The Most Common Construction Defects
That Affect the Home Environment
No house is perfect. Even the best built and best maintained homes will always have a few issues found in a home inspection. Some inspected item will be in less than perfect condition, and it is better to know this before it is a surprise to you and your pocket book. After about 14,000 inspections, I can assure you that defects can occur in any age, type, and appearance of home from the newest and most expensive to the smallest.
Furnace: Installation problems are more common than you would want to believe. With the amount of heat and work a furnace does, normal wear and tear needs considered. Shortcuts such as improper venting shorten the life of furnaces and can result in carbon monoxide hazards. Furnace problems range from being a hazard to your life to costing a bundle of money in wasted fuel. At the least most gas furnaces are in need of routine maintenance such as adjustment or new filters. Other issues include faulty control operation or inadequate fire clearance.
Plumbing defects: Plumbing defects can be major expenses. The work to repair or replace a leaking main drain can include not just the plumbing work, but also repairs to walls and ceilings. Plumbing issues commonly found include dripping faucets, leaking fixtures, slow drains etc... Even in brand new homes, it is common to identify minor plumbing defects.
Electrical hazards: Most common in older homes, but too often found in newer homes as well. "Do-it-yourselfers", and "handy persons" often create hazards and changes that can put a home and residents at risk. Normal use and wear, as well as changes in how we use electrical systems can create serious hazards. It is not uncommon to find serious hazards such as damage to an exterior service cable resulting in a damaged main panel.
Water heater installations: A large percentage of gas and oil hot water tanks are not properly vented. Most higher efficiency furnace installations create changes to the hot water tank venting that must be corrected as a part of the installation. Too often, that labor and material costs are not included in the furnace "bid". Many water heaters are not installed in full compliance with local plumbing code defects such as missing overflow pipes.
Environmental Hazards: Mold, radon, sewer gas from improper venting, lead and many other environmental hazards can affect you and your family. Though most homes do not have these hazards, screening for these issues is important and convenient to discuss and possibly add during a home inspection.
Roofing; Problems with roofing materials are a common defect. Failure to install proper ventilation can result in damage or premature roof failure. Defects can result in mold and rot conditions and loss of insulation efficiency. It is wise to ask an inspector how they will inspect a roof before scheduling an appointment. Usually it doesnt mean the roof needs replaced, simply that it is in need of maintenance or repair.
Ceiling stains: Caused by past or present leaks, ceiling stains are very common. Without tools such as moisture meters it can be difficult to tell whether the stains are from active leaks, or are leaks which have been repaired.
Rotted wood: Caused by being wet for extended periods of time, most commonly found around tubs, showers and toilets inside, or roof eaves and trim outside. The effects of wet or rotted wood can be wood destroying insect infestation or health hazard mold conditions.