Top To Bottom Services, INC | MD, VA, DC Home Inspections, For Sale Sign Installations!

Inspection & Testing Services

FREE 101 Day Guarantee | FREE Appliance Recall Alerts | FREE Concierge Service | FREE 1 Time Re-Inspect*


Residential Inspections

Whether you're looking for a house to call a home or a sound investment, searching for and inspecting valuable real estate options is not a game and should not be taken lightly. Even though a home may appear to be in good shape our experience tells us that in addition to typical minor problems, significant deficiencies and safety hazards affect many homes. For example, major maintenance and repairs such as a roof or air conditioning replacement may be a near term or immediate concern. We protect you with a FREE 101 Day Inspection Guarantee. Imagine the peace of mind that delivers! We have partnered with Home Owners Network to provide appliance recall alerts with every inspection for FREE. That's a $79.99 value. Our industry leading 200% Guarantee is yet another layer of protection for you. If you feel that the home inspection or report was not thorough, proper or complete, you can hire another licensed home inspection service to inspect your home within 72 hours. If they perform their inspection strictly to the NACHI standards of practice and in accordance to state requirements and find something significant that we missed, we will refund your money and pay for the other inspection up to the fee we charged. We thoroughly check:

Roofs Fixtures
Walls Heating
Interior Ceilings
Flashing Structure
Crawl Spaces     Fireplace
A/C Electrical
Chimney Insulation
Grounds Ventilation
Foundation Plumbing
Drainage And much more

Radon Testing

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States has warned that Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of Uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. We leave a small box with two E-Perm canisters at the home. The testing period is 48 hours. We will go back and retrieve the canisters and run the results in-house and email them directly to you and your agent as requested. The EPA recommends all homes be tested once a year for Radon.
 
 

VOC Testing

VOC testing is an air quality test which tests for the presence of VOC's or Volatile Organic Compounds. These compounds are released into the air from carpets and adhesives, composite wood products, paints, caulks, solvents, upholstery fabrics, varnishes, vinyl floors to name just a few. They can usually be smelled in high concentrations, but many are odorless and can be harmful. Testing for elevated levels of VOC's is a healthy choice.
 
 

Mold Testing

Mold...literally, a growing concern. National media attention has alerted the public to the destructive and possibly toxic dangers of hidden mold spores that could affect the family's health and their homes. Now remember not all mold is dangerous and we can help you figure out what you're looking at or smelling. Our inspectors provide the skills, equipment, and knowledge to properly sample air or take direct swab tests of suspicious growth in order to properly identify potentially high levels of pollutants. It is recommended that one indoor air sample be taken for every 1,000 square feet of livable space. You will receive an emailed PDF report, which details all the pollutants, identified and their levels and if remediation is recommended based on EPA benchmarks.

What test do you need? There are different tests for different situations. Let me explain what we are talking about here. If you see suspicious growth on a wall behind the furnace and want to know what that is, we will swab the area and can identify what spores are at that particular location. Swab tests are great if you can see the growth or discoloration and want to know what it is. Conversely, if you can't see anything or even smell anything but you are instinctively thinking something is wrong we will do indoor air sampling. The thing about air samples is that you MUST take two samples at a minimum. The reason being is that one test will be taken inside the house and one outside. Why outside? The lab uses the outside sample to establish a bench mark. If for example, the outdoor test shows five types of mold at let's say 500 spores each and the indoor sample has the same spores but at only 400 counts. Then you are at a higher risk walking to your mailbox then sitting in your home.

As mentioned above you should budget for one test per 1,000 square feet of livable space plus the outside test if doing air samples. So if your home is 1,300sqft we could do two tests but really you should have three. Schedule your test with us and when the inspector is there he may find it not necessary to take that second sample from inside.

Some examples of places where mold can be found inside the home include basements, kitchens (bottom of refrigerators),underside of carpets and pads, surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), ceilings and top side of ceiling tiles, front and back side of drywall, wall paper or paneling, inside HVAC systems and duct work, clothing (yes it's true), and improperly vented attic or crawlspaces.
 
 

Pre-Drywall Inspections

This type of inspection is always fun for our inspectors. We like to describe it as getting an x-ray of your home. Before a home builder hangs the drywall and installs the finial fixtures and treatments all the plumbing lines, electrical wires, insulation, venting, studs, joists, rafters, and related infrastructure systems are exposed. We inspect them to make sure they have been done properly and to current residential code. The timing of this inspection is difficult because builders generally give you a small window and very little advance notice that they are prepared for this inspection. As you can imagine we are not well liked by most builders. Our report is provided to the buyer, agent, and builder for remediation. Once the builder has received the occupancy permit for the home we can return for the final inspection. Call our office for additional information or schedule your appointment today!
 
 

Well Water Testing

This is a great water test for real estate transactions or for someone with a well that needs bi-annual testing to verify current drinking water quality. There is a big difference between well water testing and city water testing. When you have a well, you are responsible for maintaining the well and the quality of the water, not the city. This well water test is taken from within the home and is analyzed over a seventy-two hour period and results are sent to you electronically for easy access and review. We recommend sharing the results with a local licensed plumber because in many cases you wouldn't even know what you're looking at or where to begin. Qualified plumbers can use this data to calibrate your system to meet EPA recommendations for quality. The Complete Water Analysis covers:

Alkalinity:

Alkalinity measures the ability of the water to neutralize (or buffer) acids and keep the pH from changing. Sources: Rocks, soils, salts, plant activities, and certain wastewater discharges. Effects and Hazards: High water alkalinity causes higher algae and plant growth; while low alkalinity indicates that the water's ability to buffer acids is poor. If there are drastic changes in alkalinity, many chemical and biological processes will be affected.

Bacteria (Total Coliform, E Coli):

Coliform bacteria are present in soils and E. coli in human and animal feces. The presence of these bacteria may indicate surface water intrusion contamination or contamination from a septic system. EPA considers them to be the indicator organisms for "safe" drinking water.

Nitrate, Nitrite(MCL = 10 mg/L) (MCL = 1.0 mg/L):

Major sources of nitrates or nitrites in drinking water include fertilizer, sewage and feedlots. Infants who drink water containing nitrates in excess of the MCL may develop shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome.

Clarity

Chloride:

During the past 20 years there has been a general rise in chloride levels in wells resulting from salt being used for road de-icing. High levels contribute to the corrosiveness of water on pipes and heating equipment. It's usually accompanied by high sodium levels, which can be a health concern to some individuals.

Color

Copper MCL = 1.0 mg/L):

Water can be a significant source of copper intake depending upon the geographical location, the character of the water, the temperature of the water and the presence of copper pipes. Copper has toxic effects at high dose levels and may cause kidney or liver damage; but it is an essential element at lower levels.

Hardness:

Hardness is a measure of how much calcium and magnesium carbonate is dissolved in the water. Hard water is generally good tasting and good for you; however it can produce scaling on plumbing fixtures and give poor sudsing characteristics. FTL measures hardness in mg/L. Low = 0-75mg/L; | Moderate = 76-150mg/L; | Hard = 151-250mg/L; | Very hard 251 or more mg/L. 1mg/L is equal to 0.058 grains/gallon.

Iron (Guidance level = 0.3 mg/L):

When Iron comes in contact with Oxygen, it changes to a reddish compound that can discolor bathroom fixtures and laundry. It can also impart a metallic taste to the water.

Lead (MCL = 0.015 mg/L):

Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion of materials containing lead that are in the water distribution system and household plumbing such as lead-based solder, brass, and chrome plated brass faucets. In some cases, it could come from pipes made of lead that connect your house water to service lines. High levels may cause delays in physical and mental development in children. In adults it may contribute to kidney problems and high blood pressure.

Turbidity:

Turbidity refers to the degree of cloudiness in water due to suspended particles. If turbidity increases after a rain, it can indicate that surface water intrusion is occurring in the well. High turbidity levels are often associated with disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria.

PH (Recommended range 6.5-8.0):

pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. Low numbers (around 5) indicate acidic water and are usually associated with corrosion problems, pin hole plumbing leaks and can contribute to high lead and copper levels. .
 
 

Septic Testing

A dye test is a relatively low cost, non-invasive method for testing of private sewage treatment systems. It is a limited, performance based test. Essentially what our building consultant will do is figure out the flow rate of water in your house. It is figured in gallons of water per minute. Then dye is added to a toilet and flushed continuously until it is gone. At the same time showers and sinks are run in the home. The idea is to send as much water as possible into the field. The only thing a septic dye test can reveal is complete failure of the septic drain/leech fields to drain effluent. No other aspect of the sewage treatment system is evaluated through septic dye testing.

This test does not provide a guarantee of the present, or future, performance of the system. It is not a full evaluation of a sewage treatment system. More comprehensive testing and evaluations are possible and are recommended.
 
 

Termite Inspection

 
 

Lead Testing

Before the early 1970 is was not unusual to use interior and exterior paint products that had some level of lead. Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly. Our licensed inspectors use NON-TOXIC chemically impregnated pads, when moistened with water, provide the most accurate and reliable on-site results possible. Our test pads detect the presence of lead to as little as 5 parts per million (5ppm).
 
 



*FREE 1 Time Re-Inspect applies to original inspection only, when primary utilities (electricity, gas, or water) are not available. TTBS will reinspect those facilities at no charge when the affected utilities are turned on.
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7820 Airpark Road Suite E

Gaithersburg, MD 20879

301-938-9100