Category Archives: Buying/Maintaining a Home

A Pattern of Condensation in an Attic

Posted by in Attic Ventilation, Buying/Maintaining a Home, Winter Concerns | June 18, 2018

The feature photograph shows a view of the ridge in an attic.  Note the discoloration and biological growth on both slopes.  Notice that the discoloration is worse on the slope left of the ridge than on the slope right of… Read More

Does Ventilation Really Provide a Benefit in an Attic?

Posted by in Apparent Mold/Biological Growth, Attic Ventilation, Buying/Maintaining a Home, Winter Concerns | June 04, 2018

The clear surface on the underside of the roof deck around the three bathroom vent pipes shows that even a little bit of inadvertent air flow is capable of reducing condensation and the risk of apparent mold/biological growth. It doesn’t… Read More

What is Efflorescence?

Posted by in Buying/Maintaining a Home, Water Sources | April 23, 2018

Efflorescence derives from a French word that means “to flower out” (or so I’ve read).   “Flowering out” is a good description because efflorescence is a crystal structure that appears and grows on the surface of concrete, brick, stucco, or natural stone… Read More

Who Says, “You Need to Have a Gutter to Have Ice Damming or Icicles?”

Posted by in Attic Ventilation, Buying/Maintaining a Home, Roof, Water Sources, Winter Concerns | March 12, 2018

See those long, beautiful icicles and the ice dam? But wait – there is no gutter along the rear slope of this dwelling (see Figure 1).  How can there be an ice dam and icicles?  Just lucky, I guess. Note… Read More

Shrinkage Cracking in Concrete

Posted by in Buying/Maintaining a Home, Concrete, Shrinkage | January 30, 2018

Why Does Concrete Crack? There are many causes for cracking in concrete: overload; earth movements (settlement, frost heave, consolidation, soil shrinkage, soil expansion, landslide, etc.); material shrinkage; impact; etc.  This article considers shrinkage. What is shrinkage in concrete? Shrinkage occurs… Read More

What Causes That Fish Mouth Appearance in a Shingle Roof?

Posted by in Buying/Maintaining a Home, Construction & Shortcuts, Roof, Shingles | July 10, 2017

Sometimes a shingle roof will exhibit a pattern of shingle tabs raised at their center, such as seen in the featured photograph.  That is, the shingle tab is partially sealed at each end, but raised in the middle (Figure 1).… Read More

A Primer on Basement Wall Distress (Encore May 1, 2017)

Posted by in Archive 2004 thru 2011, Basements, Buying/Maintaining a Home, Cracking, Foundations | May 01, 2017

So, you have found your dream home: perfect location, quiet street, great landscaping, room layout fits your life style, colors match your furniture. You can’t wait to relax on the screened patio or that swing on the large front porch.… Read More

The Work of Hansel & Gretel?

Posted by in Buying/Maintaining a Home, Shingles | February 06, 2017

Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel?  For those who aren’t, they are a brother and a sister who run away from home, get lost, and come upon a gingerbread house.  Having become famished in their travels they start eating… Read More