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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Twin Cities, Minnesota
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    Default Possible fire damage?

    The rafters in this section of the attic have all been sprayed white. I didn't see any signs of charring, but isn't this usually an indication there's fire damage? It's a bank-owned property so there's no disclosure. What do you usually tell your clients when you run in to this?

    Thanks.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    WESTMINSTER CO
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    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    Jon

    i see you are in minnesota. moist world up there. they also do this when mould like substance is found. if you get up there again take a closer look around ,like on drywall, and under insulation.look for those black spots

    charlie


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Twin Cities, Minnesota
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    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    it's interesting you say that -- because it looked like roof vents were recently installed. Could they have had moisture problems up there and decided to add vents and spray paint everything?

    -Jon
    Errickson Home Inspections, LLC
    http://www.erricksonhomeinspections.com

  4. #4
    Dave Gagneur's Avatar
    Dave Gagneur Guest

    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    Jon,

    Usually you see this to hold back that smokey smell associated with fire/smoke damage, so you won't necessarily have any charring up there, smoke damage is enough to require spraying the rafters/trusses. As Charlie stated, look under some insulation just to rule out fire/smoke damages. FYI, roof vents could've been added to increase ventilation or possibly to help prevent smoke smell from entering the home.

    Good luck!

    Dave


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Twin Cities, Minnesota
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    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    The chimney runs up the outside wall next to this portion of the attic. I did recommend having the chimney flues cleaned and inspected before use -- they looked like they were well used.

    -Jon
    Errickson Home Inspections, LLC
    http://www.erricksonhomeinspections.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    Tell your client that the attic has been painted (white, silver or whatever) and you do not know why it was done. Then add that it is usually done to cover smoke damage, but you have no way of knowing unless you find damage.

    When I have found this I have made a call to the local fire department to see if they have a record of a fire at that address. Most of the time they are very helpful and you will find that the home did have a fire. I bet that in the past 15 years I have found 30+ homes like this.

    As for covering up mold? I have never seen this done, so I would not even bring it up.

    Looking at the third set of rafters in the photo, it looks like you can see some soot or black smudges.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
    Tom Camp's Avatar
    Tom Camp Guest

    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    Jon, I agree with Scott. The painted joist could be to cover smoke damage, if so some one did a thorough job because I saw no over spray on the bat insulation (maybe the insulation was replaced). If there were much smoke or fire damage there is usually some residual odor in the attic.

    Tom Camp
    http://Colorado Springs - Home Inspections, Commercial Inspections, Radon Inspections, Mold Inspections
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    St Paul, MN
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    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    Jon,

    This is commonly done to seal smoke damage or mold. If so there was probably an insurance claim. You could advise your clients to obtain a C.L.U.E. report from their insurance agent to find out if there have been any past claims. https://www.choicetrust.com/servlet/...nnel=clue_info

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    Is this the same house that has the oil fired boiler chimney just on the other side of the gable vent (note similar location for the bathroom exhaust fan - by the way the un-insulated plastic flex should be replaced and the distance and elevation measured the exhaust may need to be relocated as well)?

    If so the mystery covered might also be the red pigment dye added to the fuel oil which it is not uncommon to have it stain wherever the exhaust (esp moisture) condenses/falls. If same home that tall chimney terminating below the peak and adjacent to the gable vent could explain source of red dye stains, soot, or both. Moisture pouring out of that short chimney could likewise be problematic and cause other problems such as mildew, mould, etc.

    Kills and other similar pigmented sealer blockers can hide this red staining as well.

    I do not think the gable vent would have been a smart "new addition" to the attic, esp. with location of boiler chimney.

    I would recommend changing the material for venting the bathroom exhaust vent from that plastic flex to an insulated foil flex or other proper insulated venting - and possible relocation of its termination should the proximity be too close to that gable vent - and the boiler chimney and/or any eyebrow vents on the roof. It looks as though moisture exhausted from that vent might be washing the boiler chimney - not sure of the time of day regarding shadow lines - or direction of prevailing winds from the photo, but you're right the height and location of that chimney is problematic.




  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Possible fire damage?

    HG: different house than the one in your picture, but thanks for the tips on the venting material.

    Scott: Excellent idea to call the fire dept. I called them and permits dept. Turns out there was a fire damage permit issued in 1992.

    Ken: if I'm reading the CLUE website correctly they would only get insurance records from the past seven years. But I'll keep that site handy for the future. Thanks.

    -Jon
    Errickson Home Inspections, LLC
    http://www.erricksonhomeinspections.com

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