Sunday, October 27, 2013

Insurance problem

October has been the month to find roofs that have asphalt shingles covering wood shingles. Sadly, I have to tell my clients that they probably won't be able to get homeowners insurance on that house until that roof is stripped and replaced. And for the seller, that means that no one will be able to buy their house until something is done about the roof.

For decades, it has been a common practice to cover existing wood shingle roofs with asphalt (or "composition") shingles when the house needed a new roof. It wasn't perfect, but it worked. Recently, after many storm related insurance claims, the major insurance companies made a business decision not to write new policies for houses that had asphalt shingles over wood shingles. It doesn't matter what kind of shape the roof is in.

Two, and sometimes three, layers of asphalt shingles are fine.  But, not asphalt over wood. Why? For the insurance company it just costs so much more in labor and materials to replace such a roof system if you were to make a claim in the future. The reason for that is shown here -

A wood roof has these gaps underneath the shingles to allow the roof to "breathe". Asphalt roofs instead need solid decking to go under the felt and shingles. So the asphalt-over-wood roof needs to be stripped to the bare rafters and started from scratch. That's where the expense comes in.

From the outside, the roof may look normal. But once I lift of the edge of the asphalt shingles, and also look in the attic during your Complete Home Inspection, then I know there are two layers, with the asphalt composition shingles over the wood shingles. And that means that the house may be uninsurable.

That's just another reason to have your prospective house inspected by Complete Home Inspection BEFORE you buy it. And for sellers, it's another reason to have your house inspected BEFORE you put it on the market. It's a great way to avoid last-minute surprises for either party, and get some peace of mind at a very hectic time for you.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-02222,

Monday, October 7, 2013

Radon gas at home

The danger of radon gas really hit home recently. My regular calibration test of the radon monitors I use showed that my house had a higher level of radon than before. Perhaps last year's drought caused the increase. Regardless, radon gas has been linked to lung cancer. So, I had a radon gas mitigation system installed in my house.

My husband works and works out in our basement, spending most of his day there. Seeing that the air in the basement was no longer considered to be healthy for him to breathe, we needed to fix it. Fortunately, radon is a fixable problem. Now, a small suction fan, installed in a pipe that goes through the basement floor, sucks out the radon gas from under the house and vents it to the back of the house. The system is a permanent part of the house and uses about the same amount of electricity as a clock radio.

Statistically, in the Kansas City area, one of every three houses tested is found to have elevated radon levels. When you hire Complete Home Inspection to test the radon level in your house, whether it's the one you live in or one that you're looking to buy, I'll use a continuous radon monitor that takes samples over a period of two full days. The test unit will be placed in the lowest livable level of the house. Windows are kept closed throughout the time of the test.  The test results are then averaged into an overall number for your final report. If the radon level is higher than 4.0piC/l, then it should be fixed, or "mitigated". And that's what happened at my house.

A Complete Home Inspection radon test costs $100. A radon mitigation system costs about $700-900 in the Kansas City area. If you are buying a house, test for radon as a part of your home inspection process.  If the test shows a high radon level, you might negotiate with the seller to correct it. If it comes in low, you have peace of mind knowing that you’re buying a healthier house.

In Kansas, radon testers and mitigation companies must be certified. I have been a certified radon tester for more than 20 years. And my husband is very grateful for that.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your own Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222,