Top Ten Home Defects

By
Home Inspector with STLhomeinspector.com

Home Defects by: http://www.onlineazhomes.com/homedefects.php



Top 10 Home Defects



Roofing Defects:

Problems with roofing material, either due to aging and wear or to improper installation are likely to be found in the majority of homes. This does not mean that most roofs are in need of replacement, but rather that most are in need of some type of maintenance or repair.


Ceiling Stains, Indicating Past or Current Roof Leaks:

The problem here is that you often can't tell if the roof still leaks, unless it is inspected on a rainy day. Some stains are merely the residual effects of leaks that have been repaired. There is also the possibility that ceiling stains were caused by a former plumbing leak in the attic.


Water Intrusion:

Water intrusion into basements or crawlspaces due to ground water conditions: Such problems can be pervasive, difficult to resolve, and sometimes very damaging to buildings. Correction can be as simple as re-grading the exterior grounds or adding roof gutters. Unfortunately, major drainage improvements are often the only practical solutions, requiring costly ground water systems such as French drains designed by experts such as geotechnical engineers.



Electrical Safety Hazards:

Electrical safety hazards, especially (but not always) in older homes: Examples are ungrounded outlets, lack of Ground Fault Control Interrupters (GFCI - shock protection devices), faulty wiring conditions in electrical panels or elsewhere in a building. Such problems may be the result of errors at the time of construction, but very often they are due to wiring that was added or altered by persons other than qualified electricians.


Rotten Wood:

Rotted wood at building exteriors and at various plumbing fixtures: In places where wood stays wet for long periods, such as roof eaves, exterior trim, of decks, around tubs and showers, or below loose toilets, fungus infection is very likely to attack, resulting in a condition commonly known as dry rot. If left unchecked, damage can become quite extensive.


Building Violations Where Additions and Alterations Were Constructed without Permits:

Homeowners will often tell a home inspector, "We added the garage without a permit, but it was all done to code." This statement is a red flag to most home inspectors, because no one could possibly know the entire building code, and the average person without professional involvement with the code is likely to know very little of it. Whenever an owner offers code assurance, I know that problems are likely to be found.


Unsafe Fireplace and Chimney Conditions:

These can range from lack of maintenance, such as neglecting to hire a chimney sweep, to faulty installation of fixtures. Most common among these are the lack of spark arrestors and substandard placement of wood-burning stoves. Free-standing fireplaces are typically installed by home owners and handymen, people without an adequate knowledge of fire safety requirements. The most common violations in these cases involve insufficient clearance between hot metal surfaces and combustible materials within the building. Fire hazards of this kind are often concealed in attics, where they remain undiscovered until a roof fire occurs.
Two to Three Weeks before Moving Day


Faulty Installation of Water Heaters:

In most localities, less than 5% of all water heaters are installed in full compliance with plumbing code requirements. Violations can include inadequate strapping, improperly installed overflow piping, unsafe flue conditions, or faulty gas piping. It should also be remembered that today's water heaters are designed to have shorter longevity than in times of yore. In fact, leaks can develop in units that are only five years old.


Hazardous Conditions Involving Gas Heaters:

  • Most gas-fueled heaters are in need of some maintenance, if only the changing of an air filter or a long-overdue review by the gas company. In some cases, however, gas heaters contain life-threatening defects that can remain undiscovered until too late. These can range from fire safety violations to the venting of carbon monoxide into the building. A cracked firebox, for example, can remain undiscovered unless found by an expert or until tragic consequences occur.

Firewall Violations In Garages:

Special fire-resistive construction is required for walls and doors that separate a garage from a dwelling. Violations are common, either due to faulty construction, damage or alterations to the garage interior, or changes in code requirements since the home was built. In older homes, where firewalls are not installed, sellers and agents will often say that the building predates the code. However, the fire separation requirement for residential garages dates back to 1927.

 

Key things to watch for:

Water leaks. Look for stains on ceilings and near the baseboards, especially in basements or attics.
Shifting foundations. Look for large cracks along the home's foundation.
Drainage. Look for standing water, either around the foundation of the home of in the yard.
Termites. Look for weakened or grooved wood, especially near ground level.
Worn roofs. Look for broken or missing copings and buckled shingles as well as water spots on ceilings.
Inadequate wiring. Look for antiquated fuse boxes, extension cords (indicating insufficient outlets), and outlets without a place to plug in the grounding prong.
Plumbing problems. Very low water pressure, banging in pipes.

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Anonymous
Aaron

I live in Pittsburgh but I found your article a good read.  I am buying a home right now and I have found it to be a difficult process.  Furthermore, the home I am looking a is older which comes with some issues.  I found that I have water intrusion issues withthe home and had to contact a company to fix the poblem.  It was not that bad.  The company ad an informative website and they were very nice. 

www.keystonebasementsystems.com

It was not as bad as it seemed.

Dec 01, 2008 06:53 AM #1
Anonymous
Tom

Aaron,

How did you run across the water intrustion?  Was it visable in the basement?  You may have other issues which are not visiable.  I personally would have someone take a look with infra red technology to see if any other water intrustion existed that I couldn't see with the naked eye.

Dec 01, 2008 04:38 PM #2
Anonymous
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Dec 08, 2008 02:50 PM #3
Rainmaker
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Frank Torre
Torre Inspection Service, LLC 888-202-8869 - Hicksville, NY

Hi Billy, great post good to see another Inter Nachi member on AR.

Dec 12, 2008 08:30 AM #4
Rainer
23,676
James Graner
Residential Services: http://appraisalmo.com - Saint Charles, MO

Great article!

Thank You!!

 

Jan 02, 2009 06:58 AM #5
Rainmaker
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Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Good post Billy, welcome back to AR.

Jan 04, 2009 03:09 PM #6
Rainer
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Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Howdy and Morning Billy

I'm with Jack, you did a mighty fine job writing this blog post.

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Jan 05, 2010 04:18 PM #7
Rainer
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Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Billy, I stop by in-order to check to see if you had started being active on your blog here agin or not. But it sure looks like you are not.

Jul 24, 2013 09:16 PM #8
Rainer
654,274
Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Billy, I'm stopping back by in-order to check to see if you had started being active on your blog here agin or not. But it sure looks like you are not.

Aug 04, 2013 09:36 PM #9
Rainer
654,274
Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Billy, I'm stopping back by in-order to check to see if you had started being active on your blog here agin or not. But it sure looks like you are not.

Aug 04, 2013 09:37 PM #10
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Billy Boerner

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