VIDEO EDUCATION CENTER
Learn from The Building Doctors™
Unexpected or hidden building damage threatens your safety and your finances! J2 is here to teach you how to identify symptoms of building damage and clues to structural risks. Dive into our video resource center to try our Do-It-Yourself Inspections, get advice for participating in your HOA, and techniques for saving money on building maintenance and repairs.
LEARN HOW TO INSPECT
Our DIY Inspection Series teaches you how to perform your own building inspections.
Topics covered in this series include: decks - hillside waterproofing - staining - head flashing - sealant options - leaks - water damage - roof ventilation - flat roofs - shingles - EIFS panels - stucco - weatherproofing - vinyl siding - roof to wall interface - window trim - fogged windows - Hardie siding - concrete stairs - landscaping - and much more!
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DIY Series Episode 1: HOAs and individual homeowners should inspect their buildings regularly for safety and to catch damage early. In this video, Jens goes over what tools to use as you inspect your buildings, as well as a detailed look at what you'll find as you inspect your decks: Algae, Deck to wall interface, Attachment to foundation, Joist and beam attachment
DIY Series Episode 3: How to Inspect Building Envelope Flashing and Staining HOAs and individual homeowners should inspect their buildings regularly for safety and to catch damage early. In this video, Jens goes over the visual clues we see on the exterior building envelope. We'll look at staining on siding, peeling paint, fogged windows, and sealants.
DIY Series Episode 4: What a healthy building should look like. If you've seen our videos of damage and thought, "my building's not that bad," then this video is for you. Jens shows us what a healthy building looks like when it is up to date on sealants, flashing, and weatherproofing. If your building doesn't have all these components, you may want to jump back to Episode 1 in the series and catch up on your DIY Inspections.
DIY Series Episode 6: How to inspect your roof vents (from the ground!) In this video we'll look at common signs that your roof and attic might be under-ventilated. Jens will also show you how to assess your roof penetrations like skylights and plumbing vents, and when to be worried about moss and leaves on your roof.
DIY Series Episode 7: How to inspect your siding for water damage. Symptoms like staining, moss, and cracked concrete are all indicators that we can look for to identify water intrusion. Even if you don't own the building, a DIY inspection is a great first step to send documentation of water intrusion to your landlord.
DIY Series Episode 8: Jens shows you how to inspect your decks, railings, chimneys, and roof sheathing. Quick tip for today: When you're getting in or out of your car, look up at the carport roof sheathing. Do you see a "line of shiners"? If you do, it may be a sign that your roofing is not attached to the structure.
DIY Series Episode 9: How to identify proper head flashings and failed sealant around windows, doors, belly bands, and other building components. We'll talk about how you can identify the proper waterproofing techniques and how you can install flashing where it's missing.
DIY Series Episode 10: In this episode of our DIY Inspection Series, we'll talk about this community as a whole, what we saw, what we're most concerned about, and how to document problems and categorize them. Sometimes, HOA board members or property managers know there are issues with the building, but don't know where to start to handle the repairs. Fixing everything at once would be costly, and prioritizing new head flashing instead of a paint job is a tough call. We challenge you to inspect your building and use this guide to start prioritizing the safety of your residents and making repairs!
DIY Series Episode 11: How to inspect your stucco building and identify signs of damage. We'll look at cracks, drips, stains, and efflorescence for clues that there may be damage underneath the stucco, and we'll talk about how to coat your stucco building to extend its life.
DIY Series Episode 12: Testing moisture levels in stucco. We find that water tends to get trapped at the bottom edge of the stucco system, which leads to rotting sheathing beneath the cladding. We'll also address causes of cracks, brown spots on your stucco, mossy exterior walls, and signs of water intrusion from inside.
DIY Series Episode 13: How to inspect your flat roof. If you have a flat roof on your building, you should know how to identify problem areas on your vents, penetrations, and drains so you can diagnose excess moisture. This 20-year-old roof is covered in patches from years of chasing leaks.
DIY Series Episode 14: Episode 14 of the Do-It-Yourself Inspection Series: Jens shows you how to inspect your roof shingles from the ground level and up close. At first, it seemed like this 20-year-old roof still had some useful life left in it. The mineral top coat looked intact and still had a good amount of sparkle in the sun. When we got up on the roof to take a closer look, the shingles themselves were riddled with spider cracks across the entire roof, and the shaded areas of the roof were cracked and mossy.
DIY Series Episode 15: Most stucco buildings have EIFS panels added for insulation and a more interesting façade. If you have a stucco building, it's a good idea to walk around and investigate any damage or maintenance items for your EIFS panels. If you missed our stucco inspection episode, check out Episode 11 and 12 on our YouTube channel!
DIY Series Episode 16: How to inspect your vinyl siding condominium, apartment, or house. In this video, we're talking about the history and lifespan of vinyl siding, how to inspect the components, and how to check for water damage behind your vinyl siding and weather-resistive barrier (WRB).
DIY Series Episode 17: How to inspect your vinyl siding condominium, apartment, or house. In this video, we're talking about common causes of damaged vinyl siding, the best time to inspect your building, and how to identify when your vinyl siding is prone to water damage. Jens points out weep holes on your vinyl siding and shows us when to make note of concerning water drainage.
DIY Inspection Series Episode 18: In this episode of our Do-It-Yourself Inspection Series for HOA Boards and Property Managers, we're showing you how to identify potential ventilation problems and areas of water intrusion FROM YOUR PARKING LOT! We can stand in front of the building and see what kinds of roof vents your building has, where the hotspots are, and where the installation was done improperly.
DIY Inspection Series Episode 19: How to inspect your building's decks from the ground level. Perimeter edge flashing, sealant, interface with the wall and siding, railing safety, and drainage slope. Take notes and take a walk around your building to see if you have any of these issues on your decks.
DIY Inspection Series Episode 20: How to inspect your stair treads, railings, and concrete slope drainage in your stairwells. When concrete isn't maintained properly, the steel rebar inside can be compromised. When the steel is rusted out it doesn't take much for your stairs to collapse. Keep your residents (and building!) safe by inspecting your building codes and performing maintenance each year.
DIY Inspection Series Episode 21: Rotten Window Trim & What to Do About It! Windows can be a touchy subject for apartments and condominium associations. Window replacements, window leaks, and fogged window panes can be a PAIN. In this episode, Jens shows you how to examine symptoms of water damaged wood window trim, critical indicators of failed windows, and what to do next when you discover these signs of damage.
DIY Inspection Series Episode 22: Waterproofing Your Carports and Community Amenities Carports, sheds, and other "additional structures" don't have the same building code requirements as your living spaces, but they are still a valuable part of your property that you should work hard to protect. When your carports have roof leaks and water damage, they won't last nearly as long and you will need to spend money to repair or replace them. In this episode, we'll show you the basic things to look for to spot symptoms of water damage on your carports.
DIY Inspection Series Episode 23: Waterproofing for Roof to Wall Intersections. The roof to wall intersection is one of the most difficult areas to properly waterproof because there are so many different trades involved in one small area. On this inspection, there were likely roofers, gutter specialists, window installers, and siding contractors involved. With so many trades working in one area, one installer may interfere with the work of another in order to get the job done, and unknowingly cause a defect that allows water intrusion. In our line of work, we know all the trades well enough to ensure the job is done right, and we also know how to identify when a building envelope is failing.
DIY Inspection Series Episode 24: Condo Community Landscaping Safety Although we normally inspect waterproofing and construction techniques of building envelopes, it's important to also take a look at common landscaping issues. J2 has a professional Landscape Architect on staff because improper drainage, landscaping, and foliage around a building can have a significant impact on the health of the building components.
TIPS FOR BOARDS
Building Consultants bring a full scope of services and a full evaluation. With J2, you get a complete group of experts including architects, engineers, and project managers to take care of your project from start to finish. That means one signed contract, one point of contact for all the answers you need. "The ability for a project manager to be able to walk over to the desk of the architect, or to the desk of the engineer who is actually working on the project, it saves tons of time."
Have you ever wondered what exactly our engineers do? In this video, Jens runs through just how important it is to have an engineer on your project, and your contractor will thank you for it! Engineering is an important step in building remediation because it a) ensures your building is code-compliant with all county, state, and federal building regulations b) gives you long-lasting repairs rather than just a quick fix and c) keeps your residents safe!
Are you a condominium board member, property manager, or building engineer? Do you ever wish you had a consultant in your back pocket to ask that one question, or someone to give you an educated second opinion on that building crack or stain? Now you do. Let's take a virtual tour of your building. Since everyone has a cell phone or tablet with a video camera, we're making it easier to ask an expert about your building problems.
Think about an Envelope Study like going to the doctor. Something isn't right, so you make an appointment for your annual checkup. The biggest mistake an HOA Board can make is thinking a Reserve Study tells them everything they need to know about their building. A Reserve Study is an estimate of how long your building components SHOULD last. That's not to say your roof won't start leaking, your windows won't fail, or your stucco won't begin to crack years before it's supposed to. A Reserve Study doesn't account for the real-life factors of installation workmanship and long-term performance of your building the way an Envelope Study will.
- Finding Small Things Before They Become Big Things. Just like you have frequent health and dental checkups or car maintenance, you want to make minor repairs along the way so they don't turn into major problems (Water damage, structural collapse…).
- Curb Appeal! A well-maintained building always has the best instant first impression. This even helps with your property values for potential buyers!
- Getting to Know Your Building. If you know what's going on with your building, you'll know where your reserve funds need to be spent. Your building might be performing better than expected so you don't need to put money into your scheduled upgrades! Keep up on your routine maintenance to get to know your building and understand what it really needs.
Your building has overhangs above doors and windows, so why do you need metal head flashing around those penetrations? Rain falls straight down (re: gravity), but when wind gets involved, you'll have water pelting the side of your building, windows, and doors in places you'd least expect. In this video, Jens explains how easy it is for rain to drive under your building's overhangs and cause water intrusion. Kudos if you can count how many times you hear "wind-driven rain" in this video.
HOW TO RUN AN HOA
Do you understand what your condo HOA responsibilities are? Volunteer HOA Board Members have a number of roles, including keeping members active and involved, answering inquiries from hundreds of residents, planning and implementing building maintenance, all while maintaining the association's budget. Serving as a board member becomes even more challenging when there is major building damage. Your HOA board is likely a mixed group with little to no expertise in large-scale damage remediation or construction, which indicates the need for leadership and advice from a third party construction expert. In this video, board members discuss the complexities of managing the expectations of unit occupants throughout the process, and the benefits of having a consultant like J2 on the project.
If you're a board member at a condominium homeowners association, you know the struggle of providing trusted leadership to a community of homeowners. We have found that the process that works the best is when the board communicates well with its neighbors-- whether it's about announcements, rules, budget, bad news, or any other topic. J2 works with boards every day, we see the tension and disagreements that can arise from boards who do not have the trust of their community, and we have served as mediator to relieve that tension for our clients.
If your condo association is looking to take a loan out for building repairs, it's a good idea to first find a consultant to oversee the project. Banks are more inclined to lend to associations that have a consultant because we keep the project moving forward and we ensure you get quality repairs.
Every spring, we get new clients wanting to start their repair project (something about spring cleaning brings an excitement to finally repair your building!) But here's what most people don't realize: When your condominium has big repairs that need to be done, design work takes time. The best time to begin this process is usually in the dark months of November, December, and January to get enough headstart to begin by summer.
Hidden Damage Insurance Claims for Condominium HOAs and Multifamily Buildings - What to do when you discover hidden water damage. If you're on a Homeowners Association and need to make repairs, get familiar with the state law for damage insurance claims and insurance coverage so you can get the most out of the premiums you've been paying for years.
TALK TO THE EXPERTS
Dan Ventura, owner at Hawk Environmental - Testing building materials for asbestos and other hazardous materials. Asbestos testing is required by law and by your homeowners association rules whenever you're disturbing even just a couple square inches of material… and the penalty could be big if you ignore it.
Dan Houser, an attorney specializing in helping building owners find insurance coverage for damage related to water intrusion. Building damage, what's the first step to take it on? What does insurance usually cover, and what if my claim gets denied? Do you have to file a lawsuit to get your claims covered? How long does it take? Can I buy/sell condominiums when there's a lawsuit going on? How quickly do I need to make a claim when I find damage?
What we went through in 2020 was chaotic, but I'm going to choose optimism to prepare us for 2021. We are in a busy market, real estate values are continuing to go up, and construction demand is real. We have 9 best practices for HOA projects in 2021 that don’t change with the times.
SYMPTOMS & DAMAGE
It's important to learn how to spot signs and symptoms of damage and know who to call when something doesn't look right. In this video, Jens shares some before-and-after photos of condominiums damaged by water intrusion that our Utah team have been seeing out in the field. Even on buildings that are only a few years old, residents are facing repair assessments. J2 is here to equip the public with education about water intrusion and exterior signs of damage. If you're worried about your building, drop a comment below and we'll take a look.
Look for signs of water intrusion, which could include stained siding and masonry, discolored drips, blistered siding, bubbles in paint, cracked stucco, and condensation. These things all lead to decayed building components, collapsing decks, structural settlement, and other problems you want to avoid. By starting small and identifying those small symptoms of water intrusion, you can avoid an extensive remediation project. The point most people realize they need a consultant is similar to realizing that Band-Aids and Neosporin will not longer heal your more serious ailments.
"Should I be worried about the icicles and water overflow on my gutters?" In the wintertime, buildings begin to show signs of failure and water intrusion. Here's where it starts: During the summer, your sealants and weatherproofing bake in the sun, causing cracks and breaks. When the first good rain comes in the fall, you will notice some leaking. Then with the first freeze you will get your next indication that water isn't flowing correctly, because you'll see ice damming, icicles, and staining. A consultant can diagnose the cause of these problems and help you make a plan to fix them before things get worse.
Ken, our Landscape Architect and Senior Project Manager explains a tight line and footing drain area and some initial issues he's seeing with the installation. Take a walk around your building, do you see pooling water where your downspout enters the ground? This could be symptoms of a problem with your footing drain or tight line.
This condominium was getting a new roof installed when the contractor discovered something strange inside the roof cavity. There were pipes coming from below that ended before reaching the open air. The contractor notified J2 as the consultant overseeing the project, and we determined the pipes were coming from bathroom fans in the units below.
Most condominium homeowners associations require the homeowner to maintain the windows on their unit. That means cleaning the interior and exterior of the window, clearing out the window weeps, and using trickle vents to regulate moisture inside the unit. It's important to regulate moisture in your unit during normal usage like sleeping, showering, or cooking to ensure there is proper airflow and to prevent long-term water damage. Justin Soderlund, Project Manager with J2 Building Consultants, shows us how to perform window maintenance and cleaning, and explains what you should know about the trickle vents on your vinyl windows.
Here's what a building looks like when contractors cut corners. You'd be surprised how easy it is to make little construction mistakes that lead to costly repairs down the road. When the windows on this building were originally installed, a thin strip of weather resistive barrier (WRB) was installed around them in an attempt to keep water out, but it was only done halfway, which was detrimental to the building.
Here's a follow-up to the video we shared on window flashing. As your consultant, we write specific details for a construction plan, we help you hire the most trustworthy contractors who will execute those plans, and we follow up by writing a maintenance schedule for your building to make sure you get the longest life out of warranties and products that were installed.
STUCCO & BRICK
AHERA: The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act requires that we test for asbestos when disturbing potentially hazardous materials. Materials that could contain asbestos are ANY materials not made entirely of wood, metal, or glass. That means roofing sealants and membranes, drywall, insulation, window caulking, backer for tiles, the list goes on.
It's important to periodically add a weatherproof coating to your stucco building as it cracks over time. To increase the longevity and prevent moisture intrusion, it's a good idea to coat it multiple times before it needs replacement. In this video, Jens explains different types of stucco coatings and what to look for to help you know when it's time to add a new coating.
The residents of this condominium found some internal signs of water damage in their garage and units, so they called a J2 inspector. Just by looking at the building, we could see signs of improper installation that could be causing the symptoms of damage the unit owners were seeing. The owners decided to move forward with an invasive investigation, so we pulled off the stucco to reveal what we suspected: the walls were saturated due to cracks in the stucco.
Jens Johanson from J2 Building Consultants Talks About Waterproof Coating / Facelift For Brick Buildings. Contrary to popular belief: brick is NOT waterproof! When water leaks through your brick wall it can cause serious damage to your drywall, floors, and other interior elements. The J2 team coats the outside of this building with GE Momentive waterproof sealant, and there's a surprising benefit to using this type of sealant. Check it out!
After an earthquake, take a moment to inspect your building for gas leaks, cracks, and other things you may need to add to your maintenance plan. Stay safe out there! 1. Make sure everyone is safe, make sure the building is safe to walk around. 2. Shut off the gas if needed 3. Do a 'sniff test' for gas 4. Check for cracks in the masonry 5. Check your roof for cracking 6. Check for cracks in glass and sealants around windows. If there is significant damage, call an expert in engineering and architecture like J2.