Home inspector Bryan Standley has become TikTok-famous for roasting flipped houses.
Homeowners should look closely at the underside of their roof when inspecting an attic, Standley told Insider.
If you see rusty nails, you may have moisture issues that could cost thousands to fix and cause health issues.
An attic is often a place where things are placed out of sight: think boxes of school papers, baby clothes, and old mattresses.
It is also a place where house flippers can cut corners, according to home inspector and TikTok sensation Bryan Standley.
Based in Kansas City, Standley has inspected thousands of homes throughout his career and joined TikTok in January 2020 to share his tips and experiences. His videos have been liked over 615,000 times at the time of writing.
"The attic is going to be a place where you're going to find a lot of hidden problems because flippers are not trying to make the attic pretty," he told Insider.
One costly hidden problem that Standley encounters almost daily in attics is excess moisture. He spoke to Insider about how moisture in an attic can turn a house into a money sink down the road and shared his tips for how to identify moisture issues.
Rust, Standley said, is a big red flag.
Excess moisture in attics can lead to mold growth that costs thousands of dollars to remove
Excess moisture is typically caused by air escaping from a house into the attic through entry points like whole-house attic fans, wire chases in walls, light fixtures, and bathroom fans, Standley told Insider.
"Whenever you have warm moisture in indoor air, and it's making its way up into the cold attic, then you can have condensation form that can let mold grow," he said.
When an attic can't dry out due to poor ventilation, that's when you get "really bad" problems, Standley told Insider.
At a minimum, homeowners will need to stop air transfer that is carrying moisture up to the attic, like rerouting a bathroom fan duct to the outside of a home.
In many cases, homeowners will also need to add more attic ventilation, Standley told Insider. Installing roof vents costs between $300 and $650 on average, per HomeAdvisor.
In the worst-case scenario, mold "takes over the attic," Standley told Insider. "In that case, you're going to have to probably remove a lot of your insulation and have all that load cleaned off."
HomeAdvisor estimates that mold remediation in attics can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000 if it remains undetected. Attic insulation can cost between $1,700 and $2,100 depending on the size of the attic and type of insulation.
Mold can also cause a range of health problems, from allergic reactions to asthma attacks to lung infections like bronchitis. If mold is growing in the attic, it can still affect homeowners, according to the Attic Guys, an attic insulation company based in California and Texas.
"Mold spores are able to make their way through the smallest openings, traveling from your attic down into your living room, kitchen, and bedroom. It's not uncommon for people to suffer from respiratory illness as a result of living in homes with excessively moldy attics," the Attic Guys write on their website.
Standley recommends looking for rust on roof ceilings and attic insulation to identify moisture issues
One way to check for moisture issues is to look at your roof decking, or the wood that your shingles are nailed to from above, according to Standley.
Typically in unfinished attics, nails will stick through the plywood, he said. If the nail tips "are rusted, or this time of year, if they're frosted over, then that shows you that those things have been getting wet," he told Insider.
Another place to look is the top of the insulation. If you see "little rust-colored stains," that's a telltale sign of excess moisture, Standley said. The stains are a result of condensation forming on nails and dripping onto the insulation below.
In one TikTok video, Standley shows an attic built on a burned foundation. As he pans through the space, nails on the roof decking are visible as is insulation on the floor:
While Standley enjoys sharing tips that can help future home buyers save money in the future, his main recommendation is to hire a qualified home inspector, since there are "hundreds, if not thousands of things that we're keeping an eye out for."
Read the original article on Insider