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Moisture Detection: What is it?

In some cases, determining point of moisture entry is quite simple. The toilet overflowed, drip pan for HVAC system in attic clogged, or, a tree came through the roof. In other cases though, pinpointing exact entry is not so simple.

Mystery stains below windows, on ceilings, on flooring or beneath plumbing fixtures such as sinks/toilets can be harder to diagnose. Worse yet is when these areas are not identified until a home is under contract and these issues are found during a routine inspection.

Let’s face it, certain items are expected to come up on inspections which are straight forward and easy to ascertain. The HVAC system is old, the roof is old, we have some fogged windows here and there. These are easy to fix and/or negotiate. Unfortunately, when you have staining with no identifiable source…negotiating is not so simple.

What happens next?

Well, as most of you know the possible delays which then arise from follow-up contractor visits, repairs/re-inspections can be quite time consuming. If it’s a stain on the ceiling, do you bring in a roofer only for him to determine that it is more likely a plumbing or HVAC issue? Does the HVAC technician in turn say it is not his problem, but more likely from roof or plumbing? If the plumber can’t find issue, what’s next?

In other cases, stains are known and have since been repaired…but unfortunately, seller/client does not have proper documentation/receipts indicating what was done to correct. In most cases, it is requested that a licensed contractor come in to verify no current leaks are present.

How can I help?

Be proactive! In my experience, it is best to get these issues identified and corrected prior to listing. I will do a full evaluation of home to find any evidence of possible moisture entry. Ceilings, walls, flooring, windows/doors and areas of plumbing are thoroughly reviewed for any area of entry.

If no staining is found, a report is generated to give your home/listing a “clean bill of health.”  If stains are found, I will track to locate source. A report is then generated detailing area(s) of staining and moisture readings at each location.  Follow-up scans will be performed to take readings again 2-4 weeks after original inspection to verify area(s) are not active. 

Client can choose to submit report in “disclosure” agreement, or, hold onto incase further review is requested during home inspection to verify area(s) are no longer active.

Partial Scan:
These are performed when client is aware of stains and request that only a few areas (up to 3) are reviewed.

Initial Inspection cost:
- $100

Follow-up scan (if required):
- $25.

Full Scan:
A full evaluation is performed on entire home. All areas are reviewed and mapped accordingly.
- $125 (up to 2000 Sq.Ft)
- $150 (2000-3000 Sq.Ft)
- $175 (3000-4000 Sq.Ft)
- $200 (4000-5000 Sq.Ft)
- $.05 per/Sq.Ft if over 5000

Follow-up scan (if required):
- $75
- $.025 per/Sq.Ft if over 5000

NOTE: Follow-up scans are only required when inspector finds stains, or, if it is to verify stains that owner had previously found or were already aware of. If no staining is found, a follow-up scan is not necessary.

FYI: This is not a full home inspection. A “clean bill of health” report only indicates that home is free of any leaks and has no visible stains. Identifiable stains and points of water entry are the only items inspector is looking for. This is not a stucco inspection, if water is later found behind a wall (where no visible staining is present) due to defective siding, this is beyond the scope of this inspection. Should client want a more detailed report, this needs to be stated prior to inspection. Siding issues, structural, operation of mechanicals, door/windows etc., are not reviewed during this inspection.