Category Archives: Featured

9 Checkpoints for a Safe Deck

deck safetyIt’s fall, and you know what that means! Time to grill out with friends, watch football, and hang out on the deck. It is important to thoroughly inspect your deck regularly to ensure safety of friends and family members who hang out there. Here are 9 connections to check to be certain your deck is safe.

You can also contact Avalon Home Inspections for a Deck Inspection.

Click here to schedule an inspection or call us at 678-782-3497 if you have questions about your deck or other safety concerns in your home.

To check the key connection points yourself, be sure to inspect the following:

1. Ledger Attachment
The ledger connection, where the deck connects to the house, is the most common failure point on a poorly built deck. It’s very important to use lag screws (SDS) or through-bolts rather than nails to secure your deck to the ledger board.

2. Joist-to-Ledger
The floor joists intersect into a beam or ledger board and must be properly secured.

3. Joist-to-Beam
The beams must be secured to the joists that support the floor of the deck.

4. Beam-to-Post
The post must be properly connected to the beams underneath the deck.

5. Railing Post-to-Deck Framing
People often get injured due to weak or wobbly railings on a deck. The railing must be properly attached to the perimeter of the deck as well as the floor joists running underneath the deck.

6.Stair Stringer-to-Deck Framing
The stair stringers that run along each of the stair steps (or treads) must be secured to the deck framing.

7. Stair Tread-to-Stringer
Each stair step (or tread) must be tied to the stair stringers.

Post bases are used to connect the post to the footing or concrete slab underneath your deck.

For more information about deck safety, check out the following video:

Should I Buy a Home with Termite Damage?

Buying a home is a major investment. Before completing the purchase, most homebuyers hire an inspector, like Avalon Home Inspections, to find out about the homes:

– plumbing
– electrical systems
– roof
– attic
– foundation
– heating system
– central air conditioning system
– insulation
– doors and windows
– fireplace
– and so much more!

In addition, we also look for visible signs of termite infestation. If infestation or damage is found, the buyer should obtain estimates for treatment and repair. These costs may be negotiated with the seller.

Some buyers find it shocking that brick or masonry homes have termite infestation or damage. Even these homes have wooden components including framing and flooring as well as furniture. Brick houses are not termite proof!

Newer homes may also be susceptible to infestation and damage. Termites will infest wood of newly built homes just as readily as older homes. If considering the purchase of a newly constructed home, ask the seller whether home has received a termite pretreatment. Newer foundations may be built with termite-resistant wood or may be treated to prevent infestation.

Buyers can also ask for infestation history of the home. Some states require sellers to disclose history of termite infestation and damage. Termite warranties may also transfer with the house, providing buyers peace of mind.

For additional peace of mind, if termite damage is found, pest control companies often offer a complete assessment of the damage FREE OF CHARGE. Before purchasing your home, a home inspection, along with a termite history or assessment will give you the peace of mind you are looking for.

6 Signs of Mold in Your Home

One of the most frequent questions I hear from homeowners is in the area of mold detection. Most Americans are aware that mold is toxic to overall personal health and to the health of a house, but many are not sure how to detect it. I hear questions like:

“How do I know if I have mold in my house?”

“If my son is coughing at night, does that mean our house is full of mold?”

“Are older homes more susceptible to mold infestation?”

“Doesn’t every house have a little bit of mold in it?”

Hopefully, this list will help you determine if mold is a possibility. However, the only way to accurately assess the amount of mold in your home is to test for it. The three main types of test for mold are:

  1. Air Testing
  2. Surface Testing
  3. Bulk Testing

Avalon Home Inspections can test your home if you see, smell, or detect mold issues anywhere in your home or if someone in your home has allergies or asthma and you want to be sure to keep the mold to a minimum. It’s best to have mold testing performed for you by a qualified mold professional. Hiring a professional mold tester who is experienced at collecting and analyzing mold samples will always lead to the most accurate results.

If you see any of the following signs below, contact Avalon Home Inspections for a complete mold evaluation:

Mold Smell

One of the simplest ways to determine if mold is growing inside or outside your home is to give it the old sniff test. For those who have smelled mold in the past, they will likely never forget the smell. If you have never had the pleasure of smelling mold, I describe it this way. Mold on the outside of your house often smells stale, but mold on the inside smells musty and damp. A mold smell is not something to ignore. A little Febreeze is not the answer. If you have sniffed out some mold, have it taken care of before it becomes a pervasive problem.

Visible Growth

Of course, if you see mold, then you know for sure that SOME mold exists. The question is, “How much?” It would be easy to assume that what you see is what you get, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. It’s the mold you CAN’T see that is often the scariest.

Water Leaks

Current or previous leaks are often the indicator that mold is present. Whether it was a leaky pipe or a leak in the roof, these often produce moisture in overlooked places.

Water Intrusion

Water intrusion can take on many forms. Whether a sewer line is backed up or a pipe breaks or flooding occurs from an outside building, each problem can lead to mold if not cleaned carefully and completely. Often these problems cannot be spotted immediately, which leads to the probability of mold.

Past Flooding

If your house has been in a flood there’s a good chance you will end up with a mold problem. After a flood the best thing you can do is contact a mold remediation company or water damage specialist who performs clean ups of flooded homes.

This way you can be sure that all mold problems will be properly taken care of. You will also have the peace of mind of knowing that your home will be completely safe to continue living in after it’s been professionally remediated.

Health Symptoms

Black mold is known for causing the most damage to our bodies because it contains mycotoxins that affect our skin, respiratory functions, and more. If you or someone you love is experiencing a combination of any of the following symptoms, I recommend an inspections of your home:

    Respiratory problems
    Skin inflammation
    Irritation of the mucous membranes
    Damage to internal organs
    Mental impairment
    Immune system suppression

There is no cure or antidote which can be taken for toxic black mold. The only solution is to remove the toxic black mold from your environment. Once you are away from toxic black mold your body will start to recover and most of your symptoms should go away over time. However some of the damage from toxic black mold can be permanent.

Below is a diagram showing common areas for hidden mold. Inspect those areas yourself, but for complete peace of mind, give Avalon a call.