House Shopping 101: “Don’t worry, the City inspected it.” #3: Missing Vent Terminal


3 roof nailsIn the photo, nails can be seen protruding through the roof from the inside outwards. The homeowner had told me about water leakage in the bathroom ceiling below. This is brand new construction in Oakville, completed in 2018.

The nails were installed during construction to mark the location of a vent terminal for the bathroom fan. What’s missing is the vent terminal!

The vent terminal needs to be installed, and that requires cutting a hole in the roof and connecting the terminal to the hose that (we hope!) is inside the attic.



3b roof nailsWhat’s missing is a vent terminal like the one in the forefront of this photo at the same house. Also visible are two plumbing vent stacks, a terminal at the far end, and two roof vents close to the ridge. Checking for missing vent terminals is a regular part of my inspection process. That includes vents from all storeys of the house. I have found missing bathroom ,drier, and kitchen exhaust terminals on houses over 10 years old.







3c roof nailsA repeat offence at a house down the street. I’m wondering if the installer didn’t account for the second floor laundry rooms that require a vent? The homeowner was completely unaware that this terminal was missing and there were nails protruding through the roof

This type of defect is not easy to find as it is hidden on the roof, out of view from ground level, and even difficult to reach by ladder. The narrow space between houses in new developments often hinders ladder placement.

It’s a common sounding from the selling parties on new or almost new homes. Especially those built without Tarion warranty. “Don’t worry, the City inspected it”. As an inspector serving the buying community, I am often amused by that statement. My income on new and nearly new home inspections relies directly on identifying the leftover issues after all the builder and municipal inspections are complete and the first owner has taken possession. These issues don’t go away on their own, and I also find “builder issues” on resale homes, even up to 50 years after original construction.

Don’t hesitate to have new or nearly-new homes inspected by a professional.

The homeowner now must pursue the builder through the Tarion warranty program to get this made right. The challenge with any work done in hidden locations is verifying that the remedial work is correct. The homeowner should ask the workers to take photos or provide some other verification of work done.

Keith Tripp lives, works and plays in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.