At Catalyst Inspections, we find a wide range of problems during our home inspections. These issues can range from major structural problems to minor cosmetic scratches. Sometimes we will find something that makes us wonder “How is that even possible?” But those are the kinds of issues that make our day interesting and fun! After performing 100’s home inspections, we have compiled a list of the 10 most common home inspection problems that we identified this last year.
Why are these the most common home inspection problems?
Most problems found in a home are due to deferred maintenance or the lifespan of materials. Many of the problems are simple, recurring maintenance tasks that are not always kept up with. Others are due to certain components or materials having a limited lifespan, including roofs and water heaters, etc. Read more to see what we commonly find.
#10: Deck Staining
Periodic maintenance on decks and hand-railing areas is often neglected. Warping of the material can occur without proper coating and protection. Often cleaning alone and re-staining may be sufficient, but occasionally a complete sanding and refinishing is needed.
#9: Missing GFCI Outlets
GFCI protection outlets should be installed in wet locations, such as bathrooms and kitchens, and in garages and basements. While this was not always a requirement, it is a recommended upgrade when noted. This makes it on the list of common home inspection problems because many homes are older, and were built before they required GFCIs in these locations.
#8: Crawlspace Vapor Barriers
Moisture can enter a home through the soil in a crawlspace. Crawlspace venting was added to newer homes to relieve this concern, but many homes have insulated crawlspaces with sealed-off vents, and improper coverage of the soil. Plastic sheet vapor barriers provide a block to trap moisture in the soil and prevent it from coming into the crawlspace.
#7: Furnace – Filter/Cleaning/Service
Furnace cleaning and service is often neglected, and filter replacement is rarely performed regularly. While the furnace may operate properly, a service check-up is often recommended.
#6: Roots in the Sewer Line
Sewer Scope inspections on older homes often reveal root intrusion in the main sewer line. Cutting and cleaning of the line is often needed, in order to re-scope the line. Then it is possible to look for cracks and offsets. Main sewer line issues can occur at any time, so it is a good idea to have your sewer line scoped regularly.
#5: Electric Panel Issues
Several older brands of panels were installed in homes in our area requiring replacement, such as Federal Pacific and Zinsco. Other improper issues such as double-tapping, missing labeling, or aluminum wiring is occasionally noted, requiring an electrician to repair. Once again, older electrical components made it on the list of common home inspection problems.
#4: Concrete Cracks/Settlement
With our clay-soils in Colorado, concrete settlement is common. Most concrete is non-structural, and most cracks are not significant enough to require repair. Mud-jacking and other options exist, aside from replacement when cracking is noted. Mud jacking is a powerful process.
#3: Roof Defects
Most homeowners don’t usually walk on their roofs, or have it inspected, unless a leak develops. We often see hail damage, missing shingles, or cracks – all which call for repair or possible roof replacement.
#2: Water Heater Issues
The water heater is one of the most neglected devices in the home, and is only addressed once a leak develops. Severe rusting is common on older water heaters, indicating replacement is over-due.
#1: Gutters, Downspouts, Drainage Issues
Did you guess it? Poor drainage of gutters and downspouts can cause associated structural issues, moisture problems, and concrete settlement issues. This is a small and easy fix but can cause major problems if not addressed. This is by far the most common home inspection issue that we find. Downspout extensions are not the most attractive things, and they can easily get in the way. However, their ability to carry drainage away from the foundation of a home should not be overlooked.
Anything Surprise You?
Nothing too exciting on the most common home inspection problems list. Many of these issues are easily fixable. Remember, there is a solution to every defect we find in a home. Our job is just to make sure you are not surprised by them.