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Durt Ferguson 04-19-2010 03:12 PM

Need advice on deck flashing, water stain
My wife an I have found what we would like to be our first home. We have a contract on the house, the legal/bank issues are being taken care of. I was present at the inspection last Friday. Overall, the house is in excellent shape. It is a raised ranch, built in 1975. I have one issue of concern :

- A new deck was put on the house ~5 years ago. No flashing was installed between the deck and the house's vinyl siding. I don't know if the deck was built by the homeowner at that time (not the current owner) who didn't know to put flashing in, or by a contractor who cut corners. Other than the flashing, the construction quality of the deck itself appears to be good.
- There is evidence of water in the basement ceiling at one point, located at the top of the wall, which just happens to be under one end of the deck. The evidence is that the ceiling tiles' adhesive (for about 3 tiles) has loosened and they are slightly lower than the surrounding tiles. Also, it looks like the area has been painted. The affected area is about 1ftx1ft.
- The moisture tests for this area of the ceiling, both in the tiles, and up in between them, came back negative. There was no reading whatsoever on the inspector's digital meter.
- In the dining area above, somewhat near the location of the stain in the ceiling below, about 2 feet inside the exterior wall by the deck, the carpet was slightly damp. It had not rained in over a week. The inspector, who seemed pretty straightforward and gave me a good feeling, said that he couldn't imagine why the carpet would be wet, and the ceiling below dry, unless something had been spilled there, since there was no plumbing in that area. (This was before we went outside and noticed there was no flashing on the deck).
- The homeowner came home partway through the inspection. He has three dogs, and he wanted to let them out. The inspector asked if anything had been spilled in the upstairs area, and did not specify where. The homeowner said that to his knowledge it had not. He did say, however, that one of his dogs had thrown up that morning and the carpet was wet from where he had cleaned it.

I am not completely convinced of the origin of the water issue in the basement ceiling. The area was dry. The carpet in the dining area was damp. Something could have very well been spilled in that dining area at some point, and that could be all there is to it. It also seems to me that if there was water coming in from the deck, enough to make the carpet 2 feet inside the wall damp, that it would have also registered as damp in the ceiling below. I guess I'm looking for peoples' opinions on this.

Thanks in advance!

gmhammes 04-19-2010 03:32 PM

Is the deck attached to the house or free standing?

Durt Ferguson 04-19-2010 03:51 PM

The deck ledger is attached to the house. There was a previous deck, there are old unused joist hangers protruding from the house.

Durt Ferguson 04-20-2010 07:25 AM

I should also note that the last time it rained prior to the inspection was 9 days before, we got .40 inches.

kwikfishron 04-20-2010 05:09 PM

199 Attachment(s)
If you want to know if the ledger “is the leak” take a hose to it with someone inside watching. I do this all the time to troubleshoot “mystery leaks”. Start low at the ledger and go slow working your way up to any windows, vents or other protrusions above it . If it’s been wet before it will be again so it might as well be you doing it this time to figure it out.

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