I'm preparing to design House of Horrors 3 for Pennsylvania

Feel free to make suggestions!

I have never inspected or spent a lot of time in the northeastern US, but this is what pops into mind right off the bat…


Foundation: Poured concrete (honeycombing, a cold joint), CMU (lack of mortar, a cutaway showing grout/no grout and steel//no steel?).

Walls: I’m thinking that because of the older homes in that part of the country (compared to those in Colorado and South Florida where the existing Houses of Horrors are) and the amount of historic brick structures, that we should build some cutaway double wythe walls and some displays showing key points of potential failure in openings; lintels, ledges, sills, etc. A lot of that sort of thing can be shown more effectively in photographs.
Maybe a parge coat with an explanation of their purpose.

I’d like to build a stucco wall that we can soak from the back side so the guys with IR cameras can try to pinpoint the leak sources. Might could use some help figuring that one out.

Roof Structure: As with the house in CO, we’ll try to install a structural ridge, conventional framing with a hip and valley, and trusses, both manufactured and site-built.

Floor Structure: This one will have a basement and a crawlspace so we can install a central beam upon which floor joists (both conventional and engineered) overlap, and install both temporary and permanent steel support posts, both with and without obvious foundation pads.
We’ll have a variety of floor framing defects.

Crawlspace: In addition to the electrical and plumbing we’ll add some insulation and crawlspace vents for discussions on building science. That’s always a good one since conditions vary with climate zone and a few other things!


  • Should it have a steam/hot water radiator system? Do you see them in residential?
  • Oil fired furnace or boiler?


If anyone knows of a source for old electrical components, a retired electrician, a warehouse, I’m looking for them.

Are FP Stab-Locs a concern there? Zinsco panels? Others?

That’s it for now. I appreciate any help.


Sounds like fun.

Yes, yes it does sound like fun. What part of Pennsylvania?

If you did it in or around Detroit, Mark Anderson’s (aka; Bubba) could be a big draw with his basement water proofing techniques. (Use plexiglass, etc.) He’d probably build it, too.

Just a thought…:nerd_face:

I think it’s Willkes-Barre or near there. But, yeah… Mark has a long,long, long, history of posts and followers.

I have a suggestion, Kenton. Congratulations by the way. House Of Horrors (4) in Quebec or Ontario near the Quebec, Ontario Windsor corridor.

Heating, boilers and radiators still exist but have been phased out and replaced. Yes, up in Wilkesbarre and those old coal towns you’ll still find coal fired boilers, no home inspector is doing any inspection on those systems. Circulated hot water heat (baseboard) is still prevalent, but anything installed past 30 years is forced hot air.
Electrical violations - obviously
Stucco, flashing, siding
Framing issues
Foundations, pretty much everything up here has a basement, foundation walls of poured concrete or block. Maybe try to build in some cracks ?

Kenton. HVAC suggestion.
More and more I am inspecting, NG High Efficiency Condensing Furnace.
From what I understand, but I could be wrong, Concentric venting stateside and materials used for venting, is not as normal as it is across the border. You could likely build many defects and deficiencies in a High Efficiency condensing boiler model at the House Of Horrors. Add an AC evaporator in the forced air plenum and have fun.
Just a thought.
Sorry for the edit. Ops.

Copy on those things. The cracks we tend to use photos for since we can show a wide variety of actual conditions. Plus, looks like I may not be going as soon as I thought. Still up for suggestions though!

And of course, stucco. Big problem this part of the country. Traditional hard coat as well as EIFS.

I think the stucco inspection course maybe needs to tie into an IR course. My impression is that a lot of people doing these inspections are about as skilled as the people who did the installation. The people I know who really seem to know what they’re doing as far as inspecting stucco are finding thermography to be a big help in pinpointing the source of problems, or at least the source of leakage.

Perimeter drainage. How it works.
Foundation Anti damp, drip plans/screeds,
Underground plumbing drainage pipe identification, back water valves, condensate dispersal, risers, etc, sumps, pumps.