 3.       A water resistant membrane installed against the home sheeting. 

The real science of how a rain screen works lies in the air gap between the house and the siding. When wind drives rain against a building, the lower pressure in the building will tend to ‘suck’ water in. The air gap in a rain screen system provides a neutral pressure gap between the low air pressure in the home and the high air pressure pushing on the exterior. Water that wind drives through the primary exterior loses momentum when it hits the air gap, and falls inside the gap to where it can safely exit the building. The gap also allows for air circulation to encourage drying of all building materials.

On taller rain screened buildings, a horizontal seam of ‘Z’ flashing is often used to separate each story of exterior into separate water control zones. This reduces the total water flowing to the bottom of the building and limits repair expenses if one section of the system fails.

Common exterior materials in a rain screened system include:
  • ·         Fiber Cement Boards (Hardieboard)
  • ·         Veneer Brick or Masonry
  • ·         Some installations of EIFS and Stucco
Vented Cladding
While not officially a ‘rain screened’ system, some siding products like lapped wood, shingles, or vinyl siding enjoy some of the benefits of rain screening. These products have an inherent air gap behind the face of the material that is ventilated and allows for drainage. These attributes allow them to perform similar to a rain screen system and are considered acceptable alternatives in most rain climates to a comprehensive rain screen.

How Can I Spot if a Building is Rain Screened?
Identifying a rain screened building is about identifying building materials and the install methods. Rain screen systems require an air gap behind the material with drainage and pressure equalization holes.
  • ·         In a brick veneer rain screen, there are drainage holes along the bottom course of bricks (look for missing grout between bricks) and there should be similar holes at the top of the system under a roof overhang or flashing. 
  • ·         Hardieboard (fiber cement boards) are nailed horizontally onto vertical wood strips that define the air gap. Flashing at the bottom and top of the course of material allows for drainage and air flow.
  • ·         Stucco or EIFS rain screened systems have flashing at the top and bottom creating ventilation for the air gap beneath. Do not confuse horizontal design treatments in a face sealed system for a properly flashed air gap.
  • ·         On buildings over two stories, look for uniform horizontal lines around the building separating each story of the building exterior into separate rain screened zones. Again, don’t confuse horizontal design elements (decoration) in a face sealed system with a proper horizontal rain screen flashing detail.

What Does a SitePro Home Inspector Look for with Rain Screens?
Rain screens indicate advanced thought by the builder into protecting the building from future water damage. SitePro Home Inspectors will identify if a home exterior is face sealed or rain screened in their report. On buildings over two stories, they should be providing caution to buyers of face sealed homes that the building will require diligent maintenance to help prevent water ingress.

SitePro Home inspectors will confirm the correct use of materials, comment on condition of maintenance, and should highlight to home buyers or owners about any deficiencies or upcoming repairs that may be needed to the exterior. Unfortunately, damage from water ingress cannot solely be confirmed through visual observation and often damage is not visible at all which is a limitation for all SitePro home inspectors and a risk for home buyers. Rain screened systems have lower risks of water ingress which is why home buyers should be encouraged to look at rain screened buildings in wet climates.

Final Thoughts
Even with all the best investigation practices by home buyers and SitePro home inspectors, buying a home always comes with risks about future maintenance and unexpected damages. As such, it is important to reduce your risk of unexpected expenses by choosing well built and maintained homes.
  • ·         For Condo buyers - If you are looking at a building over 2 stories in a wet climate, look for a rain screened building. Larger building faces have higher risks of water ingress and damages can be very expensive to repair.
  • ·         For typical one or two story house buyers - Rain screens are an excellent recommendation however vented cladding is also a good material. Risks to face sealed issues are lower in two story houses than for taller condos and face sealed systems like traditional stucco have had a good track record over time. With regular homeowner maintenance and good roof overhangs, house buyers can mitigate some risks of damages.
Buying a home is a complex process with high risks. A home inspection by a professional home inspector should always be part of your risk reduction strategy so you can move into your new dream home knowing it will be safe and solid. Contact SitePro


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"


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