Horrors! Scenes from a Home Inspector’s No-No Book
As a home inspector, once you step foot inside a home to inspect it for a customer, there’s usually a surprise or two awaiting. Because when a homeowner faces an “issue,” they take it upon themselves to fix it. There are good fixes, workarounds and then jury rigged solutions that are just plain bad ideas for a number of reasons, but mostly because they are dangerous.
Click on the photos below to get a bigger glimpse of some of the most notoriously silly things ever attempted on homes that were in need of repair. In other words, here’s a round-up of what NOT to do.
Ice Dams – Remember ice dams? They were nasty last winter here in Minnesota (photo below).
Hack Ice Dam Removal – We’ve said many times that pressure washers should never be used to remove ice dams, because they tear up shingles (photo below).
Hockey Puck Fascia Repair – Hole in your fascia? No problem! Just use a bunch of caulk and a hockey puck to fix it (photo below).
Rotted Roof Decking – The roof decking was in horrible condition at this house, but that didn’t stop the roofers; they installed a new roof covering right over the top. That black stuff is the ice & water shield (photo below).
Bad Shingle Repair — No explanation needed (photo below).
Bad Chimney Crown — We could tell this chimney crown needed repair just by looking at it from the ground, but we had no idea it would be this bad. This chimney crown obviously needs to be completely replaced (photo below).
Chimney with Facade Falling Apart — Three sides of this chimney looked just fine from a distance (photo below).
One Angry Bird Away … — As I was typing up the inspection report for this house, my wife saw this photo on the computer screen and said, “Wow, that chimney looks like it’s about one angry bird away from collapse.” Good call (photo below).
Downspout Combustion Air Intake — That downspout connecting to the return air duct fed to the exterior of the home and was being used as the combustion air intake. It’s not conventional and it’s probably a little small, but hey, it works (photo below).
Central Air-ish -- This was someone’s attempt at cooling a room where the AC unit wasn’t installed (photo below).
Creative Heat Register — Interesting solution (photo below).
Heat Register in Cabinet — While most people would have had to decide between a heat register and a cabinet here, this homeowner decided to have their cake and eat it too (photo below).
Garbage Can Sump Basket — Sump baskets are reinforced on the sides to prevent them from collapsing. Plastic refuse containers are not (photo below).
Mouse in Panel — Any unused openings in electric panels are supposed to be covered over, not only to contain any potential fire or sparking that could occur inside the panel, but also to prevent unwanted visitors from coming in (photo below).
Covered Outlet – No explanation needed (photo below).
Missing Fuses — Apparently someone was tired of replacing those pesky fuses, so they replaced the fuses with a couple short lengths of copper tubing. Can you say fire hazard? (photo below).
Mirror Tile on Kitchen Floor - This might be the most interesting tiled floor we’ve come across (photo below).
Useless Shower Fan – Someone went to a lot of effort to install this bath fan above the shower, but without a duct… what’s the point? I can only scratch my head (photo below).
Water Behind Escutcheon – My personal favorite. I noticed water leaking out from behind the escutcheon, which is that decorative metal trim ring around the pipe sticking out of wall. I turned the water off, pulled the escutcheon away, got my camera ready, turned the water back on… click (photo below).
Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections, Minneapolis, Minn., is a second-generation ASHI Certified Inspector whose experience with home remodeling and construction began at age four when he helped his father steam wallpaper. He has worked for Structure Tech since 1997 and joined ASHI in 2004. Visit his blog at www.structuretech1.com/blog/.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.