Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


A Thousand Words of Warning

I was taught back before I had any gray hair and when I went to home inspector school that using those concrete blocks, with the channels in them, for piers was a bad idea if the channels were placed horizontally. That is the wrong way to go about it. You know, like this.

The channels should go up and down. I see blocks used the wrong way in homes some of the time, but they are used the wrong way in manufactured homes nearly all of the time. Honestly, I think that such installation is the "norm" in the manufactured home inspections that I do. As an inspector, I was taught that blocks with that channel in a horizontal position will easily crush. Far as I can see, even the so-called professionals who put in manufactured homes for a living apparently do not buy that crushing theory.

When I see them installed that way -- read that as usually -- I always tell the clients that the blocks are prone to crushing, destabilization. I think that most of the clients think that it is another rambling from a worry-wart home inspector running when he is not being chased. That changed recently. I was actually able to write  this concern into my report in a manner with real teeth -- no sooth saying, see the photo.

In this case a picture was worth a thousand words of warning.

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 13 commentsSteven L. Smith • July 30 2009 11:08PM


I'll agree that this photo is truly worth a thousand words of warning. We don't have many mobile homes in this market area, so I probably would never have seen this.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) over 9 years ago

There are times when pictures definitely speak louder then words!  Enjoying our heat my friend? -)

Posted by Liz Moras Migic, Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor over 9 years ago

It's great you have that photo... I don't think anyone can argue with your analysis.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 9 years ago


I think the photo sums it up well.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

And the problem is that as long as we only have vertical loads they will likely be OK the wrong way----but exert some lateral forces (side to side) on them----as in an earthquake----so glad we never have them around here----and they have very little strength at all.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Definitely don't really need to say much after showing these photos.

Posted by Corey Chase (Silvercreek Realty Group) over 9 years ago

Steven,  I have usually seen them placed the correct way.  But your photo will have me watching closely in the future.

Posted by Gary Coles (International Referrals), Latin America Real Estate (Venture Realty International) over 9 years ago

I hate going under a house and finding things like that. Makes me want to get out as fast as I can...

Helping you live your American Dream...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 9 years ago

I have seen concrete blocks installed the wrong way many times, but I have never seen them cracked. That is an awesome picture!

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

I see the same thing here in my neck of the woods.  I love the pictures, great blog.  I guess they can always have a "block" party.

Posted by Joseph Lang, Home Inspector, Southern California (Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection) over 9 years ago

I never knew that -- again, I will be looking at blocks differently (I know I've seen some around, and can't think where at the moment...). Thanks for the graphic lesson!

Posted by Shoshana Shay (St. Pete Realty) over 9 years ago

Those photos are excellent and do make the point!!

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

Great picture Steve.  I can't imagine how many times I've wished I had that photo to show a client.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 9 years ago