When a home inspector or a structural pest inspector starts talking about “conducive conditions,” there is a good chance they are not talking about conditions conducive to supporting your home’s well being.
They are more likely talking about conditions detrimental to the health of your home.
Basically anything that can encourage, support or result in infestation of wood destroying insects or wood decay/rot can be considered a conducive condition–conducive to wood destroying insects–conducive to wood decay/rot.
Missing paint, missing caulk, missing flashings, improper flashings, missing roofing, leaking roofing, plumbing leaks, leaking gutters, missing gutters, improper drainage, failed sump pumps, and leaking windows are just a few of the things that can be a conducive condition.
Then of course there are the sorts of things that are considered conducive conditions because perhaps they create a pathway for wood destroying organisms into the structure. For example, crawl spaces filled with vegetation or exteriors of homes covered with vegetation, make the areas difficult to inspect and can result in hidden damage.
Home inspectors must report these conditions because of the risk that if they are not taken care of greater harm to the home can and/or will occur over time. Another example of a conducive condition that can result in lots of damage over time is a missing plastic ground cover and/or missing ventilation in a crawl space that requires ventilation. Uncontrolled moisture in crawl spaces, whether it is a crawl space that requires ventilation or not, can lead to damage by wood destroying insects, wood decay/rot and/or mold growth in the under structures of the home.
But what is to be done when the entire foundation of the home is a “conducive condition?”
While some of these old growth cedar logs have performed well for nearly 100 years, it is the portions that are totally submerged that hold up the best. All the wood and metal components used between the structure and the under-water logs routinely fail and need maintenance and/or or replacement. Many of these intermediary structures are now routinely replaced with pressure treated materials.
Regardless, a buyer would be well advised to keep in mind that all of these under-water structures, or close to under-water structures, remain a “conducive condition.”
One person’s conducive condition, is another person’s romantic notion.
This is the case with both house boats where the entire foundation is a conducive condition and with logs homes where the foundation is likely OK but the entire structure above ground can be a conducive condition.
Our romantic notions are best nurtured by structure’s that support those notions the longest and with the least amounts of denial (money).
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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