Exterior Walls & Siding
The exterior walls belong to the most intricate systems in a building and should be properly sealed, insulated adequately and protected from moisture. This ensures increased comfort, noise reduction and energy efficiency. An effective wall should be air tight and control moisture, and have complete insulation coverage.
Common things the inspector will be looking for are water intrusion, inadequate clearance from the ground surface or from the roof cover, dense vegetation, and wood-to-soil contact. One of the primary causes of fungus and mold growth in a house is caused by trapped moisture or dampness that cannot be released. Structural damage may be caused by fungi eating away at wood, resulting in decay or rot. Further, dampness in wood also attract insects which drive destruction.
Walkways, Driveways, & Pavement
Driveways and walkways of a home are not only an aesthetic addition to the grounds, but also serve the functional purpose of providing ease of access to a home. Inspections of walkways, driveways, and pavement are important to ensure there are no safety hazards, standing water, or improperly slanted paved areas bordering the home.
Over time, driveways and walkways may settle, crumble, or crack, creating differences in elevation and potential tripping hazards. The inspector will check for paving with large cracks, high areas, low areas, and broken sections that may also trap water. The inspector will also determine if the paving adjacent to foundation walls is sloped so as to drain water away from the home or building.
In some cases, the property owner is also responsible for repairing and maintaining the curbs, drive aprons, and sidewalks at the street. This makes it even more imperative that you have the condition of these areas examined as it will inform you about possible maintenance issues.
The drainage system of the roof is an integral piece of the home which includes roof gutters, downspouts and diverters that protect the building walls from intruding rain. Proper roof drainage protects the homes foundation, prevents erosion, basement flooding, and the growth of mold and mildew.
A roof drainage system that is clogged with debris can divert rainwater onto the roof under shingles or overflow and drain down the inside of a wall or to collect at the foundation. An inspector will determine if the gutters and downspouts have the proper design, are sloped adequately, and whether the runoff is directed away from the perimeter of the building.
Property Surface Drainage
It is important to inspect the property surface drainage to determine how surface water flows in relation to the location of the home. Faulty site drainage causes damp crawlspaces, wet basements, and may even lead to foundation failure. To avoid hazard, the surface drainage should be directed to a storm sewer.
The inspector will look for adequate sloping of ground and land around the property. They will also be checking that the concentrated runoff is diverted toward approved drainage devices. if present, the inspector will also check that any automated sprinkler systems are properly installed and not spraying too close together or onto the foundation walls.
Deck, Porches, Patios
Outdoor architectural elements such as decks, porches, balconies, verandas, and patios add to the recreational benefit of a home. The inspector will note any large cracks or splitting in the wood, missing connectors and fasteners, signs of rot or decay, and determine if all lag screws and bolts have washers. Additionally, the inspector will examine if the guardrails are properly supported. A secure platform and railings are essential to avoid injury.
Chimneys are meant to provide safe and efficient ventilation for fireplaces. Due to the fact that chimneys have a greater exposure to the weather than other building components, issues may arise at any time as the house ages. While inspecting the chimney, the inspector will look for any signs of cracking, deterioration, settlement, or leaning. The inspector will also check to ensure the clean-out door is functioning properly.
Garages & Carports
Garages and carports provide storage space, protect vehicles from the elements, and add a level of security (especially if the garage is attached to the home). Often, attached garages are inside the home’s main structural design and share many systems with the house itself such as the roof, doors, windows, and electrical systems. Garages that are detached, however, have separate structural components.
Depending on the structure, the inspection may include the roof and drainage system, exterior grading, siding, windows and doors, electrical system, foundation, the floor, interior, HVAC, and plumbing. The inspector will also check several fire and safety features, including firewalls, openings, fire doors, attic access, garage doors, and any combustion appliances such as water heaters furnaces.