Common Defects Found
During a Home Inspection.

 
Roofing: Problems with roofing materials are one of the most common defects found during a home inspection. Usually, most of the defects found don't necessarily mean the roof needs to be replaced, but rather that it is simply in need of repair in order to perform properly.
Shingle damage and poor flashing
Damaged shingles and flashing material should be dealt with as soon as possible as these conditions will inevitably lead to water penetration, eventual wood rot and possible structural damage
Damaged rubber boot around electrical service mast
Damaged or deteriorated roof jack flashings or boots can allow water to penetrate into the attic or eave soffit. Replacement is relatively simple adn there are even roof jack products for electrical masts that allow you to replace the boot without disconnecting the mast or power.
No cricket present where required (chimney over 30" wide)
Chimneys that are 30 inches or more in width require a "cricket" or a small saddle roof structure to be installed at the backside of the chimney. A cricket helps divert water around the chimney and prevents water ponding and the accumulation of leaves and debris behind the chimney structure.
Typical wear for older flat roof surfaces
Flat roofing materials typically require extensive repairs or replacement once the seams loose their adhesive bond and when the surface of the material has become damaged due to excessive heat and age. This wear typically results in an "alligator skin" appearance.

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Foundation Issues: Settled or cracked slab foundations and improper support of pier and beam foundations can lead to other structural problems over time. Below are some items that you should be aware of when evaluating a home's foundation structure.
Visible cracks at the exterior foundation grade beam may indicate some level of structural movement due to foundation issues. However, all aspects of the structure should be evaluated since these cracks are sometimes just limited to the cosmetic parge coating.
Improper materials and poor support
Poor footings and piers will ultimately lead to movement and inadequate structural support. The flat block at the bottom of this pier is cracked and not considered a proper footing. The pier, comprised of a hollow core block and wood scraps, can give way to lateral movement and the wood scraps will begin to deteriorate over time.
Improper shimming repairs only provide temporary results
All floor joists supported by a beam should be fully supported and in contact with the beam in order to prevent sagging and uneven floors. There are two joists in this picture that are 3 inches above the beam as a result of the wood block placed under the end joist during re-leveling. The beam is also notched at the left end. There are very specific requirements regarding support beam notching and cutting.
Water damaged and rotted floor support members will eventually sag, especially when load bearing walls are directly above.
This rotted beam/ledger is a result of poor flashing where the concrete porch meets the house structure. Over time, this beam can weaken and sag, leaving little to no support for the outer load bearing wall directly above. In this case, the beam should be replaced and all porch/wall flashing deficiencies should be addressed.

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Electrical Hazards: Most common in older homes, electrical issues can be found in many newer homes as well. Electrical hazards come in many forms; such as ungrounded outlets, improper wiring, deficiencies in the condition of the wiring insulation, inadequate equipment clearnances, etc.
All electrical connections must be made inside an approved electrical junction box.
All electrical connections, especially in the attic spaces, are required to be contained inside an approved electrical junction box and fitted with an appropriate cover. These junction boxes also need to be accessible (not concealed or hidden). These provisions help to protect the wiring from physical damage and prevent flame spread in the event of an electrical fire.
Ingenious wiring!
Flexible cords shall not be installed as a substitute for permanent wiring and may not be run through holes in the walls. This type of application can be dangerous and shoudl be replaced with proper wiring, conduits (where necessary) and connection fasteners.
Damaged wire insulation in need of repair to prevent arcing or shock.
Cut, nicked or damaged wire insulation should be properly repaired in order to reduce the chance of accidental contact and a potential shock hazard.
All electrical components should be free of contaminants.
The internal portions of electrical equipment (bus bars, wiring terminals, insulators, etc.) need to be free of contaminants by foreign materials (paint, drywall plaster overspray, abrasives, corrosive chemicals, etc.).
 
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Water Heater Installations: Many water heaters typically not installed in accordance with local plumbing codes. Others have safety issues that are in need of repair for improved safety. The water heater can be one of the most dangerous items in the home if not properly cared for and maintained.
Poorly attached vent flue and water line corrosion
Corrosion at the water heater plumbing connections can be attributed to dissimilar metals in contact with each other. This condition is often magnified when there are slight water leaks at the connections. Di-electric unions and proper tightening can help prevent this type of corrosion. Also note how the water heater vent pipe is improperly connected to the draft hood.
The lack of a properly terminated TPRV extension pipe can be a very dangerous situation
Temperature and Pressure Relief Valves (TPRV) need to be connected to a proper drain line that will discharge in a manner that does not cause injury to occupants. This TPRV currently has no drain line and can become a safety hazard should the valve open and release.
Rust accumulation at a water heater burner plate can lead to clogged burner ports and improper combustion
The burner chambers in gas-fired water heaters often produce some "scaling" or rust flakes at the bottom of the water tank. Although this condition is not uncommon, the burner should be kept clean and free of debris in order to ensure proper combustion and to prevent clogged ports in the burner plate.
All combustible materials (and materials affected by heat) should be kept at least 1-2 inches away from the draft hood
The water line insulation is too close to the water heater draft hood and, as a result, has melted. The water heater vent pipe and draft hood should have at least a 1-2 inch clearance to combustible materials. The vent pipe should also be secured to the draft hood with at least 3 sheet metal screws, evenly spaced apart.
 
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HVAC Components: Most HVAC components are typically in need of routine maintenance (new return air filters or coil cleaning). Other issues can include inadequate vent clearances to combustibles, improper combustion air and conditioned/heated air loss or leakage.
At least 12 inches of clearance is typically required around the outdoor condenser units for split system forced air conditioners. It is also imperative that all vegetation, leaves, and dirt be removed from the coils surfaces. These conditions can affect the aiflow across the condenser coils which can lead to inefficient operation and premature breakdown.
Disconnected gas furnace vent pipes create hazardous conditions (both health and fire) and should repaired immediately. Disconnected pipes are typically a result of improper installation, impact from storage items and often after re-roofing work has taken place.
Visible rust in portions of gas furnace heat exchangers can be indicative of possible cracks or holes in the heat exchanger walls or seams. This type of condition usually warrants further examination and a more invasive inspection by a qualified heating and cooling technician.
Damaged insulation on the refrigerant lines and unsealed gaps at penetrations into the evaporator coil housing are common causes for the development of condensation that drips into and rusts out the emergency drain pan. All insulation should be repaired and any gap in the evaporator coil housing that allows conditioned air to escape should be properly sealed.
 
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