Daily Camera (Boulder)
Exterior home inspections
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 email@example.com or visit flatironshi.com.