Background: Have a contract on an 115 year old house on Main St. in Pennington NJ. It’s is a duplex (just for fun: the other half is owned by the bank). The house has been passed through the family for ~30 years, so no inspections have been done for a while. Our inspector was hired from pillartopost.com via a recommendation from our realtor. From what I’ve been able to glean, their “inspector” is a father of theirs that is an architect & planner.
This is our first time going through the home buying process so it’s still a bit overwhelming. As you might have been able to imagine the list of “necessary” repairs was decently hefty, but nothing too crazy for an old home (according to our lawyer). In their response a few discrepancies popped up and I’m not sure what to think. Which is what I’m hoping to get some advice on. Without further ado here are some of the bigger discrepancies.
- Us: Install a knee wall on the right side of the attic rafters to prevent the roof from sagging.
Them: The Buyer’s home inspector’s recommendation to install a knee-wall in the attic to address the minor rafter deflection should no be considered. By design the installation of a knee-wall will adversely change the structural integrity of the second floor ceiling joist system by providing a transferred point load from the rafter to each existing ceiling joist positioned below the installed wall. This additional point load will crack the existing ceiling plaster and as a result is not recommended. No other rafter repairs are required.
The neighbors have a knee-wall on their side (we know because there is no separating wall in the attic). But This seems like it could be logical. I could see an architect understanding the engineering of the house pretty well.
- Us: Have a qualified contractor remove all vermiculite insulation from the attic for personal safety. Vermiculite insulation may contain asbestos.
Them: Our assessment disclose a minor dusting of Vermiculite below the batt insulation within the attic area of the dwelling. Vermiculite was present and removed prior to the installation of batt insulation. Even if the Vermiculite was tested and proven to contain asbestos, which it was not, no hazard for air-born contamination exists since the batt insulation eliminated the potential for air-born contamination. The attic’s limited accessibility also minimizes any contamination concern. No remediation is required.
The Vermiculite appears to be migrating over from the other half of the house. There was not much of it, but there was some. It was also not all necessarily covered by the batt insulation.
- Us: Replace all knob and tube wiring in the attic. Observed live knob and tube wiring on the front attic floor at the time of the inspection.
Them: One area of this wiring method was noted within the front of the attic space. The wiring was tested and clearly determined to be not in service.
Our inspector touched and and burnt himself a bit. We also want to have an electrician come in and check in all the receptacles/switches/fixtures/etc for any of it in the wall.
- Us: Repair the heat supply to the radiators throughout the house. Did not observe heat supply to several radiators at the time of the inspection.
Them: All radiators were tested during our assessment and determined to be in proper working order. No repair system is required.
This I’m unsure about they did seem to heat up after waiting longer than the initial 5 minutes. Our realtor also fiddled with some valves on them that appeared to wake them up.
- Us: Have a qualified contractor make the necessary repairs to the windows throughout the house. Observed the following defects at the time of the inspection. 1) Unable to open several windows at the time of the inspection, due to the windows being painted shut. Have all windows opened and operational. 2) Replace all broken and missing sash cords on the windows throughout the house. 3- Replace all cracked panes.
Them: The Code requires one operable egress window from each sleeping area. The bedroom areas within this dwelling comply with this requirement. Any remaining windows which have broken sash cords are not operational will not be addressed. In addition, the one minor cracked pane will not be replaced.
I talked to our inspector and he said those would probably be township codes. But common knowledge and safety states that they should all be able to open.