10 Most Common Problems

When buying, and or selling a home, a professional home inspection will reveal a lot about your existing or future dream home. Besides learning about all the mechanical operation of your home the inspection will reveal any obvious defects.

TIP: Buyers can get extra protection and peace of mind by purchasing a home warranty insurance policy. Such policies may also be a way for sellers to protect themselves from post-sale claims by buyers for defects undetected in home inspections.

  1. Faulty undersized electrical wiring — It includes such situations as insufficient electrical service to the house, aluminum or copper wiring, inadequate overload protection, improper grounding and dangerous amateur (DIY) wiring connections. Open junction boxes, amperage mismatches, no wire nuts on wires.
  • The fix: Repair junction boxes; upgrade to at least 100 amps.
  1. Improper surface grading and drainage—spongy soil around the foundation, signs of leaking in basement. This was by far the most frequently-found problem reported by inspectors. It’s responsible for many common household maladies: cracked slabs and water penetration of the basement, footings or crawlspace.
  • The most effective remedies: Regrade the ground around the house, repairing or installing a gutter and downspout system so that ground slopes away from house for 10 feet; remove porous material around foundation.
  1. Exterior Items Faulty gutters — clogged or bent gutters, water not channeled away from house. Flaws in a home’s exterior, including windows, doors and wall surfaces are responsible for the discomfort and damage caused by water and air penetration. Inadequate caulking and/or poor weather stripping are the most common culprits of a cold and drafty home.
  • The fix: Preventive maintenance; gutters of adequate size, splash pans to divert run-off.
  1. Basement dampness—water stains, powdery residue on walls, mold or mildew. This category included various interior components, such as sticky windows or dripping faucets, as well as a number of environmental concerns, such as lead-based paint and asbestos.
  • The fix: Repair gutters to channel water away from house; apply waterproof coatings to basement.
  1. Older and Damaged Roofs —brittle or curled shingles; broken or missing flashings. Many wooden roofs are at the end of their useful life. Asphalt shingle roof lasts approximately 15 to 20 years. Roof leakage caused by old damaged shingles or improper flashing is a frequent problem.  It can be easy and inexpensive to repair damaged tiles and shingles and to re-caulk the roof penetrations.  However, putting off required repairs can lead to major roof repairs down the road.
  • The fix: Apply new shingle, or remove it if needed (usually after a few re-roofs); replacing flashings, especially around chimneys and other protrusions.
  1. Foundation flaws—cracks in foundation, sloping floors, sticking doors or windows. As a result of problems in one or more of the other issues, many houses sustain some, although usually not serious, damage to structural components such as foundation walls, floor joists, rafters or window and door headers. These problems are more common in older homes.
  • The fix: Fill cracks with silicon caulking or epoxy; apply waterproof coating to exterior.
  1. Poor Upkeep/Maintenance — needs repainting, worn carpeting, and cracked driveway. Inspectors often come across cracked, peeling or dirty painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, make-shift wiring or plumbing and broken fixtures or appliances.  Although some of these problems may seem more cosmetic than serious, they reflect the overall lack of care that has been given to a home.
  • The fix: Give the house a minor facelift.
  1. Plumbing Problems — Included are the existence of old or incompatible piping materials, faulty fixtures and waste lines and improperly strapped hot water heaters. Inadequate water pressure, slow drains, signs of leaks on ceilings.
  • The fix: Clean and rout drains; reseat toilet with new wax ring, repair leaks.
  1. Poor ventilation—extreme heat in attic, vapor condensation. Due to overly ambitious efforts to save energy, many home owners have “over-sealed” their homes, resulting in excessive interior moisture. This can cause rotting and premature failure of both structural and nonstructural elements.  Moisture from unvented bathrooms and kitchens can damage plaster and may also lead to the accumulation of mold, which often causes allergic reactions.
  • The fix: Ensure that roof soffits are not blocked; install additional roof vents; vent bathroom and kitchen fans outside.
  1. Defective and Inefficient Older Heating Systems —cracks in the heat exchanger or water tank; carbon monoxide leaks. Other problems include broken or malfunctioning controls, blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust flues. These conditions represent more than simply inefficient heating. They are a major health and safety hazard.  Heating systems should be serviced and maintained annually by a professional heating serviceman according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Although expensive, the newer more efficient central heating systems will help to recoup your investment by reducing heating and cooling costs
  • The fix: Reseal chimney flues; replace sacrificial anode in water heater.

It is important to note that 4 of the 10 items listed above are related directly to the damaging effects of water.  After a home is built, protecting it against water is the homeowner’s most important and continually challenging task.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.