Roofing issues are items that come up regularly on home inspection reports.  There is all type of issues that can be found on a home’s roof and I’ll explain the different issues in this article.   I was hired for a home inspection in Schaumburg, Illinois where my client had issues about the roof prior to my start of the inspection.  I try to start a home inspection without any bias to give the seller and the buyer an equal and fair market place for a home inspection.  The roof that I was inspecting was estimated as a 10 years old 3 tab asphalt shingle that seemed to have at least 5 years left in service.  My concerns started when I noticed that there was another layer of roofing shingles under the layer I was inspecting.  I’m not a big fan of multiple layers of shingles on a roof.  The building code throughout most of Illinois is 2 layers of roofing shingles are allowed.  There are a few reasons why I don’t like multiple layers of roofing shingles on a roof.


  • The shear weight of  multiple layers of roofing shingles can cause stress on the framing of a roof and could cause truss’s or rafters to bow and or break. 
  • Multiple layers of roofing shingles can allow hail to cause damage to the shingles.  Hail will hit the shingle with force and the second layer of shingles will allow for a cushion which will cause a hail pot mark on the shingle.  You are less likely to see this hail damage on a roof with single layer of shingles.
  • Adding additional layer of shingles does not allow you to change the flashing, ice shield, felt paper and so on.  These systems do need to be updated.  I’ve inspected homes that had 9 layers of shingles and when removed found that the roof sheathing was totally rotted out from water that was trapped in between the multiple layers.  The Schaumburg home inspection had 2 layers and the 1st layer was installed 39 years ago.  
  • When you have multiple layers of roofing shingles the roof can hold heat and prematurely age.  Removing the 1st layer of shingles generally only costs $500.00 – $1200.00 depending on the size and type of roof you have on your home.
  • If you have a leak in your roof finding the entry point is quite a bit harder when multiple layers of roofing shingles are used.  I found water staining in the attic of the Schaumburg home inspection that I believed came from the flashing on the chimney.  I can not be sure because the chimney flashing went down to the 1st layer of shingles and then was tarred over.  This is a recipe for water intrusion and then mold issues.

As you probably could guess my client from the Schaumburg home inspection was concerned on the replacement costs for a new roof   on his soon to be new home.  I estimated the replacement cost for this home to be $7000.00.  This replacement would be a total tear off and replacement with architectural shingles with a 35 year rating.

As you see there are a lot of questions to ask when looking at a roof.  If you have questions about roofs please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke


If you are shopping for homes or you are extremely happy with your home that you live in now then this article is for you.  I just completed a home inspection in Lake Zurich, Illinois and had multiple questions from a young newly wed couple who were buying their first home and were very nervous about every aspect of a home purchase.  The Lake Zurich home I was inspecting was a 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch home.  Generally, a home inspection of this caliber would only take 2-3 hours.  The home inspection ended up taking 4.5 hours to inspect due to the many questions my new home buyers had prepared and asked me.  You see, if I don’t help these people and give them the correct answer then the chances are high that they might never get the right answer.  The question that stuck with me wereabout  the electrical issues.   My clients from the Lake Zurich home inspection were both afraid of electric issues that arose from the home inspection.  They wanted to have gfci type outlets throughout the home.  I explained that it could be done, but I most definitely would not put one behind the refrigerator.  I explained where these outlets were found and why they were used.

  • Bathrooms are a great place to have gfci type electric outlets.
  • Kitchens should have gfci type electric outlets in every outlet except for the outlet behind the refrigerator.
  • Crawl spaces and unfinished basements are a must for gfci type electric outlets.
  • Garages need gfci type electrical outlets to protect possible water to electric connection.
  • Laundry rooms must have gfci type electric outlets
  • Exterior outlets of a home should all be gfci protected outlets.

All of these areas are areas that water and electric may meet.  The gfci type electrical outlet is installed to prevent a surge in electric and if an occupant has direct connection to the electric from the outlet they will not be harmed.

The Lake Zurich home inspectioncame up with many issues.  The reason why  is because it was a foreclosure property that happened to be abandoned by the occupants a year ago.  Foreclosure home inspections are known to be full of potential issues that my clients will need repair or replacement cost prices so that they can decide if the repairs will be to much for them to handle.  One of the issues was the fact that the homes electrical breaker box was undersized and had 6 double taps that would mean the breaker box would have to be updated along with the installation of gfci type electrical outlets in all the areas that require these type of outlets.

As you see, there are many areas for gfci type electrical outlets and why they are needed.  If you have further questions about electrical issues  then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke


Every home has them or should have them.  Cabinets are a must in any kitchen and can be seen in every style.  The condition of the cabinets is the question that I happen to deal with on every home inspection.  The Batavia home inspection was no different.  You see, the Batavia home boasted cabinets that I would qualify as fine furniture.  The cabinets were made of cherry wood that happened to be solid wood.  Most cabinets are made of veneers.  That basically means that there are thin layers of wood glued over either press board or plywood.  Most cabinets are made like this even the high quality one.  to  find solid cabinets of any type of wood is unheard of unless you are planning on paying $30,000.00 for cabinets for your kitchen.

The cabinets looked pretty good until I started to investigate further where I found that the drawers had been damaged and major repairs would have to be done on the cabinets in the kitchen of the Batavia home inspection.   My clients said they loved the granite in the kitchen but were extremely concerned that the cabinets would have to be replaced.   I explained that I have used a contractor that specialized in cabinet and furniture repair.  The company that I recommend for furniture repair is Same Day Furniture Repair owned by Jason Townsend.  I called Jason Townsend and asked him to come out to give my client some rates on the repairs on the kitchen cabinets.  Jason explained that there are a couple ways to repair cabinets and furniture.

  • Stripping all of the cabinets is the best way to have a great finish and you will not be able to tell that modification were made to the cabinets.  This is not a quick fix and not the cheapest but the best repair if you are planning on staying in the home for a while.
  • Repairing portions of the cabinets and drawers can be done on cabinets that are in need of repair but your budget is tight.  You still will have great cabinets.  Just not perfect.

My clients from the Batavia home inspection spent hours with Jason Townsend from Same Day Furniture Repair until they worked out a repair plan for their beautiful cabinets.  I explained to my clients that hiring a professional to repair these cabinets may cost a little more than they might have thought but replacing these cabinets would cost up to $30,000.00.

My clients finally closed on the Batavia home inspection and did hire Jason Townsend from Same Day Furniture Repair to repair the cabinets in the kitchen along with some beautiful heirloom pieces of furniture that they had.  As you can see, Pinnacle Property Inspection Services prides itself on recommending only the best contractor in the business.  They may not be the cheapest but you will always get your money’s worth.  That is the name of the game of life.

If you have questions about kitchen cabinets or any other subject then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

So you’re buying a home like my clients from the Wheeling home inspection who happened to to be first time home buyers.  Buying a home can be a scary task especially during your home inspection.  So many things can come up and because you might not know how important these items are it may scare you even more.

While I was performing the home inspection in Wheeling, Illinois I found cracks in the basement of the foundation that were active with present water penetration.  These cracks can come from a couple of issues that would be reasonable repair cost.

  • Poor grading around a home allows water to pool or settle around the foundation of the home and sink into the dirt around the foundation and footings.  When this happens the dirt under the footings will eventually erode and cause the weight from the foundation wall to settle and crack.
  • Poor gutter/ leader placement is another leading contributor to cracked foundation walls.  The leader that comes off the downspout of the gutter system should extend at least 6′ away from the property with a splash guard at the end.  The Wheeling home inspection was missing all the leaders around the home.
  • Sprinkler systems to close to the home will allow water to pool against the foundation walls and replicate the same issues as poor grading.
  • Poor compaction or pouring a foundation in the winter when the dirt is full of ice.  This is why I always suggest not pouring a foundation in the winter.
  • Trees planted to close to the home will cause the roots to try to enter the foundation or undermine the area below when the roots are searching for water.

As you can see there all type of ways that your foundation can develop cracks that may or may not cause structural issues in the future.  All the items above are considered primary issues that if not repaired will develop into secondary issues.  What is a secondary issue?

  • Cracks in a foundation are issues that develop from a primary issue.
  • Water penetration is a result of a primary issue that will possibly turn into possible mold issues in your basement. This could happen if the basement is finished and the area that has gotten wet is not cleaned within 24 hours.

Secondary issues will also have to be repaired after the primary issues are tended to.  My clients from the Wheeling home inspection noticed that the primary issues repair costs were reasonably cheap.  They also noticed that every issue that developed from the previous issues was more costly to repair.

If you remember, I explained that the home I was inspecting did have previous and ongoing water penetration and had a sour smell.  I suggested to my client to allow me to perform a mold inspection on the areas of concern.  The mold inspection I performed at the Wheeling home inspection was a limited inspection.  That basically means that I took a swab sample of the area that showed sign of water staining.  The area I performed the mold inspection was not considered harmful mold.

As you can see, there are so many issues that can develop due to a cracked foundation that can easily be prevented if you know what you are looking for.  If you have further questions about cracked foundation, then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

If you are in the home buying market at this time then I’m sure you have looked at homes that are in foreclosure.  That was the case for my home inspection in Zion, Illinois.  My client was buying the property at a reduced price and was planning using the property as an investment property.  Most of my readers already know that I specialize in foreclosure home inspections in the Chicago land area.  The reason why I work the foreclosure market so much is because I have a plumbing license.  Licensed plumbers are a commodity in Illinois.  To be a home inspector and a licensed plumber has provided me with a huge market to pick from.  If you are buying a foreclosure home like my client from the Zion home inspection then make sure you have the water turned on  so that the plumbing water supply system and the waste water supply system can be tested.  There are to many issues that can come up and cost you thousands in repairs that may stem from water damage from issues from broken piping or leaking plumbing fixtures.

  • Water mains can have broken pipes or issues with leaking valves that will need repairs.  If you cant shut off the water in the home then you will be making an emergency call to a plumber that may costs hundreds just for a service call.
  • Broken water piping is an issue that I find routinely in homes that have been winterized.  Even when water piping has been winterized there are areas that water can settle and possibly crack the water piping.  Water piping repairs can be expensive if walls have to be opened and then repaired after the piping repairs have been done.


  • Broken waste lines are common issues that also can cost hundreds if walls or ceiling have to be modified so repairs can be made.
  • Sump pumps and ejector pumps need water to test.  Sometimes there is no water in a sump pit and water is added to test the pumps abilities.  When the water is off during a foreclosure home inspection then the ability to test these pumps is reduced greatly.
  • Plumbing fixtures can leak after the water is turned on and all areas of the home should be monitored after the water is turned on.  Ice makers, toilets, tubs, sinks and so on must be tested to make sure the traps are working properly and more important are not broken.

I recently performed a home inspection in Zion, Illinois that was a foreclosed home that did not have the water on.  I had to make a special trip to the property for a second time to meet with the Zion village plumber to turn on the water.  Why?  I wanted to make sure my client did not have any unknown issues that might cost him hundreds or even worse … thousands!

If you are in the market for a home and you are contemplating buying a foreclosed home make sure you have a plumber on call to make sure that you are not getting into something more than you can handle.  If you have questions that I can help you with please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke