A West Vancouver home inspection of a property on West Hill Drive highlights some of the issues associated with south facing windows and the affect on the building systems.
On the weekend EKAN completed a home inspection on West Hill Drive in West Vancouver. The orientation of this community is such that there are great unobstructed ocean views to the south that are just amazing. Every visitor to the home is drawn like a magnet to the windows and decks, to just stand there for a moment gazing out onto the horizon.
Nonetheless, there are several cautions that every buyer should take into consideration when purchasing such a view property.
- First, the sun’s energy is intense and will weather the roof, siding, decks, doors and windows much more on the south face than the other three sides. The implication is that maintenance, repair and replacement of components to this side may have to be twice as often compared the others; otherwise warping, blistering, cracking of both components and seals will occur.
- Second, with a view property, windows are a prominent feature. However with the intense heat cycle between night and day, they are much more prone to fail at the seal and cloud up with condensation between the panes.
- Third, if not addressed with thermal barriers, insulation, ventilation and or cooling, the interior of the home will heat up too much in summer and cool down too quickly in winter.
For this particular property, the exterior of the house was in superior condition. The roof and siding had been well maintained and were in surprisingly good conditon. The windows had been prevoiusly replaced. Only one deck on the south-west corner had weathered poorly and was in need of a rebuild.
However the heat gain into the house was an issue for consideration. The inspection was performed in the afternoon so we had the benefit of the sun’s full potential. Indoor temperature were in the high 20’s. Natural ventilation by opening windows and doors was a solution, as there was no air conditioning or mechanical forced-air ventilation. This property was built in the 1980’s and even the kitchen did not have an exhaust hood over the range.
As the buyer is planning on renovating the property to modern standards (by the way there were two well-built wood burning fireplaces), my primary concern was that the structure was sound to accomodate a major upgrade… and indeed that was the case in this particular property.