Articles
Why Test a Home for Moisture?

We recently completed a survey of 1,938 homes we had probetested and analyzed for moisture intrusion, the majority of which had been built after mid-1980. The results are alarming. 63 percent of the stucco homes, 52 percent of the wood homes and 47 percent of the brick homes had structural damage – rotted wood – at one or more locations across the home.

Windows accounted for 25 percent of the problems, decks contributed to 54 percent of the issues and a whopping 62 percent of the damages could be attributed to roof terminations. These damages are often hidden behind cladding and may not exhibit any visual signs.

Visual Indicators Come Late
Water intrusion in the exterior walls is something that tends to go unnoticed until it’s too late. Consider that the materials used to build the walls of a home make for a very large sponge. Water getting into the walls usually occurs at a very slow rate; in fact, bulk water entry from rain is usually a very slow drip and may not occur every time it rains. This slow drip begins to wet the structure of the home, which may or may not dry out before the next rainfall occurs. It will take many slow drips and a long time to fill the wall to a point where it will be noticed.

Visual indications, such as stains, cracks, nail pop and buckling floors, won’t appear overnight, which means if you see signs of moisture, the damage may have already been done. Left unaddressed, the wood will begin to deteriorate, leaving a rotting mess within five to 15 years.

During a typical home inspection, the inspector is there to give an opinion based on his visual observation, knowledge and experiences using non-intrusive surface testing tools. If the condition of the walls is in question, the inspector can speculate as to whether it is a real structural problem or not. They are unable to confirm in a visual inspection.

Costly Damages
One piece of information that was unavailable to us in conducting our survey is the associated costs to repair moisture damages. Actual damage costs are almost impossible to acquire. Builder liability claims are not public information. General remediation repairs are usually kept confidential with signed agreements between the parties. What we do know is that it is a rather large sum of money. Our own experience says there are very few repairs that are not a minimum of five figures, with many of them being six figures or more. Just look at all of the water cleanup and restoration companies that are in the marketplace now – these repairs carry an expensive price tag!

People replace windows primarily because they leak, both air and water. Air leaks cause condensation that drains into the walls during the winter. Water will leak through holes in or around a window unit when it rains. Over time, the moisture intrusions create damage below the window. This type of damage typically cannot be seen when the old and new window transfer is made, meaning that damage can go completely undetected. Window replacement in a house doesn’t guarantee that there are no damages lurking in the walls.

Today’s homes are complicated building systems. Everything has to work together to provide a comfortable and safe home environment. The more complex the system, the more problematic a moisture intrusion issue can be.

Homebuyers simply want to know what they are buying and if there are problems with their new home. Sellers want to be able to accurately assess the value of their home and want protection from moisture disclosure issues. Real estate agents worry about receiving a letter or phone call post-closing concerning moisture discovery. In the world of moisture intrusion, it’s what you can’t see that matters most.

Peace of Mind – it’s why we test homes for moisture.

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Moisture & Structural Assessments in Residential and Commercial Properties

 

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Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding Twin Cities areas throughout
Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

 

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