Daily Camera (Boulder)

Ex­te­rior home in­spec­tions

- BY RICK JACQUEMARD Interior Design

The ex­te­rior home in­spec­tion is a unique cat­e­gory that con­tains por­tions of other ma­jor com­po­nents that are fur­ther in­spected in their re­spec­tive lo­ca­tions. A thor­ough in­spec­tion of a home’s ex­te­rior is crit­i­cal as con­di­tions on the out­side may also af­fect the in­tegrity of the in­te­rior. This is a cur­sory over­view of a few of the larger prob­lems that are fre­quently iden­ti­fied dur­ing home in­spec­tions.

In­spec­tors will make a vis­i­ble in­spec­tion of the grounds around the house to see if rain­wa­ter is drain­ing away from the struc­ture or to­wards it. Rain­wa­ter that drains to­wards the house could dam­age the struc­ture, weaken the foun­da­tion and al­low water to get into the base­ment or crawl space. Gut­ter down­spouts should have ex­ten­sions to carry water away from the house. The amount of rain­wa­ter com­ing off the roof could be in the thou­sands of gal­lons and if the water is dis­charged along­side the foun­da­tion, the water can cause in­te­rior dam­age. It is rec­om­mended that homes in tra­di­tion­ally wet ar­eas have sump pump sys­tems to re­move water from un­der the house.

Plants or trees grow­ing too close to the house can dam­age the sid­ing or roof cov­er­ing; trees planted too close to the foun­da­tion may dam­age the foun­da­tion; un­treated wood and ground con­tact can cause rot; over­grown land­scap­ing can cause poor drainage and ero­sion.

Roof leak­age caused by old or dam­aged shin­gles/tiles or im­proper flash­ing is a com­mon prob­lem. Shin­gles that look curled from the ground in­di­cate an old roof. This type of curl­ing al­most al­ways hap­pens on the south side first. It may be easy and in­ex­pen­sive to re­pair dam­aged tile and shin­gles and to re-caulk the roof pen­e­tra­tions if found in the early stages. Some homes have

Class 3 or 4 im­pact re­sis­tant roof­ing which can save a good amount on in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums. You or your in­spec­tor may have to get this in­for­ma­tion from the in­staller as it may not be vis­i­ble af­ter in­stal­la­tion. De­ter­min­ing the ex­act age of a roof may have an im­pact on in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums.

Chim­ney re­pairs can be an­other large ex­pense. When buy­ing an older house with a ma­sonry chim­ney, take a close look at it. Miss­ing mor­tar be­tween the bricks typ­i­cally won’t be a ma­jor re­pair, but miss­ing bricks and large cracks in the walls can some­times mean the up­per por­tion of the chim­ney needs to be re-built. As with roofs, be sure to look at ev­ery side of ev­ery chim­ney.

Poorly main­tained sid­ing is an­other area where the ex­te­rior can af­fect the in­te­rior of a home. Hard­board sid­ing be­gins to swell and then lit­er­ally fall apart when it rots. De­te­ri­o­rated hard­board sid­ing is usu­ally quite easy to de­tect. The north sides, ar­eas not pro­tected by sof­fits (over­hangs), and the ar­eas clos­est to the ground will be the first ar­eas to show age and/or de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. When hard­board sid­ing is badly rot­ted, it gets mushy. De­fects with stucco sid­ing may be dif­fi­cult to iden­tify from the ex­te­rior. Stains be­low win­dows are an ob­vi­ous warn­ing sign that there may be hid­den dam­age.

Rot­ten wood win­dows that have been patched and painted may look fine from a dis­tance, but it’s usu­ally easy for in­spec­tors to spot dam­aged ar­eas when up close. Alu­minum clad wood win­dows can com­pletely rot apart on the in­side yet leave no vis­i­ble ev­i­dence at the ex­te­rior. The win­dows that will rot first are the ones that aren’t pro­tected by sof­fits (over­hangs).

Your home’s ex­te­rior needs to be more than just at­trac­tive. The ex­te­rior com­po­nents act to­gether to keep the in­te­rior of your home warm, dry and mois­ture-free. All the parts of your home’s ex­te­rior must be at­tached prop­erly. If one piece fails, it ru­ins the in­tegrity of the en­tire sys­tem.

All these ar­eas and more should be cov­ered in any in­spec­tion of the ex­te­rior of a home. Your in­spec­tors should be able to an­swer ques­tions re­gard­ing any of them.

For more in­for­ma­tion on home in­spec­tions con­tact Rick Jacquemard, at 720.280.3544, e-mail rick@flatiron­shi.com or visit flatiron­shi.com.

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