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Michigan for 20 years
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Home Inspections:
Most Common Defects

1. Defective Service Entrance Cables. This is the cable that the electric utility connects to on the outside of the house.  The insulation on older cloth covered cables deteriorates and allows water to penetrate and usually ends up in the electric panel, which is a fire hazard.

2. Defective brick chimneys. Small mortar cracks or spalling bricks at the top a chimney may look innocent, however these repairs can be expensive.   Loose mortar joints, loose bricks, and spalling bricks may require replacing the bricks and re building the chimney from the point where the deterioration initiates.

3. Negative foundation grading. This can normally be repaired simply by adding top soil around the foundation.  Sunken driveway slabs can be more expensive to replace.  Negative foundation grading is the most common cause of basement seepage.  This can lead to expensive water proofing measures.

4. Sunken or cracked side walk and drive way concrete .   Small cracks here are normal. [seal to prevent water from entering]  Uneven cracked or sunken slabs are considered a trip hazard and a safety issue and should be corrected.

5. Defective Windows.   It is astonishing to see the number of deteriorated windows even on higher end homes that are not that old [5-10 years].  The most notorious for problems are Avon and Weather Vane wood windows, both now out of business.  The most common defects are rotted sills and frames and thermo seal failure.  The worst cases are usually coupled with a lack of maintenance on the part of the home owner.  Older aluminum windows are ineffecient and prone for seal failure and sash mechanism failure.  There is no easy way around this one...It is a costly upgrade.

6. Basement seepage.   Evidence of seepage can be obvious or subtle, but sometimes very difficult to determine if seepage is ongoing or not.  Rod holes on poured walls are common and easily repaired.  [Yes, you can do it yourself!]  Vertical cracks that leak can be repaired professionally for about $350 - $500.  Seepage that occurs between the wall and floor usually means that the drain tile is not functioning properly and corrective measures may be needed.  This type of water proofing can be done from inside or outside and can be very costly.

7. Faulty Furnaces .   Although heat exchangers can be difficult to examine, finding faulty ones is one of the most common home inspection defects.  Most commonly found on 10 - 20 year old furnaces that have not been cleaned or serviced on a regular basis.

8. Improper basement and garage wiring.   The “weekend warrior” who wants additional lighting and receptacles usually causes this defect.  There is a right way and a wrong way to do this!!!  Symptoms include open splices, open junction boxes, dangling wiring or improper extension cords.

9. Lack of smoke detectors.   There should a minimum of one on each level of the house. New construction now must also have one in every bedroom.  They all must be hard wired with battery backup.

10. Inadequate attic insulation and ventilation .   For this region it is recommended to have 12” [R-38] of attic insulation.  Ventilation should be in the form of roof or ridge vents along with soffit vents.  Soffit vents should not be blocked by insulation.  Lack of insulation/ventilation can lead to excessive mold and mildew on roof sheathing and premature deterioration.
 

11.Premature roof shingle deterioration.   I.K.O. shingles were a popular choice by builders in the mid-90s.  They are notorious for premature deterioration.  The life expectancy is app. 10 years.  They should be removed before new roofing is installed.


Other Common Defects:


 Basement rod hole leaks.



Worn roof shingles.
 

 
black mold on drywall from basement seepage.


 
Cracked sewer drain pipe.



Improperly notched floor joists



Grandma's 80 year old gravity furnace



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