Help with damage

I found this while inspecting a home. It looks like fire damage, but the current home owner had his insurance company check it and they say it is water damage. I found no evidence of water intrusion any were else or even above this. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

i have some thoughts but would like to know more about the location… a shot back a few feet and maybe an exterior so i can better evaluate… right now I am not sure what i am looking at…

Here is a second picture.

I am assuming this is an exterior wall and not the ceiling correct? This looks like dry rot to me, moisture has or is migrating upwards from the base inturn the fungus infection will do the same. What does the exterior grading look like in this area. Faulty grading can cause enough moisture intrusion and the plywood acts like a sponge. The sill plate appears to be below the floor. Again check that exterior grading. I cannot tell in the photo but there could be sub termites mixed in that as well.

Positively Dry Rot (Fungus Infection) Defer to a termite inspection company for further inspection to identify the presence of wood destroying organisms, any treatments and repairs that are needed.

The pictures are from the attic space next to the flue. There does not appear to be any damage outside that I could find, but the homeowner stated that he has had 2 new roofs on in the last 5 years?

I would recommend the Termite Company to give positive ID and a roofing contractor to make the repairs. That is dry rot though.

Thank you for your input. It is greatly appreciated.

The law in FL is very clear on who can properly identify this type of discrepancy. Unless you have been trained and worked in the Pest control industry you should defer this to the Termite/Pest control inspector who should have caught this. Florida is very funny (not HA HA funny) about this and to a great degree is an added protection to the consumer. I just talked to a local Pest Control contractor about this very thing right after Thanksgiving. From the pics I see water damage and stains. IN FL you can not determine if it is wood rot unless you are qualified. Typically, what I do is identify the location of the discrepancy on the report, label it as water damage and defer it to the WDI/WDO people. There are a lot of home inspectors in FL who are performing WDI and WDO inspections illegally and probably do not even know it. The way I have been told and from my own research, unless I am trained and have worked in that field for someone else in an apprentice capacity, I am not even qualified to identify a termite even if I see one. Look into it for yourself, it is statewide and they are getting ready to crack down on folks doing this. If you need to talk to someone further about this give me a call and I can refer you to someone who is sitting on the State Board on this. Hope this helps.

I went and pulled this off the Florida Pest Control Assoc. website. It lays out pretty good who can do this kind of inspection in FL. on pg. 2.

Water damage, with fungi


If it was a fire (and the fire department was called out) there will be a record of it at the department and possibly at the building department.

If you dont know what it is, label it as damaged and let the contractor figure it out. After all, it is damaged and in need of repair.

“the current home owner had his insurance company check it and they say it is water damage.” There you go. It must be so. These insurance guys are always correct, right??

Thank you all, everytime I need help you guys are always there!
Thank You all for your help it is really appreciated!:smiley:


When did you get the authority to tell home inspectors that are performing WDO inspections that they are illegal?

I am merely passing on what the law says. If they are not licensed specifically to perform them they are doing it illegally just as if they were performing surgery without a license to practice medicine. I also told them to look into it for themselves. If I or anyone else has to have “authority” to pass on information that they ask for then we need to shut down this damn BB right now because all kinds of information, advise and comments gets passed on in here all day, every day. I included the link that lays out the FL Statutes and I have looked into it but anyone that wants to continue on breaking the law may be my guest.

Are you referring to someone that works for a CPCO or just a home inspector that is doing it on their own? I have been doing them for over two years working for a CPCO. That is why I questioned your statement of saying that I was breaking the law.

I am not referring to any one person in particular. The above link I provided does have definitions regarding sub-contractor (my word) doing work for licensed Pest Control contractors. The contractor is on the hook for those subs and has to ensure they are adequately trained, provide the necessary tools, forms, training and insurance coverage to meet the FL Statutes. Apparently, from my discussions with a member of the board governing this area there is a huge problem with unqualified personnel doing WDO/WDI inspections in Florida and his words to me were “They are getting ready to take some people to court.” This is not a new law but like so many laws in FL it rarely gets to the people it affects the most. Realtors are ignorant of this in a large part as well as most HI, and buyers. Ignorance of the law is a flimsy excuse and always has been. If you or anyone else meets the requirements of the law than this is not applicable to you. This is not my first rodeo and I have made myself a reluctant student of the laws in FL regarding or affecting home inspectors for more years than I care to remember. In the future I will probably keep any information and opinions to myself and use the email features to inform individuals who ask these kinds of questions.


I am sorry if I offended you.

I just didn’t want all home inspectors classified as law breakers if they are working under the rules that are there now. I don’t consider myself as breaking the law since I do have an ID Card issued by the State.

Not offended, nor are my feelings hurt (but thanks for an apology anyway). Just learning to keep my own counsel and share with those that are genuinely interested thru a different avenue. Ive been telling others to do this and did not take my own advise. No harm, no foul. Like the old expression “if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it”. You obviously have gone to the trouble of getting the appropriate credentials to be doing WDO and WDI inspections. It does go a little deeper than that for the rest of us that do not carry the proper credentials. I do other kinds of sub work myself and have the needed training but many do not and go out daily and conduct business unaware they are breaking laws.