chimney/fireplace contractor

I was called to do a followup on a fireplace and chimney, after a home inspector had seen cracks in the chimney, but didn’t give new homeowners a specific report on the fp. This chimney also had a flue that vented hot water and gas fired furnace, and was very wet. Followed up by checking furnace, which was an 80+, and then I saw that the combined vent was connected to an asbestos appearing pipe which then turned 90 degrees and went horizontal and disappeared over the wall, between the floor joists of the living room above. Checking the room on the other side of the wall, a small family room with a dropped ceiling, I removed several water stained ceiling tiles and found that in two places at joints, the Transite vent pipe above was leaking at two of the joints. Not sure how building inspectors allowed the house to be built in this manner in the 1st place, but setting that aside, my question is: Is this something the home inspector should have found; the new owners said that they were told that he was to check anything that was visible without having to disassemble or remove any part of the house to gain visibility. Since I found it fairly easily, should the inspector have removed ceiling tile? Doesn’t seem like that would be disassembly, but that may just be me. … This is just to satisfy my curiosity more than anything, or for personal enlightenment. Closing had already happened when I was called.

Sounds like it was not visible without removing the ceiling tile.
Perhaps it was “fairly easy” for you but the point still remains the area was not visible/accessible.
If the tile was removed, a precedent would be set… the next question could be why was not all the tiles (or a different section/area) removed.

Home inspectors are not required to move ceiling tiles.

Everyone always jumps in a states " inspectors are not required to…" when someone asks a question.

I suppose the same could be said of a tight crawlspace or small attic. Yet most of us still manage to get it done, including removing screws to a crawl hatch, traversing an attic with no walk boards, or other means of accessing important areas.

The OP stated the ceiling tiles were water stained; most inspectors would be curious about that, wouldn’t they? I know I would be.

Who knows if it was mentioned in the report, or other important details, but the SOP shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid common sense.


We don’t know anything, so just answer the question asked. Would a home inspector be required to move the ceiling tiles?

That wasn’t the question that was asked. He asked “… should the inspector have removed ceiling tile?..”. he didn’t ask if it was “required”.

Given the other pertinent facts, it isn’t as cut and dry.


If you found it fairly easy to remove the ceiling tiles, I probably would have as well. I have on numerous occasions when I feel it is warranted.

Each scenario is different. I have also moved furniture, carpets, etc…in order to get the information I need to make a valid recommendation to my client.

A lot of inspectors like to interpret the standards of practice to mean you can’t do something. The SoP is the minimum you can do and “isn’t required to” isn’t the same as can’t or won’t.