All posts by Shreeji@esb

Mold in the Attic

As you can see in this picture of mold on attic sheathing, it is not a pretty site. But mold in the attic is something we find often enough on our home inspections here in Louisiana. To help prevent a mold issue like this in your attic, improve and maintain your ventilation. If your attic ventilation doesn’t work properly, then all of that humid air will build up and make conditions very conducive to a mold problem.mold

Our Home Inspection Service Area

Benton Home Inspections

I wanted to take a moment and thank all of our clients! I have performed thousands of home inspections in our service area, and there is no slowing down. I also wanted to take a moment and remind everyone of our home inspection service areas. Don’t see your area listed below? Contact me and I will be happy to help!

Our Home Inspection Service Area: Home Inspections in Shreveport, Bossier City, Benton, Haughton, Stonewall, Keithville, Greenwood, and Blanchard Louisiana

Is It Necessary To Have A New Construction House Inspected?

Absolutely Yes! Pelican State Inspection routinely inspects and discovers defects with new construction homes. Just because the city code enforcement inspector signed off on the house does not mean there are not problems. The city code enforcement inspectors do their best , but they are over worked and do not get to spend the time needed in your house during construction. You are lucky if they stay 10 minutes. They do not inspect for the functionality of the home’s systems, only if they are up to the city standards. In other words they do not check for leaks, they do not check if your heating & air system is working, they do not check if the hot water heater works,  if your doors, windows, and outlets function.

The city standards also defer many items and say that they should be installed per the manufactures installation instructions. This  means that they do not check for installation defects such as siding clearances from ground and roof or proper clearances from combustibles for your appliances. Having you new construction home inspected will save you money in the future by correcting the problems up front that the builder should fix so that when you sell you do not get left holding the bill.

Why You Should Have Your Home Inspected

In Louisiana it is not yet required that you have a home inspection when you buy a house. Does that mean that you should not have one? Absolutely not! A home inspection plays a vital role in most real estate transactions today. Hiring Pelican State Inspection to perform a pre-purchase inspection could save you thousands of dollars and possibly save you from making a huge mistake on your next house purchase. The purpose of a home inspection is to better inform you on the conditions of the major systems of the house. In Louisiana the State Board of Home Inspectors defines these major systems as:

  • Structural System

  • Exterior System

  • Roofing System

  • Plumbing System

  • Electrical System

  • Heating & Cooling System

  • Interior System

  • Insulation and Ventilation System

  • Built-In Kitchen Appliances

The home inspector inspects these systems in accordance to the Standards of Practice written by the Louisiana State Board of Home Inspectors. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE LOUISIANA STANDARDS OF PRACTICE.

Pelican State Inspection will uncover problems for you involving these systems. Problems can range from cheap and easy to fix to the expensive type. It is common for us to find old and leaking  roofs, dangerous electrical conditions, leaking plumbing pipes, structural problems and much more. These are problems that the untrained eye will overlook. These are problems that a professional home inspection will bring to light.

When you make an offer on a house you are assuming that these major systems are in safe and working order. Often they are not. The home inspection report will help you understand the problems to help you make a more informed buying decision.

Candles Fires – The Overlooked Danger In Your Home

For centuries candles have been providing us with both light and decoration. In modern times their everyday use for light is no  longer needed, but they still provide us with use for decoration. Currently it is estimated by The National Candle Association that 7 out of 10 U.S. households burn candles.

Our increased use of candles has also caused and increase in the number of residential fires each year that are directly linked to candles. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that 23,600 residential structure fires each year are caused by candles. These fires cause an estimated 1,525 injuries, 165 fatalities, and $390 million in property loss. Data from the National Fire Incident eporting System (NFIRS) points to curtains, furniture, cabinets, and bedding being the leading materials first ignited in candle fires. Over 55% of all candle fires are caused by candles being to close to combustible materials.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued over 70 recalls for candles or products containing candles over the past 10 years. To check for CPSC candle recalls you can search their web
site at Some of the common factors in these recalled products are:

  • Flammable decorations
  • Excessive wax pooling
  • Flammable candleholders
  • Excessive flame height

If you are going to burn candles in your home,
Pelican State Inspection recommends you follow these simple safety guidelines.

  • Burn candles inside a 1 foot circle that is free of anything that could come in contact with the flame and burn.
  • Keep candles out of reach of both children and pets.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • When burning candles use a sturdy candleholder that is either glass, metal, or ceramic.
  • Teach everyone in the home these simple safety rules for candle use.

The Anatomy Of A Deck

Whether you plan on hiring a professional to built you deck or building it yourself, it is important to familiarize yourself with the parts that make up a deck. These individual parts can be broken down by both function and location and when  properly installed work in conjunction with each other to form one strong unit.

Foundation Parts

These parts form the foundation which the structural parts all rest.

  • Concrete Footings – The bottom portion of a foundation that distributes the weight of the deck to the ground.
  • Deck Post – The vertical structural element that rests on the footing and supports the beams. Deck post transfers the weight of the deck to the footings.
  • Post Anchor – A metal device set in concrete for attaching posts to the footings

Structural Parts

These parts form a grid on which the decking will rest.

  • Beams – Horizontal timber that is supported by the posts and hold up the decking.
  • Joists – Lumber that is set on edge (often 2×8’s or 2×10’s) that supports the decking. Joists are supported by beams and ledgers. The joist that is laid on the
    opposite ends of the ledger is the header joist.
  • Ledger – 2x lumber bolted to the house to structurally anchor the deck to the house. The ledger supports one end of the joists.

Other Deck Components

  • Decking – Decking makes up the flooring of the deck. Decking cam be made of woods or synthetics.
  • Railing – A railing adds safety to the deck and is used to enclose all or part of the deck. Railing components include balusters, caps, facing boards, rails,
    and rail posts.
  • Stairs – Stairs give you access on and off the deck. Stair components include stringers, hand rails, treads, and risers.

Deck Maintenance

As summer approaches, most of us will be planning outdoor activities on the backyard deck. It is important to make sure your deck is well maintained for the summer months. The key to keeping a deck in good functional condition is regular maintenance and inspection.

  • Sweep your deck at least once a week to remove dirt and debris from the decks surface.
  • Clean your deck with warm water once a month.
  •  Use a power washer once each summer to remove stubborn dirt and stains from your deck.

Frequently inspecting your deck for problems and addressing them when they occur can help you avoid costly future repairs.

Some common problems that occur are:

  • Nails – Nails often work their way out of the decking. Drive the nails back in or replace them with deck screws it the nails know longer hold.
  • Minor splits and splinters – Wood will sometimes split or splinter. minor splits can be filled and sanded and splinters should be sanded off. If a split is deep or especially long, the wood should be replaced.
  • Mildew – Mildew contributes to deterioration of your decks surface. Purchase a mildew remover made for decking at your local home improvement store and be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

 Special attention should be paid to:

  • Rotten Wood – Rotten wood may not differ in appearance from the rest of your deck’s wood. Use a screwdriver to check for soft wood several times a year. Small portions of soft wood may be treated with a hardener, but those with a lot of rot should be replaced.
  • Loose Joists – Joints can work loose. It left alone this can create a hazard, especially on stairs. Most joints can be reinforced using additional hardware.
  • Weak Railings – Loose or weak railings are an accident waiting to happen. Reinforce them with additional fasteners.
  • Post In Concrete Footing The areas where they meet are especially moisture prone and threaten the structural integrity of the deck. Replace damaged portions promptly.
  • Water – Water is your deck’s worst enemy. Protect it by making sure it is properly sealed. Manufacturers suggest reapplication from every 6 months to every 4 years depending on which product it is.

How To Clean Grout

How To Clean Grout

Grout can become stained or dirty for various reasons. In the kitchen this is usually due to spills and foot traffic. While in the bathroom, mold and mildew are the most common culprits. Consider the follow tips when cleaning your grout:

1. Avoid harsh cleaning products or those containing bleach. They’re may stain or discolor your grout.

2. For general cleaning, mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the grout and scrub with a stiff, plastic bristled brush. Scrub in circles to avoid damaging the grout. Work in small sections until you have cleaned all the stained areas, then flush liberally with water. Mixing equal parts vinegar and water works as well.

3. Try to clean your tile with a steam cleaner for more stubborn stains. If you do not have access to a steam cleaner you can try 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup water.

4. Clean your grout regularly to prevent a built-up of dirt, grime, mold, and mildew. To make the job faster and easier, consider purchasing a powered cleaning tool designed for cleaning grout or tile.

Easy Lawn Care Tips

Everyone has a neighbor with a perfect yard. You know the one- their grass looks like a thick, green carpet that covers their entire property and they have landscaping you see in magazines. Most of these people probably spend a good portion of their monthly home maintenance budget on their yard care, but there are a variety of things you can do to maintain your lawn without spending a fortune.

Lawn Mowing

Avoid mowing your lawn at the lower blade settings. Low-mowed lawns cost more money because they require frequent watering, more herbicide to control the weeds, and require mowing more often to keep it that short. If you set your mower blades at a higher level, the lawn ends up thicker and has a natural ability of blocking water evaporation from the soil below. Weeds do not grow as well in a higher lawn, so aim for a lawn length of between 2.5 and 3.5 inches during the summer. Leave your grass clippings on the lawn as they return nitrogen into the soil. You can use a mulching mower to break them up smaller for a nicer  appearance and for better lawn health. If you don’t have a mulching mower, you can simply leave the clippings on the lawn and mow over them again next time to break them up. As the weather begins to cool towards the autumn months, you can lower your blade a little and cut the grass shorter. When you do your final cut before winter, cut it at it’s shortest length as it will prevent mold from growing due ice or snow, as well as prevent the grass from clumping together.

Aerate Your Lawn

The soil under your grass becomes compacted after years of use. The compacted soil reduces oxygen in the soil, which is required by the roots of grass to absorb water and nutrients properly. You can easily tell if your lawn is compacted by  cutting out a small one square foot section that is about six inches deep. If the  roots of grass are growing less than two inches deep, you should aerate the lawn.Aerating works best when it’s done in the fall. You can rent a core aerator from a hardware store or rental center. If you’d like to reduce the costs of  the rental, ask around to your neighbors to see if they’d like to share the use of the machine and divide the cost of renting it. When you first aerate the lawn, you’ll have little plugs of soil and grass left all over the yard and it’s not very attractive. But by spring, your grass will be healthier, and have better access to oxygen, fertilizer and water.

Lawn Watering

You don’t have to water your lawn every day, contrary to popular belief! If your lawn is receiving an inch of rain once per week, it’s getting enough water. If the rainmaker isn’t cooperating, you can give your lawn a drink of about one inch of water in a single watering session – best if done early morning or early evening to prevent evaporation and waste.

Moving Tips To Make Your Next Move Your Easiest Move

If you’re preparing to move, whether long or short distances, big or
small, doing it right can only mean one thing… preparation.

1. Start with one room. Do not proceed to the next room until you have determined what you don’t need. Decide what you REALLY use and what is just taking up space.
2. Take a good look at those big items. You probably have one or more pieces of furniture cluttering up your rooms. If you’re not using it, someone else can. If you don’t know anyone local who needs the item, you can ship large items to a friend or relative in another state – or make some  money by selling on eBay.
3. Don’t pay a full-load mover to send large pieces. Instead contact a small move specialist. Small move specialists will move a single sofa or a room full of furniture a lot cheaper than a full-load mover. (They combine pickups from a given area and transport multiple shipments on one truck to reduce your cost). You get full service from a professional mover, including inside pickup and delivery and blanket wrapping, but you pay less.
4. You can box up and ship clothing the same way. Or give it away. Get rid of anything that you have not worn in the last two years. There are many charities that would be more than happy to have them.
5. Clean floors, walls, windows, curtains, blinds and baseboards – now that you can get to them!
6. Clean up and organize your personal and work files. Now that your home is clean, start cleaning up your personal and work paperwork. Remember to organize and clean out your electronic files too – including email.

When your small move is long distance, a full-load moving company charges you for a full truck- regardless of how small your move is. Small move experts will charge only for the room the items in your small move  require. Make sure to get an exact small move price quote including inside pickup and delivery. There should be no surprises and no hidden charges for your small move.

Take advantage of the move to declutter. Be ruthless. A change like moving  house can also be an opportunity to change other aspects of your life (like the wardrobe you’ve had since the ’80’s). Hire some help to decrease the stress levels. Aside from tips they should also help with small moves and can supply anything from boxes to moving quilts.

Why Refer Pelican State Inspection To Your Clients?

You probably already have a list of a few good home inspectors whom you trust and refer your clients to. Adding Pelican State Inspection to that list will only make it stronger. Remember we are here to protect your clients and help limit your liability. Do your current referred inspectors have all the benefits listed below?

  • Pelican State Inspection realizes the importance of professionalism. We know that you have worked hard to gain the trust of your clients. We will work hard to maintain the highest level of professionalism with your clients.
    • We show up on time. If by chance we are running
      late we call to let our clients know.
    • We dress professionally and wear logo polo shirts.
    • We have a professional web site which you can direct your clients to. From our site your clients can learn information about our company, information about the home inspection process and what to expect from the inspection.
  • I have a SUPRA key.
  • We produce computerized reports featuring digital pictures of the home and defects. Our Report Summary include pictures as well. If your client is out of state and not able to be present for the inspection this is of great benefit. Our reports are delivered via email and guaranteed within 24 hours of completion of the inspection.
  • Pelican State Inspection works both weekends and holidays to accommodate our client’s needs. We are very accessible to answer questions or schedule inspections. We can be reached by cell phone
    7 days a week and usually until 8 pm.
  • We have been in business since 2004 and understand the importance of taking the time to make sure our client understands exactly what the inspection includes and what it does not include. We help our clients realize that no matter how new or old, how much or how little, how pretty or how ugly the house may be that all houses have problems. Most of the problems will be small, but some might be big. We also let them know that once they get the inspection report they should not panic. Most all problems are correctable. The intention of the inspection is to make all parties aware of the issues. Once the problems are known they then know how to proceed.

Are You An Agent Who GETS IT?

As a buyers or sellers agent why should you want a thorough and objective home inspection from Pelican State Inspection?  

The reason for a buyer’s agent wanting a thorough and objective home inspection is obvious. It will protect your buyer. It can bring to light issues big and small. In today’s market most buyers barely have enough money to buy their dream home and the certainly don’t have extra money to repair surprises that can come up after the purchase. Let’s face it, some homes really need a lot of work. A quality home inspection can bring repair issues to the buyer’s attention.  As a real estate agent you have earned your clients trust, future business, and referrals. A part of every
home sale is to build the future of your business. By referring Pelican State Inspection to your clients you know they will be very satisfied with the services provided to them. A satisfied client is a return client.

Seller’s agents should also want a detailed home inspection, but the reason is less obvious. A seller’s failure to disclose problems, repairs they have made and other similar misrepresentations are a large source of lawsuits in real estate today. Most sellers do not intentionally misrepresent. Many sellers simply forget about  problems or repairs from many years ago. A detailed inspection can bring to light these issues before it is too late.

A good home inspection and a well written & detailed inspection report from Pelican State Inspection can not only protect the buyer and the seller, it can also protect you, the agent. The better the home inspection the less likely you are to receive that dreaded call after the closing – “Do you remember us, the Smiths? We bought the house on 123 Problem Street. We found out yesterday that no one told us about this huge problem with the house. We have contacted our attorney over this matter …….”

The Inspector Is Coming

Tips To Help Sellers Better Prepare For The Home Inspection

Congratulates, your have found a buyer for your home and the home inspection of your has been scheduled by the buyers. Don’t Panic!  Here is a list of tips that will make the inspection go smoothly and help prevent delays because the house was not ready for the inspection. 

  • During the inspection, the inspector will need access to the entire house.
  • Leave your home prepared to be away for 2 ½ – 3 hours for a typical sized house. During the inspection not only will the inspector be there, but also your buyers and their agent normally are present as well. This can be very stressful for the home owner and it is best to be away. If you do decide to stay don’t attempt to refute negative comments or negotiate with the buyers. Your time to explain and negotiate will come after the buyer’s agent has responded to your agent about the inspection findings
  • If you have cars parked in your garage /carport make sure they are not blocking access to doors, closets, cabinets, electrical panels, or drop down attic stairs
  • Replace any burnt out light bulbs on the property, including both indoors and outdoors. The inspector will not replace bulbs to determine if light fixtures function. A light that does not function will be labeled as not working or unable to determine if functional.
  • Do not cover up problems hoping the inspector will not find them.
  • Have all utilities (water, electric, and gas) turned on at the property. The electrical circuit breakers should be in the on position, the main water valve should be open, as well as the main gas valve. All supply valves for toilets & sinks should also be in the open position. Be sure have the pilot lights lit on your gas appliances, such as the water heater, heating unit, gas log sets, and oven. Remember the inspector is not allowed to turn on the water and gas shutoff valves or light pilot lights.
  • Make sure access is provided to the attic area entrance, the closets, the electrical panel, the water heater, and the furnace. Remove personal items from around these areas so the inspector is provided with three to four feet of working space to perform his inspection. Make sure that the attic area is cleared so that once the inspector is in the attic he can travel through it as well. If your attic access is in a closet you should remove all items from the closet so that the inspector has access to the attic.
  • Clear away overgrown bushes and trees from around the house so that the inspector can view your houses foundation and siding.
  • Ensure that pets will not hinder the inspector. Either remove them from the premises or secure them in an area that will still allow the inspector complete access to the house and yard.
  • Leave keys for locks on outbuildings, fences, or other areas the inspector will need access to.

Following these tips can ease some of the anxiety related to a home inspection and enable the inspector to evaluate your home properly.


—>Click Here <— For Additional Information


Pelican State Inspection Now Offers Lawn Sprinkler System Inspections With Our Home Inspections

The Lawn Sprinkler System of your future Shreveport / Bossier City home is often overlooked during the course of the home buying process. The Lawn Sprinkler system is not included as part of your home inspection and most inspectors do not inspect them as an ancillary service. When you select Pelican State Inspection to perform your Home Inspection you can choose to have your Lawn Sprinkler System included in your Home Inspection

What Your Lawn Sprinkler Inspection Includes

When you have Pelican State Inspection inspect your future Bossier City / Shreveport home’s Lawn Sprinkler System you will receive your Lawn Sprinkler Inspection Report included in the Plumbing System section of the Home Inspection Report. Your Sprinkler Inspection Report will include pictures of the general areas of each zone as well as pictures of some of the leaks or damaged heads we locate.  Our Lawn Sprinkler Inspection includes:

  • The control box’s general condition and mounting.
  • Location of the water shut off valve
  • Operation of the zones preformed through the manual cycle.
  • Visible wiring.
  • Location of the Backflow Preventer and its general visible condition.
  • Function of sprinkler heads.
  • Determination of the number of zones. The report will include pictures of the general areas of each zone.
  • Water flow and pressure at sprinkler heads.
  • Function of the zone control valves.
  • Checks for visible leaks in exposed piping.

We will also note any issue of overspray outside the lawn / garden area. Sprinklers that spray directly on the house can cause damage to siding materials and trim. Sprinklers that spray in to the street or sidewalks will also be noted.

—>Click Here To View Our Sample Reports<–