Tue, Jun 26th - 6:10AM
Common Defects Found During Home Inspection
Construction defects and safety violations are quite common and are usually very visible, but the majority of home owners are totally unaware of them. Some, in fact, like standing water by foundations, are commonly avoided by the home owner as he walks around his house. People get used to seeing things and unless educated never realize the problem. The following, therefore, is a list of common defects likely to appear in a typical home inspection report:
1. Roofing defects, caused by aging or improper installation are likely to be found on most buildings. Excessive wear in area of discharge from higher roofs is also a common problem. This does not mean that most roofs need replacement, but that many are in need of maintenance and repair.
2. Ceiling stains in many homes indicate past or current leaks. Also a good home inspector will be alert to newly painted areas of ceiling, a dead give away of a cover up going on. The challenge is to determine if the leak was repaired or will recur during the next rain. Discovery is not always possible. A good moisture meter will help you tell if there was any recent leakage.
3. Faulty ground drainage often causes water intrusion beneath buildings. Such problems can be pervasive, difficult to resolve, and may cause damage to building components. Soil compaction is common along foundation in new homes, which is caused by natural settling. Advise home owners to build-up any low areas to maintain proper drainage.
4. Electrical safety violations, either few or many, are to be found in the majority of homes. Examples are ungrounded outlets, lack of shock protection, amateur wiring "improvements," and conditions too numerous to name. FPE panels have a background of problems and aluminum wiring was used between 60’s and 70’s, and although allowed should certainly be identified. Many home owners are becoming very adept at hiding their aluminum wiring. Pushing wire tight to breaker and running copper from nearby junction boxes to the panel are just a couple of means of avoiding detection.
5. Rotted wood is common where components remain wet for long periods. Exterior locations are trim, eaves, and decks. Problems also occur at walls and floors in bathrooms. Mold can occur in as little as 48 hours when conditions are right, always recommend a mold specialist if mold is suspected.
6. Code violations are common where additions and alterations are built without permits. Sellers often boast that, "We added the garage without a permit, but it was all done to code." This is a red flag to most home inspectors. Recommend your buyer check with local building officials if there is any doubt about permits or code violations, there maybe property line issues.
7. Fireplaces and chimneys are often unsafe. Common causes are amateur installation of hardware and fixtures, exterior rust damage, or simple failure to call a chimney sweep. Most home inspectors provide WETT inspection services, mine is included at no charge.
8. Water heaters are seldom in total compliance with code requirements. Violations include inadequate strapping, substandard overflow piping, unsafe flue conditions, and faulty gas lines. Rental hot water heaters are usually installed by gas company and rarely have any defects in their installation.
9. Gas furnaces often harbor defects. These range from dirty filters to faulty combustion; from poor airflow to exhaust hazards; from noisy operation to inadequate fire clearance. Given the potential for major consequences, annual servicing by the gas company is recommended. Inspecting furnace filter and finding any build up is a flag that cleaning is probably required.
10. Faulty firewalls are common in garages. Violations include, holes, unprotected attic accesses, doors not fire rated, drywall that is too thin, and exposed wood framing. In Ontario, interior garage doors, require automatic closures. Many homeowners disconnect the closures to make bringing in groceries easier.
11. Minor plumbing defects are commonly found, including loose toilets, dripping faucets, slow drains, leaking drains, hot water at the right faucet. Polybutylene Plumbing Lines (PB) (Quest) was installed in some homes and has been known to fail due to chemical reaction on fittings, this could lead to thousands of dollars in water damage and should be inspected by a licensed and insured plumber.
12. Failed seals are routinely found at thermal pane windows, resulting in fogging and mineral deposits on inside of glass. This is most common with windows manufacturer during the 1980's. Casement windows can have faulty or loose mechanisms, cracks in glass panes and wood rot are also common problems found in many window units.
Most professional home inspectors belong to associations that keep them up to date on newly discovered defects and product notifications. I personally use, NACHI, Ontario Building Officials Association, ULC and CSA to keep informed of most technical bulletins and notifications.
Barrie Home Inspector
Barrie Home Inspections