When we profiled Ed Snope’s Atlas Home Inspection company last year, we spoke with busy, all-business Realtors who count on Snope’s all-important reports to be thorough, accurate and on time in order to process Arlington real estate transactions.
Not only did he exceed his reputation for experience and knowledge of how a house is put together, the Realtors also praised his ability to communicate clearly exactly what the buyers and sellers were dealing with.
So we asked Snope to share with us some of his 30 years of experience in home and landscape construction and his four years as the sole proprietor of the bustling Atlas Home Inspection. We wondered what were 10 common findings in Arlington dwellings that he could share with us, explain why they are concerns and offer advice for improvement.
His answers may surprise you.
1. Mushroom-capped carriage bolts are popular as fasteners in deck construction as they are long enough to penetrate 4×4 footers and easy to use. However, holding up thousands of pounds of people and furniture on a deck is not what they should be used for. “Carriage bolts were developed to secure metal plates to wood beams,” he says. “The heads do not accept a washer. Lag bolts with washers, timber bolts and specialty fasteners and prefabricated metal connectors are available.”
2. Those flexible drainpipes taking water away from your house have ripples to increase flexibility. “But each one of those corrugations can hold enough water to breed tiger mosquitos,” Snope says. “And they tend to curl up at the end–creating a negative slope and holding water.” Smooth-walled pipe is not much more expensive but may require “a bit more labor to install.”
3. Mulch is often contaminated before it reaches the home. It can hide poor grading underneath, leading to water problems with the dwelling. “Mulch volcanoes” at the base of trees can damage plants if the mulch is excessive, and if you haven’t been hauling away the old stuff when topping off, you probably have too much. “It can cause bark rot and other moisture-related diseases,” he says.
4. That English ivy took a while to climb the side of the house, and it sure makes those Maywood bungalows look pleasingly vintage. But. “This is an invasive species,” warns Snope. “It offers little ecological value and is difficult to eradicate. It strangles native plants and trees, retains moisture (not good), harbors pests and mosquitoes and requires diligent maintenance.” It also damages siding and trim. Better choices are periwinkle or pachysandra.
5. When your neighborhood in invariably described as “leafy,” as most Arlington communities are, gutter covers sound like a reasonable solution to keeping leaves and sticks from clogging exterior drainage. Think again. “They are not maintenance-free and they typically increase roof runoff, especially on medium- to steep-pitched roofs,” Snope says. That increases the moisture around the house, leaving basements vulnerable. And debris still builds up under those gutter guards. Keep an eye on them, or upgrade to a far more expensive brand $25 a foot — that works slightly better.
6. If the dryer is in the basement what is dryer lint doing collecting on light switches two floors up? “Leaky ducts release lint into the home, often pulled into the HVAC system. Dryer lint can build up inside the clothes dryer, in the exhaust duct, in the exhaust vent or inside the building,” says Snope. “Flexible foil duct is easily compressed and tends to trap lint.” And this is bad why? “Lint buildup increases drying time, uses extra electricity, can damage equipment, and can become a fire hazard.”
7. It’s easy for the homeowner to squirt some silicone sealant around a leaky window or a loose fixture. You can’t paint it and it’s not permanent and, says Snope, “I have found failed silicone on just about every interior and exterior surface.” Use paintable caulk instead.
8. Air leaks can be found all around the home; they reduce efficiency and comfort while using more energy and costing more. “Typical findings are leaky doors and windows, holes in walls and ceilings, attic access seal missing, recessed lighting and other penetrations,” says Snope.
9. Insulation problems generally stem from poor installation and low, missing compressed or displaced insulation. Snope adds that popular Fiberglass insulation “has low resistance to airflow and is often contaminated with pest trails and tunnels, displaced by workers and installed with no sealed air barrier.” He suggests better products, such as mineral wool batts or blown-in cellulose.
10. Ductwork is what distributes the heated and cooled air throughout a house. Snope finds leaks even in relatively newer construction, causing energy loss and uneven temperature distribution. “It can allow contaminants to enter the system and can create condensation leading to other damage,” he said. “It is not uncommon to find systems that have 30- to 40-percent air loss. Sealing can often pay for itself in energy savings, not to mention comfort. This is highly advised for older systems in large homes or in systems with long distribution.”
The preceding was a sponsored local business profile written by Buzz McClain for ARLnow.com.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
A former ABC News producer whose Columbia Pike apartment was raided by the FBI last year has been sentenced. James Gordon Meek, 53, pleaded guilty in July to transportation and…
Metrorail service was suspended on the Blue and Yellow lines today after a train derailed.
4 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage 1/4 acre Jamestown Williamsburg Yorktown pyramid
At Generation Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting teen parents in college as they work toward earning their degrees. We are in need of caring child care volunteers for upcoming events on Saturday, October 21st (in Washington, DC), and Saturday, November 4th (in Arlington, VA). Join our growing volunteer community and support us at an event this fall!
At all of our events, we provide free onsite child care for the children of the teen parents we serve, creating a nurturing environment for the kiddos while their parents learn valuable life skills and build community.
If you enjoy working with children and are looking to make an immediate impact in your community, please visit https://www.generationhope.org/volunteer to learn more.
Join us for Arlington’s biggest civil rights & social justice event of the year. The banquet is back in person at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.
Our keynote speaker this year is Symone Sanders from MSNBC and former Chief of Staff for Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The Master of Ceremonies is Joshua Cole, former state delegate, NAACP President, and local pastor.
Tickets/seating are limited. Purchase your ticket today! Sponsorship opportunities available.
Cody Chance and Dick Nathan of Long & Foster are hosting an online workshop on the topic of “down-sizing” Wednesday, October 4 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Every great endeavor begins with a great plan. This workshop will give you the tools