Life Cycles: Our homes are part of the circle of life, therefore maintenance is key to longevity.
Our lives, life itself, is in many ways closely related to circles. We have a circle of friends. If you are frantic, you could be said to be running in circles. We are fond of saying, what goes around, comes around. A situation where the solutions lead one back to the original problem is said to be a vicious circle. The passing of one person and the birth of another is said to be the circle of life. The change of seasons. Around and around we go…
Our homes go through the same cycling. They are built, age and then go back to where they began. Homeowners by living in the house and through maintenance are prolonging the life of the structure. It is a constant battle that catches many new homeowner’s unaware. They do however get schooled quick.
The enemy of every house, the ultimate recycler, is water. Here in Connecticut water comes in many forms, rain, sleet, freezing rain, hail and snow. Sometimes all in a few hours. Snow and ice can be the hardest on a house. Even at this time of year I find snow blanketing some of a roof. Always on the shaded parts, the sunny side clear. The protected side melts slowly, reliant more on air temperature than the sun.
Pulling up to a house recently, I saw that the roof was still covered in a layer of snow. Most of the areas where I had come through on this morning were now mostly snow free. I was at the moment in the foot hills of Eastern Connecticut, between a ridge of mountains. Winter releases its grip a little slower up here.As I began walking the outside of the house, approaching the front entry on the white ranch house, a tan stain in the corner drew my attention. The stain began at the porch roof, running the entire corner, in some places reaching several feet down along the clapboards. The low pitched porch roof above was covered in snow now melting in the warming morning air. Setting my ladder against the house, the roof covering was peeking through the receding edge of pack, like a slow motion wave on a beach.
I was somewhat pleased to see it was rubber, newer EPDM. A good choice for the location. The problem I find with EPDM is that it is often installed incorrectly. The snow would prevent any assessment of the installation. The stain was fairly definitive, but I would need to gather a few more pieces of evidence to be certain.Testing the stain with a moisture meter found the wood wet to almost saturated. An active leak. The next step was to check inside. The interior wall showed no signs of water and tested dry. The corresponding space below in the crawl space finished the story.
The rim and box joists were water damaged, but not wet. Repairs had been made, new pressure treated wood was present. The stained wood was fairly solid, in fair condition. Obviously the leak in the corner has been a long and on going problem.
While repairs had been made, the cycle of water continues to work on the house. Water is a patient, tenacious adversary, working with all the time in the world.
By James Quarello, used by permission, visit his blog here : http://jrvhomeinspections.com/category/inspectors-blog/
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