I’m sure you have seen a home that had a front stoop or stairs that have fallen or were shifted.  This also happens to sidewalks that are along side of a home.  When doing a home inspection settling stairs and sidewalks issues comes up more than I would like to see.

At my home inspection in Elmwood Park, Illinois the settling stairs had to be the first thing I noticed when approaching the home.  The side walks had the same pitch towards the home that is generally a bad thing.  Why?  The grading of a home is what basically pushes water away from the foundation.  If the grading (dirt), sidewalks, patios, driveways, stairs and porches are tilted or pitched towards the home like the Elmwood Park home inspection there can be problems with not only the tilted or settling stairs but with foundation cracks, water in the basement and so much more.

If you have problems with water entering you home from settling stairs, tilted patios and so on you will have possible repair cost in you basement that could be in the thousands.  I would suggest you repair the settling stair by one of two ways.

  • Mud jacking is a way to lift a certain area of the settling stairs to get them to go in a direction that will eliminate poor drainage towards the foundation.  With this repair you will still have to make corrections to the grading and drainage around the stairs to prevent further settling.  Generally this repair method is 1/3 of the price of total removal and reinstallallation.
  • Total demolition and re installation is the more expensive correction of  settling stairs.  The benefits of this repair is that you will have a new set of concrete stairs and you will know that  the grading a sub structure is repaired properly.  The grading and drainage around you settling stairs will still need to be corrected to prevent future issues with settling.

My clients from the Elmwood Park home inspection were leaning to repair the settling stairs with the mud jacking procedure. The cost to mud jack their stairs was $700.00 versus $2000.00 for new concrete stairs.

As you can see my clients from the  Elmwood Park home inspection found out that poor grading and poor drainage  can produce costly repairs around your home.   If you have further questions about this subject please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

Doing a home inspection on a roof in the Chicago land area can be hard to say the least.  I advise to have your roof inspected on every home inspection  even if your inspection is in the winter.  Why?  So many issues can start because of roof issues.  That was definitely the case at the Prairie View home inspection.

The Prairie View home I was inspecting looked very nice from a common view.  When I started probing around the property I noticed that some of the work was done below standards.  The roof was my biggest concern because it was covered with snow and I noticed from the ground that there were areas that where missing shingles.  Because of the pitch and snow covering of 60% of the roof I  had to reposition the ladder in various areas to inspect the roof as a whole.  There were major components that were missing and were causing water infiltration to the building components of the home.

  • Ice Shield  was missing through out the roof of the home.  The ice shield is a 36″ long material that is rolled out from the edge of the roof up toward the ridge of the roof.  The ice shield is installed to protect the roof sheeting from possible ice damning water from entering the building components of the home.
  • Apron flashing was missing and protects the fascia board from wood rot and water penetration.  The apron flashing generally is installed under the shingles and into the gutter of the roof.
  • Roof Drainage system was not installed.  You might know this as the gutters, downspouts,  and leaders.  When these components are missing you open your home up to possible foundation issues, water issues in the basement and so much more.
  • Chimney flashing was  the wrong type.  I suggest using galvanize metal, copper or aluminum.  The Prairie View home inspection had a rolled roofing material as the flashing for the chimney.   There was areas that were open to the environment and were definitely causing water damage to the interior walls of the home.  How was this found?  We use Fluke thermal imagers and Tramex moisture meters on the exterior walls and all ceilings of the Prairie View home inspection.

As you now can see that the cards are stacked up against a home buyer that does not hire a diligent home inspector that does not try to the utmost to protect you from possible hidden issues.  My client from the Prairie View home inspection said he hired The Thermal Home Inspector because of the great reviews he saw on line and the great videos we have on our website.

If you are still unsure of what to look for on a roof when shopping for your home then contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or call me at 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

One question we get at every home inspection is “where do I find the issues  on the report”.  My clients sometimes bring a note pad to take down notes.  I tell them to put the pad a pen away unless they are drawing my picture.  In that case draw away.  We give are clients a detailed home inspection report with pictures, cost to cure pricing, marginal issues and defective issues all documented in the front of the report to help you find it fast. 

Recently I was hired for a home inspection in Vernon Hills, Illinois.  The property was a beautiful 4 square home on a huge lot.  As you know its winter here in the Chicago land area and my home inspections have to be a little more in detail because of the snow.  In the case of the Vernon Hills home inspection I found little things that could be repaired by my client.

Upon entering the interior of the Vernon Hills home inspection I realized that the home was staged or that the existing home owner was very clean.  I soon found out it was a little of both.  Generally when I leave the second floor of the home I have at least 25 possible issues that will need to be mentioned on my home inspection report.  I had 2 issues from the second floor.  One of those items being a window with moisture in between the glass otherwise called a broken window seal.  This would be a window replacement that could cost up to $500.00.

My clients from the Vernon Hills home inspection came after I was completed with the inspection.  What I do in their case is do a complete walk through the property to explain all the potential issues and the cost te rectify them.  My clients did bring a note pad and no they did not want to draw my picture so they put the pad away.  I explained that my home inspection reports are emailed to them with pictures, cost to repair issues, summary of all items in need of service and sent the same day.  I explained that they could use the report as a check list to make sure that the repairs were done to their satisfaction.  If you don’t know what a proper repair looks like then I suggested to book an appointment with me to come back out to their new home prior to the closing.

A home inspection should be an education on your new home.  When you went to school you received a school book?  A Pinnacle home inspection also comes with a school book.  Your home manual!

If you have further questions about home inspection services please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

An attic inspection is a major part of a home inspection.  Why?  That portion of the home usually tells if there will be structural issues, water issues, insulation issues and so much more.  There can be expensive repairs in the attic.  When a roof is not able to be inspected due to ice or large amounts of snow I inspect the openings in the roof a little more diligent that normal to make sure that there are no possible entry points for water to the building components.

I recently was hired for a home inspection in Park Ridge, Illinois for a young family that was excited about their new purchase but concerned about possible issues that may arise and cost them money.  Generally I start all home inspections  in the attic when I enter the home.  This was exactly where I started at  the Park Ridge home inspection where I immediately found that there was an active water intrusion into the attic from the flashing around the plumbing vent stack.  The water did stain the ceiling below in the bathroom but there was no mold or any issues that would concern me to tell my clients to keep looking.  There was also another past leak from a humidifier.  In some of the larger homes, there may be a furnace in the attic.  The Park Ridge home inspection did have a furnace in the attic.  What the furnace did not have was a overflow pan limit switch that would stop the furnace or air conditioner if there was a blocked drain.  This limit switch stops damage that may occur from water that would come from condensate or a humidifier.

Back to the  leaking flashing from the plumbing vent stack.   Since the structure of the deal for the Park Ridge home would not allow for payment for issues found during a home inspection I suggested to my clients to staple a bag to the rafters, cut an opening in the base of the bag and insert that bag into a 5 gallon bucket to prevent further damage to the home.  I suggested that a roofing contractor be hired to replace the plumbing vent flashing as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the home.

Little issues like this can be seen as a big issue.  There are no problems in a home.  Just questions waiting for answers.  If you are a person will questions and tired of waiting for an answer please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

If you are looking at homes in this market you might find garage floors that are a perfectly finished concrete floors or you might find concrete slabs that are all cracked up.  If your floor in the garage is cracked up that is probably due to the fact that there are no leaders on the downspouts.  This article is about epoxy floor coatings in garages so I wont go to far off the subject.

Our home inspection on the Palatine home started on the exterior of the home then into the garage of their home.  My clients from the Palatine home inspection were elated about the cleanliness of the garage of the home.  The garage floor had an epoxy floor covering installed over the slab.  This epoxy floor covering can be a good thing if installed properly.  It can be a nuisance if not.  it all depends on the installation.

There are procedures on the installation of an epoxy floor covering in a garage that should be followed if you want to have this floor looking great for many years.

  • Empty garage completely before starting the procedures to installation of your epoxy floor covering in your garage.
  • Sweep the floor so that there is no dirt on the floor at all.  If there are areas that have paint chips are pieces of debris stuck to the floor these areas must be scraped.
  • Repair of cracks must be done after the floor is swept and suggest waiting 24 hours prior to the next step.
  • Etching solution installed over the whole garage floor to prepare the floor to accept and bond to the epoxy floor covering solution.  This is probably the most important step in the installation of a epoxy floor covering.
  • Rinse floor from all the etching material.
  • Drying of the floor for 24 hours but 48 hours would allow for the floor to be perfectly dry.
  • Mixing of the epoxy solution and the installation of the colored particles that will complement and add traction in your garage.
  • Installation of the finish coat should be your final step.  Suggest an added grit for traction on the epoxy flooring material.
  • Drying of the floorshould be for at least 48 hours to assure proper drying time.

These are the procedures to have a beautiful epoxy floor covering in your garage.  The Palatine home inspection did have a floor that seemed to have no visible blemishes that would develop into paint chipping and deterioration to the flooring material.  The repair costs for concrete epoxy floor covering can be in the thousands because the existing epoxy floor covering would have to be taken off and reinstalled.

If you see any area that has chipping or cracking this is a floor that will require repairs or replacement.  If you have further questions about this subject you can contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke