By Mitch Kuffa
Let’s talk about some very interesting scenarios that we have discovered while inspecting homes.
STOP THE WATER!!!
A homeowner called and stated that they have a 2 story colonial home that has been experiencing an intermittent leak, in the center of the dining room ceiling which is located on the first floor. Upon visiting the house, the curious thing, however, was that there was no plumbing above the area that was leaking, there was no evidence of any type of leak on the second floor and the roof shingles were relatively new (and this problem also occurred prior to the new roof being installed). Overall, the problem did not seem to have a specific pattern but did appear to occur during or after a rain. The lady had several “experts” investigate the situation to no avail. After some thought and research it seemed that there were several contributing conditions:
1. First of all, the condition needed a hard-driving rain.
2. The older single glaze windows on the house had a newer storm overlay with built-in “weep holes” in the bottom of the metal frame to allow any water that may infiltrate the storm panel, to seep out.
3. The prime window must be closed and the storm window opened.
4. The “weep holes” must be closed or plugged up with debris. What occurs is that a driving rain enters the opened storm window, the water is held between the prime and storm sash because the prime windows are closed and the trapped water cannot exit because the weep holes are sealed. So, the sitting water eventually leaks through the corner joints of the exterior window sill, enters the wall, runs to the lower level via gravity and enters the first floor ceiling over the dining room.
When I first told the homeowner my theory she found it difficult to believe, so I took a pot of water, poured it between the windows on the suspect wall of the house and BINGO, within 10 minutes it was dripping at the light fixture in the dining room below.
MY EXTERIOR DOORS ARE MELTING!!!!
A homeowner called and said that they opened their front door to get the newspaper and what to their wondering eyes should appear, their plastic door moldings (on their metal pre-hung door) were sagging and dripping down. The curious thing here is that this dwelling is a townhouse condominium, in a row house type multi-unit building and none of the other front doors were experiencing the same problem! Again we have multiple factors that would aggravate this condition.
The door in question was facing east (exposed to the morning sun). The door was painted a dark color (only door painted black). There was a quality storm door with full glass panel installed. On a nice warm day the sun directly hits the full glass panel of the storm door, the heat is transferred through the glass, the dark color of the prime door absorbs the heat, the temperature rises between the storm and prime panel, the heat is trapped in the weather-stripped enclosure and BINGO the plastic trim is impacted. Since this problem has surfaced in the industry the door manufacturers have created a “high-temp” plastic trim that is more resistant to heat build-up, but there are still many of the older original doors still in use.
MY FLOOR IS BURNING!!!
A homeowner calls with a concern. She was cleaning her kitchen, moved the gas range and made a startling discovery. The sheet good resilient finish floor under the range had a large burn area about the size of the range. This was a newer home in a sub-division type setting with many neighbors having similar floor plans and ranges. None of the other homeowners were experiencing this condition. After some discussion, I came to realize that this specific homeowner had a habit that aggravated this condition. Her range had a typical bottom broiler that she lined with aluminum foil to try to minimize clean-up and maintenance. In actuality, what she did was to place a heat reflective surface throughout the boiler pan area that built-up and reflected the heat to the point where it damaged the floor.
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Mitchell J. Kuffa Jr. has been in the construction industry since 1967. In that time, he has worked as a construction superintendent, general superintendent, and construction manager for several large developers in the state of Michigan.
He has been a licensed Michigan residential builder since 1977, was an incorporated general contractor for 11 years and has built and/or run the construction of approx. 3,500 residential houses, apartments, commercial structures and/or light industrial buildings.
In 1981 he started the first private home inspection agency in Michigan and to date has personally performed approx. 16,000 inspections for a fee.
Since 1981, Mr. Kuffa inspects properties and acts as a construction consultant for the Michigan Department of Mental Health (group homes), UAW Legal Services, numerous lenders, several non-profit organizations and for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Kuffa is a federal housing fee inspector and FHA 203K mortgage loan consultant, works with several attorneys’s as an “expert witness”, has been appointed by the Michigan circuit court system to act as a Receiver in several cases concerning construction litigation and teaches a series of construction classes (for misc. school districts, community colleges, Michigan State Housing Authority, etc.).
Mr. Kuffa has been a member of the National Association of Home Inspectors, in good standing, since 1983.
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