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  1. #1
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Unidentified Staining

    Has anyone seen stains like this before?
    I found this during a home inspection in Binghamton, NY
    The house was built in 2000, forced air heat.. I have no clue.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Looks like soot/smoke from a fire.

    If you did not see any signs of a fire in the attic, I would be looking for other sources of combustion gases like disconnected flue pipe, etc.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Is the attic over a garage? Soot from vehicle exhaust?

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  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Need more information... What did you see in the attics and is the furnace in the adjacent area...

    Best

    Ron


  5. #5
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    The attic is untouched at both the main house and garage. No evidence anywhere of fire (That was my original thought). The staining was at the entire rear of the house (just spotty) and at the garage side.
    The furnace was high efficiency and operating fine, 2 gas fireplaces with direct venting were in good condition, water heater was high efficiency and operating fine..

    just very strange.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Fireplace, wood stove, coal stove, etc. (esp. on the first floor elll or basement)?

    Smothering/appliance room no fresh air intake?

    Might also be algae.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Whatever it is, it is leaking out of the house. So I would be wondering what is behind that vinyl.


  8. #8
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    I just don't know... I suppose I could report as areas of staining..
    I wish I could access insurance records to see if there was a fire but on the other hand, there was absolutely no evidence of fire in the attics..
    Hmmmmm.....


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon mackay View Post
    I just don't know... I suppose I could report as areas of staining..
    I wish I could access insurance records to see if there was a fire but on the other hand, there was absolutely no evidence of fire in the attics..
    Hmmmmm.....
    https://www.choicetrust.com/servlet/...chor=undefined

    If your clients have an insurance agent they can typically run the report for free to find if there were any previous claims.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    There should be a layer of house wrap or building paper behind the vinyl. Then there should be sheathing behind that. For that much leakage, whether it is soot or humid air, something is not right.

    I would point it out as suspicious, possibly recommend an energy audit, but further investigation if you don't have enough info to make a conclusion.

    It would almost warrant a return visit, depending on circumstances. I'm thinking the place may not be sheathed properly. $$$


  11. #11

    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    There should be a layer of house wrap or building paper behind the vinyl. Then there should be sheathing behind that. For that much leakage, whether it is soot or humid air, something is not right.

    I would point it out as suspicious, possibly recommend an energy audit, but further investigation if you don't have enough info to make a conclusion.

    It would almost warrant a return visit, depending on circumstances. I'm thinking the place may not be sheathed properly. $$$

    This is also what I was thinking. Lack of paper, improper sheathing, etc. Energy Audit would be a good idea along with siding professional.

    Michael Carson
    Inspect It Right Home Inspections L.L.C.
    www.inspectitrighthomeinspection.com

  12. #12
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    I will be going back today to check it out further.

    Hopefully I can get a peak behind the siding to see if anything looks wrong there.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    If it's predominately on one side of the home (downwind normally) I'd bet that the home is losing quite a bit of air (normally slightly positive pressure within the home) through that side of the home and it's 'dust' and other exhausted air carried materials from beneath the vinyl...

    Just a guess...

    We know why you fly: because the bus is too expensive and the railroad has a dress code...
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  14. #14
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Yes, it is apparent on the rear (east) and at the right side (north).

    I wish I had a thermal camera just to see what I could see.. These are the types of thing that drive me crazy..
    Hopefully its nothing major but if I can't identify anything, I'm not sure how to report on it. I will see what I can come up with today.


  15. #15
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    After looking behind a panel of siding, I discovered that there is no tyvec wrapping, just bare sheathing.
    I wonder if it installed behind the sheathing.. Is there any IBC information on this?


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    John with lack of moisture barrier I would be more inclined to believe it is an organic growth such as the algae found on many roof shingles. If you look at the picture of the roof/wall, you see the staining on the J'channel as well as the siding. The sheathing may have gotten wet before vinyl was installed and algae began to grow. North and East sides more than South and West would make sense. Just my guess.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    VH: I concur.

    More than one topic string for the same house, rather telling:

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...ouse-wrap.html


    suppositions that a wrap behind sheathing...no comment.

    IBC/IRC not applicable. NYS has their own codes. Do you kmow which applies?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-18-2009 at 06:36 PM.

  18. #18
    Rod Hummel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Warning, Layman's opinion:

    Many years ago a friend had a similar problem and asked for me to come over and look at it. The structure used a joist cavity for part of a supply plenum, with a hack installation using no panning or mastic to seal the system.

    In that instance, the defect caused the envelope to be positively pressurized so much that whistling was occurring at some siding joints.

    What especially makes me think this might be the case is that along the rake of the roof line in the picture is the "spouting" like stains directed upwards.

    Again, just a thought from a non-professional.

    Rod


  19. #19
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Now that's a thought..
    That actually makes the most sense so far.

    Very interesting. Of coarse the basement is finished so no ducts are visible. We would have to do duct blasting to determine that.

    I could make a note in the report on that possibility.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Jon,

    My advice is to simply say that you do not have any idea what has caused this to happen. I would then add that it appears like it is coming from the attic area of the home, but again you have no idea why. Tell them that you have consulted with several experts from across the country and you were given several opinions but none really seem to match up to the home.

    Bottom line is that you need to tell them that you do not know what has caused the black soot like stains.


    If they want to explore it more then it is up to them. You could suggest an IAQ professional who could test the air and the substance, but this is going to cost some change.

    Something is being forced out of that home.

    What is the area like that the home is in? Is it a subdivision with similar homes? Is it near any type of industry?

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

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Jon,


    Something is being forced out of that home.
    Not necessarily. From the pictures and what has been described (and which "exposures" (direction these planes face) and the type of siding - these "stains" or "collections" of darkened area appear at seams in the ever-shifting siding and at the (should be) flashed area where the lower roof abuts the 2-story wall and the similar "staining" at the soffit area.

    This is why I mentioned algae earler - although it could be similar biological such as mildew, etc. The collections appear where they would be expected with collections of dirt, dust, clinging to the siding, and at points where moisture would cling - slow to dry where east and north exposures would also be less likely to have intense sun exposure. You'd see this build up darn quick if there is a moisture migration problem from inside the residence either wicked up the walls, through the walls, or from the attic. Vinyl siding will open up at the seams when cooler, and expand and close those seams more when warm - it is not water proof.

    See this a lot when all things as they should be except - if an exhaust has been terminated via a soffit vent or on a wall too close to the soffit too or after finishing a basement; another example sealing up a home - no provision for fresh air from the outdoors during the heating season if using furnace - or no dehumidification provisions if hydronic has been made.

    Although I agree it could be some sort of sooting issue, It looks more likely to be biological and/or dirt collections + moisture travel paths on the siding and of the abutting roof.

    A swipe sample of the material might be telling. Blue-green algae is pretty easy to identify (often looks black esp. with dirt/organic material present & on peachy or yellow siding).


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    P.S. if as you say there is nothing but bare sheathing under this vinyl siding (as identified and indicated in the other topic string I linked to earlier), and no properly flashed drainage plain, I'd be concerned about moisture/water and sheathing damage behind the siding. Also caution against using pressurized water to clean the siding as this would make the situation worse (wetting the sheathing - trapping moisture, etc.). I'd also be suspect of the side wall flashing where the lower roof abuts/intersects it.


  23. #23
    Jon mackay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unidentified Staining

    Good point.

    The bathroom exhaust vents did not show at the exterior either and with blown in attic insulation who knows where the vents terminated.


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