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Lingruen Associates

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do you know what to look for?   
A. Wood destroying organisms (termites, wood boring beetles, fungus, etc.) all leave tell tale evidence.  Like any trained professional we recognize the signs and symptoms.

Q. What is a separated report? 
A. A separated report is defined by State mandated language as follows: This is a separated report, which is defined as Section 1/Section 2 conditions evident on the date of the inspection.  Section 1 contains items where there is visible evidence of active infestation, infection or conditions that have resulted in or from infestation or infection.  Section 2 items are conditions deemed likely to lead to infestation or infection but where no visible evidence of such was found.  Further inspection items are defined as recommendations to inspected area(s) which during the original inspection did not allow the inspector access to complete the inspection and cannot be defined as Section 1 or Section 2.  In other words Section 1 items are conditions that need corrective action now and Section 2 items my be considered preventative maintenance.

Q. What are faulty grades?   
A. Generally speaking this is a condition where wood members are embedded or below adjacent soil or paving.  This can become a philosophical debate.  Some believe grade levels are Mother Earth, while others believe the grade level is whatever you walk on, man made or not.  Regardless, wood that is in ground/grade contact is subject to decay.

Q. What do you inspect?   
A. The wood components of your home.  We do not inspect the building's roof, plumbing, electrical system, heater, etc.

Q. What/Who are termite companies?
A. Termite companies are licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board of California's Department of Consumer Affairs. Within this department there are 3 Branches of Pest Control:
  • Branch 1 is fumigation of structures for wood destroying pests.
  • Branch 2 is for general pest control such as ants, roaches, rodents, etc.
  • Branch 3 is structural pest control.  That's us.  We repair your home!

Q. What are wood boring beetles?   
A. They come in a variety of flavors. The primary kinds are softwood and hardwood beetles that bore small pin size holes into wood to lay their eggs. Once the eggs hatch it is the larva that damages the wood.  You have some options here...Do nothing (ouch), fumigate the structure with a lethal gas (expensive), local chemical treatment (no guarantees), and/or replace the wood.  Fortunately they are very small insects.

Q. What are termites?

A. They are insects.  Remember your high school biology?  All insects have 6 legs, 2 antenna, and wings.  Their job in the natural world is to help decompose fallen trees in the forests.  In California we have three major types:  the Subterranean, the Drywood, and the Dampwood.  A fourth kind in Southern California, the Formosan, is being closely tracked by state and university entomologists.  Fortunately its colonization is small for now.

Q. How long will the inspection take?   
A. A typical inspection of a 2000 square foot +/- home is about one hour. Of course your home may be a typical and take longer and can potentially cost more to inspect.

Q. What are test holes?   
A. Test holes are invasive and there's no getting around this issue.  If your home is stucco clad, old, and in a marine environment you're at risk.  Stucco can harbor problems unbeknownst to the common property owner.  The only way to know if there is wood decay is to make a hole through the stucco at known critical areas in order to probe the wood for softness.  If damage is found, then it's time to make another hole in the near vicinity to determine if the damage is traveling.  Sort of like connecting the dots to make a picture based upon experience.

Q. Stucco can harbor what problems?   
A. Stucco is a common exterior finish in California.  It is a cementitious material usually 3/4" thick and holds paint well, but that's where it ends.  Unlike wood clad buildings that take a beating due to weather or solar damage that require paint every few years, stucco doesn't breath/ventilate like wood sided buildings during normal seasonal expansion  and contraction.  Should an unsuspected leak develop at the roof, windows or doors, or through settlement cracks, the moisture has no way to escape.  And the inevitable wood decay will develop should the leak become chronic.  We at Lingruen Associates all own stucco homes and like stucco for its easy durability, but we also know not to trust them any further than we can see them.

Q. How long before we can expect a written report?   
A. Generally speaking, the next day.  Of course there may be some exceptions.  Ask your inspector.

Q. Do you inspect for water leaks?   
A. Yes and no. If the leak is pertinent to wood decay we'll try to track it down.  If it's a roof or plumbing leak, etc., then you will need to contact the appropriate trades for repair.

Q. How do you inspect between houses in San Francisco?   
A. Inspection of exterior walls that have zero property line construction is impossible.  Again, we look for signs and symptoms of problems from the inside.  One thing is sure...Maintain the roof counter flashing detail between buildings to prevent leakage.

Q. Do you move storage?   
A. Generally speaking --No.  We don't mind moving the garbage cans or the bicycle but beyond that it gets dicey.  You know that piece of junk that broke and suddenly became a family heirloom story....

Q. I want you to perform the work recommended.  What do I need to do?   
A. Within the report you received should be a Work Authorization document consisting of 2 pages.  One that shows the dollar amount estimate(s) along with deposit, start payment, and progress payments, and the second contractual page requesting your signature.  Sign the second page including your day and evening phone numbers, the deposit check (this way we know you are a sincere customer that won't cancel the job one day before starting) and mail both pages to our office.  Once we receive these documents we will call you and schedule the work.  It's that simple.