Close-up Of A Shocked Woman Looking At Mold On Wall

So what’s the story with Mold?

Many of our inspection clients (especially first-time homebuyers) are concerned about the presence of mold. Especially if they have young children.

There’s mold in the air wherever we go, even outside. But if there is a lot of mold inside, it may cause health issues.If there’s a musty smell, usually it’s because there’s mold. It can grow on cardboard, sheetrock, wood, carpets, clothing, etc. Anything organic, including dust.

If it’s a fairly small area, less than 10 square feet, it can be dealt with by a homeowner. A mixture of 10% bleach and 90% water in a spray bottle can do the trick. There are lots of DIY mold cleaning products available in home improvement stores.

If it’s a larger area, you should call a New York State licensed Mold Assessor who will analyze the situation and write a prescription (report) for curing the issue. (The assessor is forbidden to remediate because of the conflict of interest.)

A Mold Assessor typically takes swabs (samples) of the mold and does air tests in order to determine the extent and type of mold. The test materials get sent to a lab and ultimately the Mold Assessor will advise you what to do. Once you have the Assessor’s report, you can have a Remediator do the work.

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Man holding building plans

What is a PHASE 1 and PHASE 2 Environmental Assessment?

A Phase 1 environmental site assessment is for commercial properties and is an investigation that looks for potential or existing environmental issues. It includes the land as well as well as the buildings. Testing is typically not included in a Phase 1, but, investigation of public records and discussion with occupants is included. It’s generally considered a first step in the process of finding out if there is an environmental issue.

If the property appears to have contamination issues, a Phase 2 can be done as part of due diligence. A Phase 2 is considered much more intrusive and involves actual collection of samples, testing and a more detailed investigation. It’s typically done if the Phase 1 results in suspicion of environmental issues.

We hope this bit of information is of interest to you. For more related information click on this link:

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Large House with blue sky

How much is a New Roof?

One of the more expensive items that come up during our home inspections are old roofs that need replacement older style basic 3-tab shingles have a life expectancy of approximately 20 years. Newer style “architectural” shingles (the most common these days) have a life expectancy of about 30 years and are much more attractive. There are upgraded architectural shingles available that can have a life expectancy of 50 or more years. Slate roofs can last hundreds of years!

Is a new roof really needed?  Perfectly good roofs sometimes leak around chimneys or other penetrations. Sometimes roofs have mechanical damage from falling branches, and wind. So, they can be dealt with by repairs rather than replacement. Roof repairs can be in the hundreds of dollars while roof replacement is thousands of dollars.

According to several websites, the average roof replacement performed by licensed and qualified roofing contractors for a typical 2,500 SF ranch style house ranges between $7,000 and $13,000 (architectural style shingles). This includes removing the existing roof shingles, which is highly recommended for longevity and is required by the shingle manufacturer in-order to honor the warranty.

Of course, there are many variables in the pricing, but I hope this basic information is of benefit to you.

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Indoor atrium

What is PLP and CAM?

PLP is a term used in commercial real estate and stands for PUBLIC LIGHT AND POWER. There’s usually a separate electrical meter that feeds power to the common areas of the building, such as hallways, stairs and parking lot lights. PLP is one of the components of CAM.

CAM stands for COMMON AREA MAINTENANCE. Common area maintenance also includes cleaning, landscaping, and repairs/maintenance. All this stuff gets added up and charged back to the tenants on a pro-rata share basis. There are lots of variations on this theme and it’s all dictated by the leases in effect for the tenant spaces.

You probably already know all of this, but I figured I’d mention it anyway.

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Are Dehumidifiers worth it?

I wanted to share my opinion with you about dehumidifiers. Basically, we feel that all basements should have dehumidifiers. Basements are inherently moist areas. As a result, mold, dust mites, wood destroying insects, and musty smells can develop.

We also feel that all dehumidifiers should have a pump and hose connection so that the water automatically gets pumped out of the structure rather than into a bucket that requires frequent emptying. (Dehumidifiers with a bucket are almost useless because we forget to empty the bucket and the dehumidifier turns itself off.)

Also, dehumidifiers can be adjusted so that they automatically turn off when the air is dry (so they don’t waste electricity). The adjustment dial is called a humidistat and should be set between 30% and 50% to reduce the possibility of excess moisture issues.

So, the bottom line is, properly set up dehumidifiers are absolutely worth it for the comfort and safety of your home. A good dehumidifier with a pump can be had for under $300 and it’s a great investment.

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Trees by a roof

Commercial Building Roofing Costs

While performing our commercial building inspections, we often run across roofing systems that need replacement due to leakage and old age. Dealing with leaky or old commercial building roofs is one of the most expensive maintenance items that building owners have to deal with on a periodic basis (today’s roof materials typically have a life expectancy of 15 to 25 years.) Roof installation costs vary from $3.50 per square foot to $7.50 per square foot. So, a 15,000 SF building roof could cost in the $100,000 range (more or less). The cost can be substantially higher depending on many factors including the condition of the roof deck, the location of the building, ease of access and total square footage of the job.

There are many different types of roofing materials and methods of installation. The 3 most common types of roofs installed these days are Bituminous, EPDM and TPO.

Modified Bitumen roofing systems have been in common use for commercial properties for many decades. This type of roof is also known as “torch-down” or “built-up”.

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) it is commonly known as a rubber roof and is a single-ply membrane that consists of a synthetic rubber. EPDM has been used on commercial facilities since the 1960s and is considered a tried-and-true system.

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) is also a single-ply roofing membrane and is becoming a very common roofing material used on commercial properties these days. This roof is a single layer of synthetics and reinforcing material for flat roofs.

So I hope this little bit of information is helpful to you in dealing with commercial buildings. Feel free to call if you have any questions or if there is anything I can do for you.

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Those pesky Termites are insidious!

Webster’s dictionary defines insidious as “having a gradual and cumulative effect: subtle, developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent.”

Often, termites are present but not apparent.  As examples, in a slab construction house, all the wood framing is usually covered with sheet rock.  In a colonial with a finished basement, only a little wood is exposed.  So, we may see no signs of termites but it’s very possible that termites are present and active but not visible.

In many cases, we see termite “mud tunnels” or other signs of termites without seeing any live termites.  In fact we very rarely see live termites, because they are insidious.  A wall can look completely normal and yet when the sheet rock is removed, massive termite damage can become apparent.

Sometimes termite damage is minor and simple to repair.  But sometimes termite damage is very extensive and expensive to repair.

There are too many possibilities to discuss them all in this email, but, our strong recommendation is, every wood structure should be protected with an annual termite inspection.  Even if somebody says “we never had a problem” they should still have an annual termite inspection. The inspection cost is minimal compared to potential repair costs.

I recently called some extermination companies for pricing information.  Annual termite inspections cost range from $100-$135 per year.  Termite treatment ranges from approximately $600-$1,200 depending on the size of the house.  Feel free to reply to this email if you would like an extermination company recommendation.

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What’s a “Package Unit” on a Commercial Property?

When we are doing our commercial property inspections, particularly on strip centers or industrial buildings, we are often asked what is a “package unit”. The answer is, it’sa self-contained air conditioning and heating unit typically mounted on the roof of a single-story building. The package unit is rectangular, about 4 to 6 feet high and has a cooling section, a heating section, and a blower. Usually it’s connected to a gas supply for heat, and electrical for the blower and air conditioning section. It’s clean and simple to install and has a life expectancy of about 15 to 20 years.

I know you probably already know all this stuff, but I hope this little tidbit of information helps!

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