Here is the transcript from the show:
[0:31] Paul: Good morning and welcome. It is time for the Redefined Realty Show, Saturdays at 9:00 on WISN. Your host today is Bob Tarantino. I’m Paul Kronforst, we’ve got a full studio of guests and we’re going to open up the phone lines for your telephone calls. Good job filling in, Jeff Miller. I didn’t tell him about that.
Bob: What happened to Spencer today?
Paul: He’s at some wedding or something. I don’t think he’s getting married, not that I have heard, he just attending a wedding. We have good old Jeff Miller who’s been with the station probably over the years probably as long as I have and he’s going to be a part of our football picks at the end of the hour because he’s got his own show on WOKY. It’s his own fantasy show on Sundays. We’ll talk about that with him so he knows his sports, Bob.
Bob: That’s perfect. Maybe he can help my team a little bit.
Paul: Your fantasy team?
Bob: Yeah. It’s just going downhill fast.
Paul: I’m in that fantasy league with you this year. I was smart enough to appoint a GM.
Bob: You’ve got the best one in Spencer.
Paul: Spencer, he’s my GM, yeah. We’ll talk sports at the end of the hour but for now let’s talk about this first part of the program. We’d like to welcome back in studio is Scott Lamar. We call him Inspector Gadget. Scott is with Honest Home Inspections and welcome back, Scott.
Scott: Thanks, Paul. It’s always good to be here.
Paul: It’s good to see you. You’ve got many websites and areas with the mold inspection and radon. We’ll talk about all of that in just a bit. From Accurate Basement Repair, welcome back to Chris Mancuso.
[2:06] Chris: Good morning everybody and good morning to all the radio listeners for the exciting rain that we’ve been having lately.
Paul: Basements and mold inspectors love rain.
Bob: It has been really really wet.
Chris: It has been really wet for at least a few weeks here.
Paul: At least the whole summer. It kind of seemed like it just never really dried out.
Paul: It was good for the lawns.
Chris: It was good for basement repair companies.
Paul: It was good for your company for sure. There are things we can do. In my remodeling show we talked about the importance of downspouts and gutters, the obvious common sense things, Chris. If they’ve been bad for years and the water has been pouring against the foundation for four, five, six or 10 years, you’ve got problems.
Chris: Yeah, it really creates some problems, even some that you can’t take care of anymore just by extending them because sometimes if water has found its path it just wants to keep going.
Paul: The path of least resistance.
Chris: I’m seeing now too all those leaves coming off the trees right into the rain gutters clogging everything up. If you take a walk around outside you can see the water pouring over the rain gutter instead of coming down . . .
Paul: So they’re not doing their job at all, right?
Chris: Yeah. Where does that water go? Right against the foundation.
Bob: You know you’ve got to get somebody out there. I’m not a ladder guy anymore. I’ve learned over the years to hire somebody when I need to go up on a ladder but somebody’s got to clean those gutters out before winter comes otherwise you start running into ice damming problems potentially as well.
Paul: You’re exactly right, Bob and I do want to mention this. We get a lot of phone calls and questions when both Scott and Chris are on the program. It’s great having Scott because you do home inspections. That covers every square inch of the house from the foundation all the way up to the top of the house.
Scott: Yes, it does.
Paul: If questions on any aspects of mechanicals like furnaces or you name it, you can answer those.
Scott: We can pretty much handle everything.
Paul: And of course there’s mold. You have a website, Scott. We’ll cover both your websites and then we’ll get going with our questions. www.HonestHomeInspections.com is your main site.
Scott: That’s the main site.
Paul: But you also have www.MilwaukeeMoldInspector.com and www.MilwaukeeRadonTesting.com. I think they link right back to your first one too.
Scott: MilwaukeeMoldInspector.com is a different site than HonestHomeInspection.com is but they will link to each other.
Paul: You’re a board-certified master inspector and an environmental specialist so there all of these things that we breathe in like radon and mold and it’s important that we take care of these problems for our family’s health.
Scott: It’s very important. In all these classes that I sit in and learn all of this stuff, I get more scared every day.
Bob: It’s not to scare people but years ago we didn’t know about all of this stuff.
Paul: That’s true. The other issue we’ve got too is that that old farm house was pretty drafty so we were getting in some nice fresh air from the outside. Now we’re making our houses so tight that we literally have to bring in fresh air through the furnace.
Bob: I hear all the time on the news that the inside air quality is oftentimes worse than the outside air quality and that’s the exact reason. There’s just not a turnover of fresh air.
Paul: You’ve got to open up a window, a door or something. Every day I have a window or two that I’ll open up a little bit to let fresh air in. I’m going through a little head cold right now. During the day we’ll pop some windows open just to get some circulating air. You can buy exchanges for your house as well Scott, can’t you?
Scott: Yeah, that helps a bit too. We were talking about this and I did a mold inspection this week. The lady was having some issues and we tested the house. The house was not too bad but I looked at both of her neighbor’s houses and their wood siding was just green. I said, “Do you sleep with your windows open?” She said, “Every chance I get,” so you can get that from different areas as well. If your spore count is high on the outside and you’re opening up your windows enough. . .
Bob: You’re not getting fresh air.
Paul: That’s good. I never even thought about that. Green on cedar siding-you see that on decks a lot too, right?
Scott: Yes, you can. You see the green and the black and the black stuff is typically what everybody worries about. With our fall going on a lot of people have fall allergies. That means they’re allergic to cladosporium. Cladosporium looks like a black mold but it’s actually not black. It’s actually green and it creates a black UV covering over it so everybody looks and that and says, “Oh my, that’s black mold.” It’s actually the most common.
Chris: Can you see that?
Scott: The difference? Only under a microscope.
Chris: Oh my. I’m in so many basements and looking. It all looks . . .
Scott: You can go by color a little bit but typically there is a variety of molds in any colony.
Paul: Joining Scott Lamar as I mentioned, we have Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. Give us your website. You’re located right by the airport actually.
Chris: We’re located near the airport and we serve pretty much southeastern Wisconsin from basically Port Washington all the way down to Kenosha and the state line and west as far as we can go. I think we’ve talked about this before. The farther west you go, the less basement repair we do because the soil conditions change dramatically.
Paul: The easy way to remember is the closer we are to Lake Michigan the worse it is.
Paul: A lot of the little inland lakes make a big difference as well and the soil conditions.
Chris: Absolutely. You’ll notice that a lot of the homes were built more on the lakes. More recently homes have been built on Lake Okauchee, for example or any of those lakes. They’re built on soils that can’t support these structures so we’re finding more stuff that’s sinking.
Paul: I didn’t even think about that. That lake ends, the shoreline is there and you’re putting a foundation in real close to the water.
Chris: And a lot of it is put in unfilled. I just looked at one on Lake Geneva just recently. This is a significant property value and they shouldn’t have built there.
Paul: Let’s talk about downtown Milwaukee and the theories about some of those buildings.
Chris: Yeah, that one’s causing some headaches. They have some problems on their foundations but everything can be fixed. We haven’t found anything we haven’t been able to fix.
Bob: That’s where you guys come in. I was just going to say what do you do? Your website says it all at www.AccurateBasementRepair.com. You fix the basements and you waterproof them?
Chris: Absolutely. We do structural repair or anything to do below grade. That’s what we do.
Paul: On all types of basements, right?
Chris: On all types of basements.
Paul: Block, poured . . .
Chris: Block, poured, and there’s even wood structures. There are only a few of them in Wisconsin but there are some people that actually have foundations that are built out of wood.
Paul: You’re kidding me.
Scott: I inspected two of those.
Paul: They’re very difficult because there’s not much experience in those so everyone kind of scratches their heads. If you’re going to buy one, definitely give Scott or myself a call before you end up buying one.
Bob: At my grandparent’s farm in Random Lake at the time, their basement was the fieldstone with mortar in between. Those seemed to be really thick.
Chris: Yeah, you’ll never have a structural problem with those. You may end up having some leakage problems but those were really never built to be waterproof to begin with so most of that is an air handling thing. Try and keep them dry and exchange some air around.
Paul: It was a fruit cellar. I remember my grandmother did all the canning and you’d put it all down there where it was cool and dry.
Chris: It was the fruit cellar or the wine cellar, right? It was one of the two.
Paul: I think the wine was probably there too, but when you’re a kid you don’t remember those things. We’re getting calls. Bob, we’re going to do this for our listeners the first hour, right?
Bob: Yes sir.
Paul: They can ask Bob from Redefined Realty their real estate questions if you’re a buyer or a seller. We welcome those questions as always but now is your chance to talk to Scott Lamar from Honest Home Inspections or to Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. The number to call the Redefined Realty Show is 799-1130. The Accunet Mortgage toll free line is open. That’s (800) 838-WISN. We’ve got a couple open lines yet but we are filling them fast so let’s get to some of these callers.
[10:25] We’re going to Cash. He’s a truck driver. That’s all it says. Good morning.
Cash: Good morning. How are you?
Chris: Good morning Cash.
Cash: I’ve talked to numerous people and they all said that Accurate Basement is the best company so I’m so glad I get to talk to you today.
Scott: Thanks buddy.
Chris: I hope that I fixed one of your relatives’ basement or something.
Cash: I wanted to ask you this. I’m going to have some time this weekend. What do I need to do to get my basement ready with the sump pump and everything like that for the upcoming winter?
Chris: You should be looking at your basement throughout the year. It’s not just isolated to this time of year but that’s something you should monitor just like a smoke detector. You should take a look at it at least a couple of times a year especially if you have a sump pump because that’s the only mechanical thing that you’re going to have is that sump pump, and if that’s not working then it can cause some real big issues.
Paul: Also there’s battery backup on a lot of those sump pumps as well, right?
Chris: There are battery backups for those. The most important thing for winter is though and Scott can talk about this too is that we find the freezing up of the discharge lines of those a lot. If you have one that goes above grade, and most people do, where it discharges out onto the lawn, those tubes can freeze if they’re not kept clear or if the diameter of the hose is too narrow. Normally what I tell people is if you have a narrow hose then make that hose larger for the winter like a 4-inch or something and always keep it away from the house. That’s something that has to be checked throughout the winter.
Scott: It’s got to be away from the home too, the discharge.
Chris: What do you tell people? Ten feet?
Scott: Some of it depends on how often that discharges.
Paul: Mine rarely goes off. It’s kind of up high on a grade and I’ve got a good grade going away from the home. It rarely goes off, Scott.
Scott: I can usually see if the pipes come out of the house and there’s a hole underneath it then I know how often it’s discharging.
Chris: Because that’s where the water lands.
Scott: One of the things we’re seeing is that typically a 2-inch pipe comes out of the house and sometimes 1 1/2 -inch. Then somebody will put a 2-inch flexible pipe on there to get that water away from there. That one will freeze. You’ve got to maintain that pitch. I see way too many of them that have the valleys in them and what’s going to happen is that water does not run uphill so you’ve got to keep a proper pitch on that to keep that water away from the house. Six to 10 feet is what I prefer.
People ask me about downspout extensions and how far out they should be. I tell them if they’re out far enough to be in the way when you mow then they’re out far enough.
Chris: What Scott meant by the valley is that that tube has a dip in it. It has to be a slope the entire distance because that will freeze and once it starts to accumulate any sort of ice in it, Paul, then what happens is that it can’t discharge at all and your pump will keep cycling burn it out and a lot of people don’t even hear it. They never pay attention to it.
Paul: We apologize because the phone is a little noisy, Cash, but in getting ready for winter how often do sump pumps go off during the winter if at all?
Chris: Where I’m living and I live in Muskego it goes off a lot. I’m in an area that’s a little bit lower. Most of the time you have less of that but when you get it is in that transition in February or March when you get those first few thaws. Those are the busiest times of the year for us and the busiest time for home inspectors to be getting the call back saying “Hey, I bought this house and you told me there weren’t any issues and now it’s leaking,” because we’re always coming back to those folks too. That’s part of the transition. People as homeowners will find that there is some maintenance that has to go on and that transition at the end of February and into March is huge.
Scott: Getting ready for winter, one of the biggest things is grading. We always say if you want to keep a dry basement it’s GGD, grading, gutters and downspouts.
Paul: Grading, gutters and downspouts. That sums it up. GGD. And it’s an easy fix.
Scott: It is. Some of the basement repairs I see from $3,000 to $40,000 is almost always grading. If you can keep that pitch away from the house then that basement will typically remain dry.
Paul: When I say it’s an easy fix I look at my house and most of it’s mulch or flower beds around it but if you’ve got concrete up against your foundation and it’s a sidewalk and a driveway that’s pitched back in you’ve got to fix that.
Scott: No, that’s huge. The worst one I saw was a $40,000 repair and that was all based on a patio that was only a couple years old and it settled back in, and sloped toward the basement and that wall had moved almost four inches.
Paul: It’s unfortunate but you do see that quite often.
Chris: Keep in mind, Paul, when you talk about those flowerbeds and mulch and when the realtor is going to look at the property and it looks fine a lot of times you can’t tell what the pitch is like underneath that mulch.
Bob: That’s right. This is one thing I’ve learned over the years. I don’t know how many inspections I’ve been at with you Scott, but between the ones with you and everybody else it’s probably hundreds and everybody always has mulch piled up nice and high that looks like everything is pitching the right way but if scrape that mulch away, all of a sudden the dirt is pitching back toward the house and that’s the key thing.
Scott: In other words, it’s kind of hiding the problem. You’ve got to make sure the true soil grade is pitched away.
Paul: Cash thanks so much for the phone call and getting things started. We’re swamped with callers right now so we’re going to continue taking your questions on the Redefined Realty Show. Joe is next from Milwaukee. Hi Joe.
[16:22] Joe: Hi. How are you doing?
Paul: I’m doing good.
Joe: I’ve got a question for the basement guy.
Paul: Chris Mancuso.
Joe: Yes that’s his name. I have a house. We had some repairs done a couple of years ago to it. Everything is fine and the basement’s dry but there are some cracks which appear to be wider in the summertime and now that we’re looking to sell the house they’re small. They’re addressing them and I don’t know how to tell people that there’s nothing wrong with the foundation. I don’t have any problems but the cracks just seem to get bigger and smaller through the seasons.
Chris: If it was repaired, was it structural repair or was it waterproofing or both? Do you have those metal beams in your house?
Joe: There are metal beams and then they put all new interior drain tile in. They dug outside a couple of walls.
Chris: Was it a long time ago or was it within the last 10 years?
Joe: 10 years.
Chris: The likelihood of that failing if you have those beams in is pretty slim. It just doesn’t happen often. If you’re seeing some cracking and re-cracking, a lot of that has to do with the moisture content in the soil. Even the home inspectors when they see it will give me phone calls and they’ll say “Hey, you guys did this repair and I see some cracking.” A lot of times if your walls were repaired when the soil moisture was higher and they were in, once that soil dries out it can retract and you can get some cracking. From what you described, some cracking in the winter and summer changing is probably environmental. I’d say you’re probably fine. If you’re going to sell your house at some point I would really be too alarmed by it. Let a good home inspector take a look at it.
Bob: Is that something, Chris, that would go right back to the pitch on the outside where we try and keep that water away from the foundation and keep it more dry consistently?
Chris: That definitely will help. I would take a look at your pitch and then see if that’s appropriate and if so, some of that contraction and expansion is normal. Again, the failure on those metal beams or vertical ceiling columns is so rare that I don’t think you’ll have an issue again. If you go to sell it just wait until you have a good home inspection done and I think you’ll be fine.
Scott: If you want to be proactive with that there are some basement engineers in our area that could write a report. That way somebody that’s interested in the house could look at the report that says, “This repair was done right.”
Paul: And have it dated. That’s a good idea to have. We’re going to give out websites Joe if you’ve got questions off the air. www.AccurateBasementRepair.com would be a good place to go and Scott’s website is www.HonestHomeInspections.com.
Joe: Is Accurate able to write a referral or a professional opinion on it or something?
Bob: Chris, could you come out and look at it?
Chris: I can come look at it but generally if it needs a repair I’ll write you up a repair estimate but if you’re looking for just a peer evaluation for a real estate transaction like something generally that Scott mentioned, generally I can refer you over to an engineer for the report. Just go over to our website and there are some engineers on there that you can pull off.
Joe: Do you give estimates, by the way, for basements?
Chris: Absolutely. That’s what we do. All estimates are free. We give free estimates and we try to get out there within a 72-hour period to get you squared away.
Paul: Thank you Joe.
Joe: Thank you guys.
Paul: Good questions. Good start to the show. We’re busy on the phones. This is always a popular hour with the home inspector. We call him Inspector Gadget. Hey Spence is not here. We’ve got to tell Jeff about the music. He’s Scott Lamar with Honest Home Inspections. Chris Mancuso with Accurate Basement Repair and of course your host is Bob Tarantino from Redefined Realty. That’s Bob’s website as well. It’s www.RedefinedRealty.com.
The second hour we’ll talk a lot more about buying and selling your home and their 3.99% commission. Your calls are welcome right now on WISN at 799-1130 or the Accunet Mortgage line toll free at (800) 838-WISN.
Bob: Welcome back to the Redefined Realty Show. Do you want to be the expert in your neighborhood? Visit www.RedefinedRealty.com and click on the red “My Neighborhood” button. Tell us where you live and we’ll send you real-time market updates straight to your email. You’ll be the expert in your neighborhood. Before we get started, just a quick message from our sponsors.
For one of the most thorough home inspections and one of the most comprehensive reports in the industry, trust Honest Home Inspections and Milwaukee Mold Inspector. Call (262) 424-5587 or visit www.HonestHomeInspections.com. Milwaukee Mold Inspector is a division of Honest Home Inspections.
Female Announcer: Since 1961, Kaerek Homes has been delivering innovative home designs in unique neighborhoods. Visit www.KaerekHomes.com or call (414) 321-5300 to see how you can with Kaerek.
Paul: We call him Inspector Gadget. Our guest is Scott Lamar from Honest Home Inspections. Also we have Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. Bob Tarantino is your host. Let’s get back to the calls. We’re taking your questions. It’s a great time to talk to a home inspector. Maybe it’s the mold or the radon. We’ve talked about the indoor air quality. Maybe it’s a mechanical question about your furnace or otherwise in your house. We’re getting a lot of basement questions, Chris, just so you know.
Chris: It seems like every time I come on this show it rains like the whole week before. I’m not kidding. Have you noticed that?
Paul: I have. It’s not pouring yet but it’s a slight drizzle that we’re getting.
Chris: But it’s been going for a long time.
Paul: It has.
Chris: That’s the issue.
Paul: It’s solid. It’s all the time. You’re right. C.C. is next from Mukwonago. Good morning.
[23:20] C.C.: Good morning fellows.
Paul: How can we help you?
C.C.: I would like to ask Chris about his thoughts and opinions on adding an egress window to my basement.
Chris: You might have pulled that up off the website or something. We do install them and there are a lot of options for the egress window. We can talk about the value. I don’t know as much about adding the value to the house from it but we can put them in. You’re probably wondering about price range because that’s what people usually are wondering.
Chris: The price range for you could be anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 for an egress window installation. Some of it depends if we’re doing work there already and the other components would be the quality of the window, the size of the egress itself and the access. It’s really something we’d have to look at but if it’s a value question then you might want to talk to our real estate expert.
C.C.: Does it change the structural integrity of the wall that you’re changing?
Chris: No, If it’s put in right. It absolutely will not change if it’s installed correctly.
Paul: If you don’t know what an egress window is, they’re put in to escape in case there’s a fire and if you have a bedroom in your basement, by code you need one, right? Bob can speak to the value.
Bob: Well, you need to have another exit. That’s the key. Sometimes you have a stairway going up to the garage or you have a walkout lower level but we’ve seen a lot of people do it and from a value standpoint I think it’s a good move. People more and more have nice rec rooms down in the lower level and if you don’t have that sunlight coming in or that escape route it’s something that people are looking for so I think it’s something you can get your money back from.
Bob: It gives mom and dad piece of mind knowing that junior is down in his bedroom and if there is a fire there’s a way out.
Chris: Even with a rec room, it takes that rec room and makes it look more like a living room when you have those large windows in there.
Bob: It brings in all that light.
Scott: We put two very large windows in a fairly small wall and we did end up beaming the wall. I was told it was okay but I put the beams in anyway.
Chris: What Scott’s referring to about beaming the wall is the installation of the window itself. There are a lot of people doing it but having to do it right is the key. When we do an egress window we dig all the way to the bottom to your outside drain tile and install it. We actually get a number of calls for previously installed egress windows that are leaking because that’s the lowest part in the house.
Paul: Think about if a heavy rain would come in.
Chris: It would fill up with water.
Paul: The way it looks on the outside of the house. You’ll see sometimes almost a miniature retaining wall or that cultured stone on the side. You can landscape around it and beautify it a little bit with flowers or something.
Chris: Correct. Most people are going to a prefab now so if you’re looking around that stuff now the prefabs are very nice. Those are what I have at my house. I didn’t do natural stone but the prefab looks like a natural stone.
Paul: In other words, you excavate the dirt and soil and you just kind of place that down in there.
Chris: Yeah. It’s like a huge, oversized window well. Most of those that we do are for a lot of people that are getting ready to sell who might have a two bedroom and the realtor is saying “If this was a three bedroom you’d get way more out of it.”
Paul: Bob, that’s true, isn’t it? That basement bedroom?
Bob: Oh definitely.
Paul: You can’t count it as a bedroom unless there’s that egress window.
Bob: Yeah, there are so many little discrepancies on how people do that and how the real estate agents list it but if you don’t have that second means of exit down in the basement you really should never be counting that as a bedroom.
Scott: There are a lot of codes that go along with that egress window as well.
Paul: C.C. I hope that gives you some insight into the egress window.
C.C.: It does. I appreciate your time.
Paul: Thank you. As far as value to the house, Bob, it’s got to add some value.
Bob: Yes, go for it. You’ll be happy that you did. It’s worth the investment.
Chris: Just give us a call and we’ll give you an estimate.
Paul: www.AccurateBasementRepair.com is the website. Chris Mancuso is here. Scott Lamar is here. He’s with Honest Home Inspections. This is WISN, the Redefined Realty Show. We’re taking calls with our guests up until 10:00, so you’ve got plenty of time to call in. We’ve got a lot of questions to get to as well. We’ll continue with those calls after the break. Stick around.
[28:13] Bob: Do you want to be the expert in your neighborhood? Visit www.RedefinedRealty.com and click on the red “My Neighborhood” button. Tell us where you live and we’ll send you real-time market updates straight to your email. You’ll be the expert in your neighborhood.
Paul: Welcome back as we continue the Redefined Realty Show, at news talk 1130 WISN. This hour we have a lot of calls to get to. Accurate Basement Repair and Honest Home Inspections, our guests Scott Lamar and Chris Mancuso join your host Bob Tarantino. We go back to the phones and Tosa. Bob is next. Good morning Bob.
[29:05] Bob: Good morning. I have a house built around the mid-1920s. When I purchased it in 1980, the previous owner had just had an engineering firm come in and determine that the house was sinking in the northwest corner. He hired an engineering firm, they brought down the wall, they rebuilt it up and it looked good. Five years have gone by and I’m still noticing the house sinking. I brought in another company and they came in and put in a sump pump and redid the drain tile all around the thing. I was never having any water in the basement but I’m still experiencing the sinking in that corner so the basement is just a disaster. The house is literally sinking on the northwest corner and it’s causing it to tilt.
Paul: Any thoughts on that guys?
Chris: Did you say you’ve been dealing with it since 1980?
Bob: Actually it’s probably been since the mid-80s.
Paul: That’s 30 years.
Chris: Usually what I tell people is if you think you have a problem with sinking you should have it evaluated. Even though you talked about having an engineer out there before you should have an engineer come out and take some elevation measurements and then there’s a comparable. If it’s determined that it is sinking we can fix that but keep in mind some houses, most homes, when they sink they sink relatively soon after they’re built, usually within a 25 to 50-year period. There has been some relatively newer sinking in some older areas of the city more recently. It has to do with dewatering, and the Deep Tunnel. It’s something that would bore people to death and they’d change the channel. I think you have a pretty complicated issue for me or even Scott to comment on the radio. When you get something out there that has so many factors you really need to have a good structural engineer and a good basement repair company. By all means we’ll definitely come out and take a look at it for you. What area do you live in?
Bob: Wauwatosa over toward the east side.
Chris: So it’s an older neighborhood too. Have us come on out. Some things that cause basement problems in older areas of town can be a broken sewer lateral that belongs to one of the municipalities or something.
Bob: They’re currently redoing all of the sewers in the neighborhood right now. The only thing I do know is that this home is located on a site which I found several years after I purchased it that it was like a dump site at the turn of the century.
Chris: If that’s the case, by all means I’ll definitely come out and take a look at it but when it comes to a sinking issue like that what I’ll more than likely do is have you order a soil boring. That is just like when people get a well drilled for water. There’s a geo tech firm that will come out and drill down into your soil and we can actually look at those soil borings and determine if the soil is an organic product that can compress. If that’s the case and we think there’s going to be more compression, especially if you think it was a dump site, that would be a material that would definitely compress and decompose over time.
Paul: Bob, for today just because we’ve got to run to other callers, I suggest you contact Chris at Accurate Basement Repair.
Bob: Thank you very much.
Paul: He’ll come out and take a look at it. Thank you, Bob. We appreciate the phone call. Next we have a roof inspection question for Inspector Gadget Scott Lamar coming from Paul on the south side of Milwaukee. Good morning, Paul.
[33:28] Paul: Good morning.
Paul: Fire away.
Paul: We recently purchased a home and about two weeks after being there we noticed some water stains on the ceiling and different areas. I did have a home inspection however it was just from the ground level. The guy never went up on the roof. Now I’m kind of in this legal debate and wondering where I go from here. The seller signed off the disclosure saying “Hey, I never lived in the property. I simply flipped it.” He owned it for about eight months but I just find it hard to believe.
Paul: That’s like doing a basement inspection without going into the basement.
Paul: Two weeks into it I basically got about four or five different leaking areas in my roof now and I’m just wondering where I can go from here or where I stand.
Scott: The Wisconsin Standards of Practice do not require that the home inspector walk the roof. At our company, all of our inspectors will try and walk the roof but it’s based on the elements. If it’s raining or snowing we can’t do that. At a minimum typically we’ll throw a ladder up on two sides. Some of the more complicated houses I have to put a ladder up on six sides in order to see everything. You really don’t know about a roof until you can get up close and personal with it. A lot of them will look pretty good from the ground even with the binoculars until you get up next to it and it will show you some defects.
Paul: You should buy a drone and put a little camera on a drone and then you can fly it over.
Scott: We’re discussing that. They do have a little tractor that goes up on the roof but I think the drone would work better.
Bob: If I can jump in here. If all of a sudden this is happening after you just bought the place and it’s only a couple weeks later, chances are it had to have been leaking prior to the purchase. I guess it’s always one of the things I look at is if there’s a problem you have to try and go back and prove that the previous owner knew about it and covered it up. From a legal standpoint that’s usually one of the important things. To me, just on the surface that kind of seems like maybe it’s the issue.
Paul: That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking and this is what’s been making me real upset. It’s not just one leak it’s four or five leaks. The guy owned it for about eight months while he renovated it. He flipped it. It was a foreclosure. Everything is updated in it and I just find it hard to believe that two weeks after being in there I now have this water coming through the roof and he never knew about it.
Scott: Four or five leaks is really unusual. Typically we’ll get one or two and a chimney is the most common leaking area. The square penetration is always hard to seal.
Paul: He actually removed the chimney and reroofed that area because of leaks according to neighbors that were familiar with the seller. These are leaks on each side of the dormer. There’s a new roof sunroom addition where it leaks beneath the old part of the house and then a valley that’s not properly flashed or something to that effect.
Scott: One of the things I can help you with is if you go to www.HonestHomeInspections.com and go to the contact page and send me an email. I am well aware of an attorney that does work on these types of things in particular.
Paul: That’s a good step to take.
Scott: He does a lot of defense work for the home inspectors and contractors but he’ll also work the other end for you as well. He’s well versed in this as well. At least have a conversation with him to find out what your recourse is if anything but probably one of the next steps is to get a good roofing contractor out there and try to understand where the leaks are coming from because he’s going to need that information as well.
Paul: So contact Scott Lamar. Go to his website at www.HonestHomeInspections.com.
Scott: There’s a “Contact Us” page. The phone numbers are up there too.
Paul: Thank you Paul. We wish you luck and we appreciate the call. I’m going to squeeze in Bridget who’s been on hold forever from Brookfield. Good morning Bridget.
[37:13] Bridget: Good morning.
Paul: Thank you for your patience.
Bridget: Thanks for taking my call. No problem about the waiting. I understand. I have drain tile questions and dirt on the side of the house questions. How often does the drain tile need to be replaced and how do you know if it needs to be replaced? And on the dirt question, how far below the bottom of the siding should dirt begin?
Scott: I’ll start with that one because there’s actually a Wisconsin Code that dictates that you are supposed to be six inches from soil to siding. Six to eight is what they really want but code is always built on minimum so we like to see six.
Paul: Why do we want to take that soil up to the siding?
Scott: There are a lot of reasons for that. One of them is that any time you have a wood siding or even some of the aluminum siding has a cardboard backing or something like that where you get a certain amount of wick up and you’ll get what’s called splash back. It’s raining right now and as the rain comes down and it hits the ground and if it’s raining hard it actually splashes back up onto that siding, particularly the wood siding. We see a lot of this with the hearty plank and a lot of the cedar siding where it’s really tore up at the bottom. The other thing is that there are insects that can’t climb that six to eight inches. Lastly, let’s say you pour a whole bunch of mulch up there and actually come up to the siding, that gives a lot of insects a bridge to get into your house. Then if you get some seepage in there too if your sill plate-which is what the house basically sits on; there’s a piece of wood that the whole house sits on-starts to wick up water and it rots the only way to fix that is to jack up the house and replace the sill plate.
Paul: Oh gosh. You just answered the question. Now we know why. Let’s get to the drain tile while we have time here. Who wants to tackle that, Chris?
Chris: Sure. Your drain tile theoretically could last the lifetime of the home. The time to fix it is if there’s a problem. If you notice some seepage or notice some areas that look like they’re getting wet, then it would be something we could inspect. What we can do is make a couple of holes into your floor and actually look at your drain tile. Drain tile is actually just tubing. It’s not a piece of tile.
Paul: It’s misleading. It’s a tube that’s laid down at the base of the foundation on the outside, right?
Chris: And the inside. And then there’s gravel poured over that. Then there’s dirt over it. If someone is having a drain tile problem, generally it will metastasize into some seepage or staining. Again. I can actually open up holes in the floor and take a look inside your drain tile with flashlights, mirrors, and actually cameras. We can look down to see if it’s plugged. About the best way to check it is that I actually just run water through it and see if it’s running. Do you have a problem right now?
Paul: Is that why you asked?
Bridget: It seemed like at one point there was in one area of the floor of the basement after a particularly heavy rain there was a little bit of water on the floor but there was none on the wall. What had happened was we were doing some work outside and I think we removed this area that had gutters and I think it was just the volume of rain that came in.
Paul: Have you had it since then Bridget or was it just one time?
Bridge: No, it was just once.
Paul: Common sense dictates if happens again get somebody over there.
Chris: Bridget, you mentioned about the gutters. It probably was too much volume for your system to handle so that’s why we talked earlier about enlarging the gutters. Keep those gutters and do larger downspouts if you can. Keep those downspouts extended and I think you’re going to be fine. If it happens again and the downspouts are all in good shape and extended then you might want to call someone and we’ll come take a look at it for you.
Paul: That’s perfect. Thank you Bridge for the good question. Chris Mancuso and his website www.AccurateBasementRepair.com. Scott Lamar. He’s Inspector Gadget. His website is www.HonestHomeInspections.com and of course we have Bob’s website. In the second hour we’ll talk more about real estate. We’ve got some more guests coming up as well. It’s www.RedefinedRealty.com they have 3.99% commission. We’re going to get some final comments from our guests when we come back on WISN.
[42:02] Bob: Good morning. This is the Redefined Realty Show. Join us every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Get critical market updates, find out where interest rates are heading and talk to our industry experts about things happening right here in your neighborhood. This show is live and your phone calls are not just welcomed but appreciated at (414) 799-1130. Before we get started here’s just a quick message from our sponsors.
Chris: Hi it’s Chris Mancuso here with Accurate Basement Repair. At Accurate Basement Repair we fix your basement issues. Take a good look at your basement. Check the walls for cracking and look down low for any signs of seepage. Don’t risk your biggest investment. Accurate Basement Repair is your resource for foundation restoration and waterproofing. Call Accurate Basement Repair at (414) 744-6900. Estimates are always free.
John: Are you ready to start raking and doing fall cleanup? If you were in the Cornerstone Development Ranch Style Condominium neighborhood you’d be enjoying a lifestyle without those hassles. John Wayland here, inviting you to stop by and tour our clubhouse and models at any of our locations including Sussex and Mukwonago. Open every day of the week. You can find directions on our website, www.CornerstoneDevelopment.com. It’s time for you to enjoy that new lifestyle.
Paul: We are back on news talk 1130 WISN. We have only 60 seconds left in the show, just enough time to get information from our guests. We’ll start with you, Chris. You’re located as you said, right near the airport and you have a website.
Chris: Absolutely. It’s www.AccurateBasementRepair.com. Our phone number is (414) 744-6900.
Paul: Chris we thank you for all your help once again. There were a lot of good calls today and let’s hope that rain keeps coming, right? It’s good for business.
Paul: It’s good for the lawn. Just not too much because we don’t want flooding. We also thank Scott Lamar. He is Inspector Gadget. Give us your information, Scott.
Scott: The company is Honest Home Inspections at www.HonestHomeInspections.com. We do have Milwaukee Mold Inspector. We can do any home inspection. We can do roof inspection and we can do moisture intrusion. If you’ve got mold in the attic or the basement we can certainly help with that. Part of what we do is help keep that real estate transaction together so if you’re selling your house and you’ve got mold we can come back and write a report and get the buyers a little more comfortable with what’s going on and get them to still buy your house.
Paul: We’ll talk to both of you guys on future shows of course. Thanks for being with us. Have a great weekend, Scott.
Scott: Thanks, you too.
Paul: Now Bob, next hour we have two guests.
Bob: Yeah. We’re going to have Kara Combs on and John Wayland from Cornerstone Development. It’s going to be fun.
Paul: That will be after the news. Stick around and we’ll continue the Redefined Realty Show next on WISN. [44:52]