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  1. #1
    RobertSmith's Avatar
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    Default Texas inspector question

    Last edited by RobertSmith; 12-20-2007 at 09:05 AM.
    Certified Master Inspector CMI

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    SOP says:

    10) inspect for the presence, and report the approximate depth of, insualtion where visible;....

    "report the approximate depth":

    Does that mean they want actual measurments, say 6-8 inches? or

    can i just say insulation thickness needs additional insulation to bring up to proper R-value.
    About the only way I know to report the "Approximate depth", would be to stick a tape in it and read the depth. You could also ballpark the depth, if you can see the rafters you know that it is the depth of the rafter. If it is X over the rafters just add that to the size of the rafter. All in all not too complicated and this is something many inspectors do during a normal inspection, even outside the Lone Star state.

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

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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Ballpark approach is my method. I write 8-10, 3-7, 0-3. I stay away from R-values, different materials have different values.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  4. #4
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    What Eric said.


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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    What Richard and Eric said too. Stay away from R-values.

    Because attic insulation depths vary throughout the attic I have even used
    0-12+ before. If your in a home where a teen is, pay attention to the insulation over his room. You might notice that the level of insulation has settled due to loud music vibrations onto the ceiling.

    rick


  6. #6
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    SOP says:

    10) inspect for the presence, and report the approximate depth of, insualtion where visible;....

    "report the approximate depth":

    Does that mean they want actual measurments, say 6-8 inches? or

    can i just say insulation thickness needs additional insulation to bring up to proper R-value.

    Robert.

    I never measure (unless it's new construction and I'm doing quality control). The word "approximate" does not imply accuracy-- to me it implies what I would think the 'average' depth would be.

    Since I cannot EVER access 100% of all the attic (and I state so), I use the 'Scott' method and scann across as much of the attic that I can see and provide an indication where thare are areas less than others and also areas where the insulatiion needs re-distribution due to having been piled up.

    For the most part, I go by the ceiling joists and provide my approximate value of what I can see and report on. Usually, there will be a depth marker stapled to the inside of the ceiling joists that is an 'approximate' value. I usually look at a couple of these and determine the depth is 8-10" or 10-12" (an so-forth) thick, then describe what type insulation I see (cellulose, fiberglass, rockwool, batt-fiberglass, etc...) .

    rr


  7. #7
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    I also add this for wall insulation.
    EXTERNAL WALL INSULATION: Due to finished surfaces it cannot be determined if or how much insulation is in the walls.


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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    What the hell, nobody's working today?

    I'll usually take a photo of the depth marker and the cert on newer homes and add that this was not all inclusive

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Barry,

    I'm trying out the semi-retired thing. Not my choice, just the market right now.

    rick


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Barry,

    I'm trying out the semi-retired thing. Not my choice, just the market right now.

    rick
    Rick,

    Never retired if you're married. Always a honey-do list and if there isn't we create a list for ourselves.
    Ain't life grand!

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    I know what you mean. I've been working for the last hour hanging a new hall way light fixtures. Should have took 15 min. at the max but standing on a top rung of a ladder is not my thing anymore.

    I can't wait to leave for my 2 pm. appt.

    rick


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    WooHoo... They both work.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Jim,

    You caught that before I had time edit the pictures. I've been looking upwards for about an hour and got myself disoriented.

    rick


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    WooHoo... They both work.
    My sniffer is detecting reversed polarity better jump back up there and check that out.

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Barry,

    I'll have to sell it "as-is" now.

    rick


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Barry,

    I'll have to sell it "as-is" now.

    rick
    They are nice fixtures and I'm sure you'll note all "professionally installed" upgrades in your disclosure.

    Don't forget to create, I meant get, a receipt for the labor and any electrician supplied materials.

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    can i just say insulation thickness needs additional insulation to bring up to proper R-value.
    Robert,

    As the others have stated, stay away R-values (unless it is printed on the facing, and then only refer to it as 'R-XX shown on facing', meaning that 'you' 'are not' specifying what the R-value is, you are just reporting what is written on the facing). Of course ... if you can see the facing, something is wrong, i.e., the insulation is not installed properly.

    Now for a question: If you are not taking about batts but loose fill, how would you know the R-value without measuring its depth?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    One thing I have observed is not to rely on the measurement placards that the insulation guys install. More than once I gave seen where the placard is stapled higher to the joist than it actually is. I always put my tape measure in the loose fill at at least a couple of areas to double check.


    Eric


  19. #19
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    SOP says:

    10) inspect for the presence, and report the approximate depth of, insualtion where visible;....

    "report the approximate depth":

    Does that mean they want actual measurments, say 6-8 inches? or

    can i just say insulation thickness needs additional insulation to bring up to proper R-value.
    Robert,

    SOP means what it says: "approximate depth"

    As noted in above posts simply provide a range bases upon your tape measure, viewing depth gauges installed by insulation dudes or gauging depth as compared to ceiling joists.

    I'd still try and avoid R-value as best as possible. Currently it is: R-30 or R-38 (I know Jerry P. will have this). It has/is changing and some folks are putting in R-38 with the data sheet.

    I have put R-value in my report when I actually see the "data sheet" at the top of the attic access stairs ... AND I note that the information is from the "data sheet".

    If there is no "data sheet" then I report "approximate depth" and make a comment that there was "no data sheet available".


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    OK...I'll ask.

    Why do you all "avoid" mentioning an approximate R-value?


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Because it is a precise measurement and TREC SOP does not require you to report it.

    Same thing goes for determining the size of a condensing unit.

    Years ago, another inspector I know wrote up that a YORK unit was a 5 ton when in fact it was a 4 ton. It was a mistake on his part writing the report knowing it was a 4 ton but called it out as a 5 ton.

    When the equipment latter had problems and the owners found out it was only a 4ton, quess who was buying them a 5-ton unit.

    rick


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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    OK...I'll ask.

    Why do you all "avoid" mentioning an approximate R-value?
    Also, R-value is the value that insulation will provide when installed in accordance with its installation requirements, either uncompressed or compressed.

    For batt insulation, the R-value is based on being uncompressed, and, when compressed, the R-value drops, depending on the percentage of compression, the R-value can drop significantly.

    For loose fill insulation, the R-value is that which is specified by the manufacturer through testing at the depth of it typical lifetime settlement, thus, (using numbers which make the calculation simple, but which are not representative of real numbers) if loose fill provides an R-value of 30 with a depth of 8", then its installed depth needs to be 10" if it is expected to settle 20% over its lifetime. Walking through loose fill insulation significantly compresses the insulation, causing it to lose R-value.

    Here are some examples (from the Florida Energy Code) of reductions based on the insulation being compressed: (just providing a few examples from the table for R-19 and R-30)
    % of original thickness - R values
    -------100---------------19 / 30
    --------90---------------18 / 28
    --------50---------------12 / 18
    --------20----------------7 / 10

    What happens when you compress R-30 under a lateral brace? You compress it to maybe 50% or less, right? The R-value is now only R-18 there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Recently I've begun adding a line "approximate R-value = xx" and based on cellulose being roughly 3.8/inch and fiberglass similarly being 3.2/inch, I enter the inches and a number is calculated. Many people want to know how much they have in the house they're buying.

    Anyway, I state "approximate".



    The Federal Trade Commission prohibits expressing R-values in terms of inches, because R-value is not a linear measurement.


  24. #24
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Robert,

    As the others have stated, stay away R-values (unless it is printed on the facing, and then only refer to it as 'R-XX shown on facing', meaning that 'you' 'are not' specifying what the R-value is, you are just reporting what is written on the facing). Of course ... if you can see the facing, something is wrong, i.e., the insulation is not installed properly.

    Now for a question: If you are not taking about batts but loose fill, how would you know the R-value without measuring its depth?
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    One thing I have observed is not to rely on the measurement placards that the insulation guys install. More than once I gave seen where the placard is stapled higher to the joist than it actually is. I always put my tape measure in the loose fill at at least a couple of areas to double check.


    Eric

    The "Higher" the placker is installed on the ceiling joist is not a problem... it (the attic) just has more insulation than they are indicating.

    Now... if they burn 1 or 2 inches by installing the placker too "low" (like I've seen recently) then that is an issue whereas they (the insulation contractors) are ripping-off the builder and the buyers by not adding enough inslation and making it look like there is enough.

    rr


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Overall I would say that depth of attic insulation being not adequate is probably the least comment I use. Maybe on a much older home do you find that the attic insulation has settled some.

    rick


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    The "Higher" the placker is installed on the ceiling joist is not a problem... it (the attic) just has more insulation than they are indicating.

    Now... if they burn 1 or 2 inches by installing the placker too "low" (like I've seen recently) then that is an issue whereas they (the insulation contractors) are ripping-off the builder and the buyers by not adding enough inslation and making it look like there is enough.

    rr


    Richard,

    Somehow that's what I meant to imply - my dislexia must have kicked in!

    Eric


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Overall I would say that depth of attic insulation being not adequate is probably the least comment I use. Maybe on a much older home do you find that the attic insulation has settled some.

    rick
    Actually inspected a home 2 weeks ago, built in the 50s, that had no insulation at all. The purchaser kept saying, "none at all??"

    Of course, rat droppings probably do have some R-value.

    bruce


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Walking through loose fill insulation significantly compresses the insulation, causing it to lose R-value.
    Which brings up a question: So how does everyone go through attics? Do you just crawl, traipse and shuffle through attic disturbing the insulation? Or do you step, cover previous footrprint, step, cover, etc...

    Obviously, we have to look over as much of the attic as we can. What do y'all do?

    A house I did last week had a radiant barrier rolled out over the entire attic on top of the insulation. I had to disclaim quite a bit because I could only step to the HVAC and look around from there.

    Bruce


  29. #29
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    JB--

    What you did with that home is all you could do... and that is exactly what should be noted in the report.

    Anyone who states that the entire attic was inspected (even if you could go down the middle, all they way, is nuts by doing so. You may have been able to see all of the roof structure, but you certainly cannot seel the ENTIRE attic because of the low areas, the covered insulated areas, the ducting, etc...

    If the insulation is disturbed, noted it. I have been called by a homeowners selling agent (after the buyer backed out) to come back over to the property to re-distribute the insulation that I disturbed (which I didn't-- it was already that way). I did not note in the report the areas as been previously disturbed and/ or moved around. However, the buyer had come up into the attic because as soon as I climbed up the pull-down, I noticed wiring insulation that had been damaged (lightening strike). He had noticed the condition of the disturbed insulation and had commented on such. This was the home that I posted pictures about a year ago regarding a lightening strike and damaged wiring insulation. Some had commented that it looked like rodent chewings, but as I later found out, it (the home) had been struck by lightening and an insurance claim filed because of it.

    Long story short, had I not had the buyer up there (in the attic) to back-me up, because of damaged wiring insulation, chances are... I would have had a heck of a fight with the realtors and their sellers about the responsibility of the damaged insulation.

    Turns out, these people were just pizzed that the deal fell thru and they didn't make the sale.

    Lesson learned, always note (unless it's a new home) that a visual inspection has noted some areas of the attic areas insulation have been moved and/or disturbed and may require re-distrubution or the addition of more insulation to recover or augment the intended or needed insulating value.

    Note what you can inspect and note what you cannot inspect--

    rr


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    Long story short, had I not had the buyer up there (in the attic) to back-me up,
    Or take a photo upon entering showing the disturbed insulation (or upon exiting showing the disturbed insulation and show it as the 'before' photo ) ... as long as you put that photo in your report - you will be covered that way too.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    If the insulation is disturbed, noted it. I have been called by a homeowners selling agent (after the buyer backed out) to come back over to the property to re-distribute the insulation that I disturbed (which I didn't-- it was already that way).....rr
    I realize that I've not "thought of everything" when it comes to report writing and I have much to learn, but that right there is a new one.

    Guess I need to add a line to the reports

    Thanks for letting me know.

    Bruce


  32. #32
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Or take a photo upon entering showing the disturbed insulation (or upon exiting showing the disturbed insulation and show it as the 'before' photo ) ... as long as you put that photo in your report - you will be covered that way too.
    Naaah, JP... that female-dog of an agent wanted blood (mine) . I really didn't give a poop either! I think after her second threatening call, I told her to jump her arse up there and rake that mess herself... I do remember my very last comment to her was, "Just don't expet a Christmas card from me this year!"

    rr


  33. #33
    Tom Munds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Texas inspector question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Barry,

    I'm trying out the semi-retired thing. Not my choice, just the market right now.

    rick
    I can't help but wonder if I am more retired(retarded) than you. It's been slowwww(stopped almost in reverse...yup my lights are on.)


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