September, 2001
You Tell Us
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Thanks for the Feedback


The beautiful thing about the ASHI newsletter is that it lets us all know what is happening in areas distant from us. And once known, we can look out for the same. The cedar roof problem we had here, described in The ASHI Reporter, June 2001, brought back responses from all over the states and from our friends in Canada. It seems the problem was not weird nor isolated and  the same deterioration of the shingle was seen in other areas of the country. The bottom line seems to be that the cedar is behaving as typical cedar (especially the lowest grade) can sometimes do under extreme weather conditions, with the side facing the worse weather deteriorating the fastest. It just dissolves away.  Here is a typical letter telling us exactly that.

Rex Cauldwell

Cedar shakes deteriorate faster than you might think

I have just finished reading Rex Cauldwell's article, “Cedar shakes deteriorate”in The ASHI Reporter, and I wanted to respond. I have built homes in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Florida, and Colorado. I have been a full-time inspector since 1984, and I have a training school for inspectors in the Kansas City area. The photos in the magazine looked normal for a wood shake roof of the dimensions pictured. Over the years I’ve seen many articles telling naive home buyers that a wood shake roof will last 30-50 years. I’m sure it does somewhere and if you use the thick (3/4" barncut shakes), but in our area (and in most other areas where I’ve lived except maybe Colorado) 14-22 years is a normal life span for 1/2"-5/8" shakes, which is what appeared to be pictured. Even local insurance companies look at 14-22 years as an expected service life.

For more information on wood shakes or for detailed analysis refer to: “”. Haag Engineering in Dallas is the wood shake guru. Even the Wood Shake & Shingle Bureau looks to them for advice on wood shake/ shingle roofing and they’ve got some really top-rated short books on roofing defects (50 pages) with explicit photos. We use them a lot as a reference and they train most of the major insurance companies’ field claim adjusters in roofing defects.

Dan Bowers

Note: Watch for more information on cedar shingles from the members of the Technical Committee in a future issue.

The give and take of across-the- boarder updates

Greetings from Canada. We hope to keep you informed and updated on a regular basis about what is happening in Canada. We now have seven provincial associations serving members from all 10 Canadian provinces. Each provincial group operates independently, but all belong to the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors (CAHI).

For the last several years, each provincial group has been meeting with government officials, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Human Resources and Development Corporation (HRDC) and other allied groups to establish a national standard. Once certification is completed, this would ensure that all home inspectors in Canada would have improved knowledge and inspecting skills, as well as a minimum standard for adherence. Each province would still be able to set standards higher that the minimum National Standard and incorporate Regional differences.

Setting a minimum standard ensures customers who enlist the services of a home inspector a consistent standard of performance and report content across Canada. Progress is going well and each provincial organization is cooperating to assure a successful initiative with the Occupational Analysis now completed.

The next stage will be course preparation of these new standards by community colleges, CEGEPS and universities providing education to new home inspectors. The ability to study in one’s own province allows new inspectors to progress at their own pace. It also helps them stay current with what is happening in their province and gives them the added assurance of portability of credentials throughout the country.

Cooperation among each provincial organization is one of the reasons we have made great strides in Canada in such a short period of time. I am sure that any one of the presidents of a provincial group would be pleased to share with any of you the reason Canada has been so successful with this National Initiative.

Every three months, CAHI produces a publication similar to The ASHI Reporter called The Home Front containing news about home inspectors.

Every year CAHI hosts a three-day education conference, and this year Ontario is the host. The conference will be held in Toronto, Nov. 8-11. The theme of the conference is “2001: An Inspection Odyssey.” To make your plans to attend, call the number previously listed or watch The Reporter for more information.

I believe both organizations have much to offer each other, and maintaining strong ties will be beneficial to both groups.
HQ provides CAHI with similar updates.

Harry Janssen

CAHI liaison to ASHI