Here are the top ten defects found during home inspections by Evergreen Property Inspectors in 2022. This is a list of the most common defects, most of which are small where a little preventative work can help them from becoming large issues in the future. In another post I will share some of the most expensive defects which is the real reason most people hire a home inspector!
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors that are missing. Yes, smoke detector alarms are annoying, but don’t unplug it and forget it. Replace it! Most manufactures will replace smoke detectors for free if they are creating false alarms and are only a few years old. Residential smoke detector have a lifespan of around 10 years and all will have the date of manufacture listed on them. Purchasing higher quality alarms will help prevent those false alarms in the middle of the night. The National Fire Protection Association has some terrific resources.
- Landscape grading around the home. Water is the single most destructive force to homes in the St. Louis Region and if the soil around your home slopes back toward your house, you are inviting trouble to visit your foundation.
- Downspouts that discharge water too close to the home. Your downspouts should carry rainwater at least 6 feet away from your home to help protect your foundation.
- Roof flashings and other penetrations on the roof such as nail heads at the end of a ridge cap run. Every few years have a roofing company review the roof covering and replace worn out caulking and other sealants or rubber boots around vent pipes and chimneys on top of your home. Homes are happy when they are dry!
- Exposed wood trim on the exterior of the home. Window and door framing, fascia boards, decks, and decorative wood trim. Wood is a durable material but keep it needs to be kept sealed with caulking and paint to prevent water and pest damage. The bottoms of door jambs is a frequently overlooked area that may need to be painted every year if there is lots of foot traffic.
- GFCI outlets that are no longer working properly. GFCI outlets do go bad, they are cheap, but really do save lives. Replace your GFCI outlets in your kitchens and baths, garage, basement locations and on the exterior of the home every 10-15 years.
- Not having a dehumidifier in the basement in Summer. In our high humidity region, having a de-humidifier in the basement during the Summer months is a must for most homes. Humidity that is out of control can lead to costly damage within a few days.
- Loose handrails whether it be inside or outside the home. Handrails can take some abuse and as soon as they become a little loose, they start to fail quickly. Keeping a good solid connection to the structure will help prevent injury to occupants and guests.
- Uneven walking surfaces. As frost heave and soil erosion occurs sidewalk and driveway surfaces can become uneven creating trip hazards. Keep water runoff away from concrete slabs and when you detect movement over time, fix any uneven surfaces with height differences that are greater than a quarter inch. It seems like a small thing, but the cost of an emergency room visit or intensive care unit stay can be eye opening.
- Plumbing drain issues. Whether it is the plumbing drains under sinks where we store too many items that push on the pipes, or, a toilet that has become loose from the floor flange. Water damage from drain pipes that is not corrected swiftly leads to rotted wood subfloors and expensive repairs. Check under your sinks frequently and as soon as you find a leak, fix the issue!
Review your home this week and see if any of these top ten defects found during home inspections are within your home. By taking care of your home, you improve your comfort level while living there and to maximize your return on your investment when you go to sell it!
Some home inspectors report only the major concerns, other home inspection companies will also provide you with a list of deferred maintenance items. When interviewing home inspection companies, ask if they only report on major concerns, or if they report on the minor deferred maintenance and safety items as well. This can give you a terrific head start on creating your home maintenance list so you can maximize the long term value of your investment.
Evergreen Property Inspectors is a member of ASHI, InterNACHI, and in the state of Illinois which has a licensing program we are properly licensed for home inspection and radon measurement services. Evergreen has inspectors living around the St. Louis area in Missouri and Illinois. Contact us to book our services. Click on our Resources tab to view the standards of practice that our team follows.