Connect:

Helpful Tips for Protecting Your Coastal Home or Condo

By John Romano, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
John Romano is a licensed home inspector and owner of Romano Home Inspection Inc. He serves clients in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Romano He has been inspecting residential homes, condominiums, multi unit homes, log homes, timber frame homes, mobile homes and commercial buildings since 1986. In addition to home inspections, Romano Home inspection also offers consulting services for home and building owners. As a home inspector he has inspected thousands of buildings from 1986 to present with many having historical interest. The buildings sale ranges from less than a quarter million dollars to multimillion dollar properties. John uses his expertise to educate you the client of the condition of what you may be purchasing and maintenance for the systems and components. My knowledge comes from hands on experience from the 1970’s with timber frame buildings, balloon framed buildings and platform framed buildings. John has attended Whittier Technical School for licenses in construction, heating and cooling in addition to countless hours of educational training with (ASHI) American Society of Home Inspectors. John is a long time member of (ASHI) American Society of Home Inspectors and a member of Historic Buildings Association. Besides being licensed in home inspection, he holds licenses in construction, heating, cooling (RRR) and wood destroying insects. John has been trained in carbon monoxide inspections with the Bacharach Company. John has retired from Title 5 septic system inspections and repairs as well as soil evaluations.
Romano Home Inspection
Protecting your coastal home or condo, Newburyport MA

Consider the importance of protecting your coastal home or condo! When you purchase a home or condominium near the ocean you need to be aware and accept the possibilities of damage to the building from extreme and hurricane force winds, wind driving rain and snow as well as over land flooding. Wind driven rain may penetrate the best constructed building envelop. This is all part of accepting the possibility of damaged homes or condos with living along the coast. Protecting your coastal home of condo is important for the longevity of the building as well as to minimize continuous repairs.

Buildings constructed next to or near the ocean tend to have more damage from these storms than inland buildings. Protecting your coastal home or condo may minimize damage that tends to occur with buildings near the ocean include roof shingle, roof sheathing, roof framing, exterior siding, exterior sheathing, windows and any other roofing and exterior related components exposed to the elements. There is a possibility of damage to the building from overland flooding.

Helpful Tips for Protecting Your Coastal Home or Condo When Renovating:

  • Roof shingle should be rated for winds up to 120 TO 150 MPH. These types of roof covering shingle tend to last with high winds if installed correctly. The shingle should be fixed to the roof with proper fasteners and roof shingle adhesive for coastal installations.
  • Roof framing and ceiling joists should have hurricane ties installed securing them to the top wall plates.
  • Wall framing should be secured with mechanical anchoring systems and fasteners to the sills and the sills to the foundations.
  • Vinyl siding is not recommended to be installed along immediate coastal areas. Vinyl siding tends to peel from the building. Vinyl siding is not fully water tight. It is the protection of the building sheathing and rough openings under the siding that prove to be water resistant if properly installed.
  • (Fiber cement) siding and hard board siding is not recommended as these siding materials tends to be swell, delaminate and break down more rapidly than wood.
  •  Wood siding is recommended for coastal siding
  •  Windows depending on how close to the coast they home is should be impact resistant windows. Coastal homes should have (Zone A) windows. These are impact resistant windows to a point and are vinyl clad to resist salt in the air and spray from salt water. The window frames, sash and panels are reinforced for high winds.
  • In many cases flood doors may be needed for crawl space and basements should overland flooding occur. Properly installed these flood doors allow water to come and go during overland flooding. In some cases with severe overland flooding during a severe storm damage to the foundation may still occur.

Buildings constructed next to or near the ocean tend to have more damage from these storms than inland buildings. Protecting your coastal home or condo may minimize damage that tends to occur with buildings near the ocean include roof shingle, roof sheathing, roof framing, exterior siding, exterior sheathing, windows and any other roofing and exterior related components exposed to the elements. There is a possibility of damage to the building from overland flooding.

Protecting your coastal home or condo with proper materials will help to minimize added funds needed for repairs. All exterior trim, fascia and soffit should be of a cellular PVC manufactured product rather than wood. These materials tend to stand up to high winds and are rot resistant. They need no finish applied. When using wood for fascia, soffits boards and trim the wood tends to rot quickly and paint tends to peel more rapid. Exterior decks, balconies and porch framing connectors should be stainless steel. Stainless steel fasteners should be used throughout the exterior of the building. All exterior attachments should be hurricane connected. Attic venting is not recommended due to the possibility of extreme wind and uplift of the roof frame. This however may contradict venting standards.

When purchasing a home or condo near or along the coast, the property should be professionally inspected to make sure damage has not incurred from wind driven rain, storm surge, debris or fire.

The first step in protecting coastal homes or condos is hiring an experienced professional inspector to evaluate all components with the home or condo. Even if you currently own a home or condo along the coast it is important to protect your coastal home or condo with first hiring an experienced professional home inspector.

Inspector Finds Hidden History in Local Antique Home

By John Romano, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
John Romano is a licensed home inspector and owner of Romano Home Inspection Inc. He serves clients in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Romano He has been inspecting residential homes, condominiums, multi unit homes, log homes, timber frame homes, mobile homes and commercial buildings since 1986. In addition to home inspections, Romano Home inspection also offers consulting services for home and building owners. As a home inspector he has inspected thousands of buildings from 1986 to present with many having historical interest. The buildings sale ranges from less than a quarter million dollars to multimillion dollar properties. John uses his expertise to educate you the client of the condition of what you may be purchasing and maintenance for the systems and components. My knowledge comes from hands on experience from the 1970’s with timber frame buildings, balloon framed buildings and platform framed buildings. John has attended Whittier Technical School for licenses in construction, heating and cooling in addition to countless hours of educational training with (ASHI) American Society of Home Inspectors. John is a long time member of (ASHI) American Society of Home Inspectors and a member of Historic Buildings Association. Besides being licensed in home inspection, he holds licenses in construction, heating, cooling (RRR) and wood destroying insects. John has been trained in carbon monoxide inspections with the Bacharach Company. John has retired from Title 5 septic system inspections and repairs as well as soil evaluations.
Romano Home Inspection
Antique Home North Shore of MA

In New England there are many old homes and multi unit dwellings and in some cases the purchase process can be long and intricate when dealing with an antique home.  Many homes range between 150 years and 300 years old.  I have been inspecting residential and commercial buildings including timber frame homes, timber frame barns, log homes, condominiums, multi unit buildings, manufactured homes, mobile homes and mix use buildings for over 30 years.  Prior to inspecting buildings, in the 1970’s I worked with repairing timber frame structures from replacement of components to just reinforcement as well as building.

In this blog I want to concentrate on home inspections of old homes 300 or so years old, and tell you one of my greatest finds from a historic antique home.

(First) a little bit about old antique homes.  Older and antique homes do tend to go through years of water penetration, moisture penetration, wood destroying insect penetration, decay and degradation to the super structure.  Many old homes were constructed close to the soil grade causing a verity of problems to the (Super structure that include sill plates, floor joists, girders, sub flooring, roof rafters, perlins, roof deck sheathing and ceiling joists)

The foundation walls (typically rubble stone) and sometimes (rubble stone with brick) tend to loosen up from water penetration and displace laterally from hydrostatic pressure, the weight of the building and gravity tend to cause heaving inward and outward (displacement).  The living quarters floors may bounce, sag and walls bow and crack as a result if this.

When you purchase an old home or antique home you can expect some or all of these issues to have taken place and still may be in need of repair and or reinforcement. My job performing a home inspection is inspect the building objectively and not alarm you of the deficiencies in the building but to make sure you aware of the buildings issues and needs. Along with pointing out the issues and needs we discuss good points about the building as well. We will provide you with a written narrative inspection report with photos and diagrams typically within 1 to 3 days depending on how busy we are.

We encourage you to stick with us like glue during the home inspection. This is your time to understand the dwelling inside and out.

(Now to the great find) During the late 1980’s I inspected an antique home that was once a tavern during the turn of the 1700’s.  A tavern is where the public went, to have food and refreshments, get warm and then be on their way.  The building was built on a hill, on a busy street near a hospital.  I was told that this antique had fascinating history as a safe house for the Underground Railroad, but no one knew where the hidden room was.

After I finished the exterior envelop home inspection (grounds, roof and exterior) I preceded to the basement to inspect the super structure.  My clients where sticking to me like glue.  The foundation consisted of large boulders with smaller stone.  The foundation was dry stacked (No mortar in between the stone).  I noticed the foundation had a lot of lateral displacement and loose stone (Bulging Walls).  We had discussed methods of repair and reinforcement.  Remember this building is on a hill and busy street.  Tractor trailers were coming and going to the hospital making some vibration of the land.  Buildings on hills tend to experience high winds creating more vibration. That along with an occasional tremor with the earth, may have caused things to loosen up over the years.

Getting back to the basement I was probing the foundation where I suspected too much movement in the wall and a rock about a foot round fell out.  Well if I could just probe an area of the wall and a stone fell, then the foundation needed repair and reinforcement.  I went to reset the rock in the wall and I could not get in.  Getting a little nervous I cleaned out the soil in the cavity and noticed a key in a lockset.  This was getting interesting.  I turned the key and the foundation wall opened up.  Yes the foundation wall itself opened up.  On the back side of the stone wall, were large thick brackets and hinges holding the stone from collapsing.  I shined my light into this tiny room, and noticed shelving and broken shelving with gallon jugs still filled with masking tape on them.  Some were resting on the floor.  I could barely read the writing on the tape.  It said, Corn 1927, Corn 1929.  This was corn whiskey from probation days.

Can you believe this, the old tavern was possibly boot-legging whiskey, and before that it was a safe house with a hidden room no one could find.  I found it.

I suggested to the owner to notify the Smithsonian in Washing DC and share the find.  I am not sure if they did.  I asked for a jug but was rejected.  This was by far the best find I had ever experienced in my home inspection profession.  Unfortunately this was either before digital cameras or just on the cusp of digital cameras.

Skip to toolbar