Caulk and Sealant – Common Home Inspection Findings

Preventing rain or melt water from intruding behind siding and roofing coverings is important.  Water damage can cause deterioration of OSB, plywood, buffalo board and other construction materials.  During new construction, residing or reroofing projects, contractors apply new caulk and sealant around siding and roofing penetrations.  Common penetrations through siding include electrical conduit, cable, gas lines, and air conditioning refrigerant lines.  Some siding installations require it to be applied to joints.   It is often applied to nails and other fasteners used to secure vents and flashing to roof components.

Deteriorated Caulk and Sealant Missing Caulk and Sealant Deteriorated Caulk and Sealant

Sunlight and Minnesota weather cause caulk and sealant to weather, crack, separate and deteriorate over time.  It is used to cover roof flashing/vent fasteners and fill gaps between siding materials and electrical conduit, cable, gas lines, and air conditioning refrigerant lines, etc. eventually deteriorates, cracks, or falls out of the opening.  Rain or melt water may seep through the cracks and holes and cause deterioration of interior components.  Insects may find the holes and enter the interior.

Once per year, check penetrations and joints for deteriorated/separated caulk/sealant.  Homeowners can proactively maintain it by properly applying recommended products to penetrations and joints that show evidence of cracking or deteriorating.

Weatherstripping – Cracked, Deteriorated or Missing – Common Home Inspection Findings

Weatherstripping around home entry doors and garage doors is built into the doors or has been added to doors to limit or prevent air from passing through the spaces between the doors, jambs, and threshold.  It also prevents rain and insects from entering the home.

In the summer, weatherstripping limits the amount of conditioned or cool air from escaping the home or garage and the amount of warm air from entering the home or garage.  In the winter, it can limit the amount of warm air from escaping the home or garage and amount of cool air from entering the home or garage.  Maintaining it is important in maximizing energy efficiency of a home.  Replace cracked, deteriorated or missing sections.

Cracked Weatherstripping Cracked WeatherstrippingMissing Weatherstripping

Not only will inexpensive weatherstripping maximize the energy efficiency of a home, it will improve the appearance of a home, keep out unwanted insects, and prevent rain water from entering around doors.

Chimneys and Facades – Common Home Inspection Findings

Cracked Bricks and Deteriorated Mortar/Cement on Chimneys, Brick Veneer and Facades, and Decorative Architectural Features

Water and the Minnesota weather freeze-thaw cycles may deteriorate brick veneer surfaces and components of chimneys.  The older the home, the more likely it is to find that brick components of a home have begun to deteriorate.

The chimney is often an element of the home that is out of sight and out of mind.  Due to the inaccessibility of many chimneys, homeowners rarely inspect them.  Deterioration is commonly found in chimneys over 40 years old.

The crown of a chimney should be free of cracks.  Proper seals should be installed around the clay or metal flue/vent to prevent water from seeping into the internal components of the chimney.  Brick should be free of cracks/deterioration and mortar/cement should be free of cracks, disintegration, or separation from bricks.  Chimney repair, fireplace, or masonry contractors often repair or replace cracked crowns, cracked bricks, and deteriorated or separated mortar/cement.

Deteriorated Chimney Brick and Mortar Cracked Chimney Crown

Brick veneer or facades of a home may also contain cracks and deteriorated/separated mortar/cement.  Cracks are often found near the corners of windows and doors.  Cracks spanning several courses should be evaluated by a qualified mason.  Cracks may continue to increase in size and compromise the veneer/façade or decorative architectural features if water infiltrates cracks and freezes/thaws, or movement of foundation/structural components continues.  Significant deterioration of mortar/cement may cause brick components to become unstable and fall.

Loose Brick Facade. Cracked Brick Facade. Brick Facade with Deteriorated Mortar

Routine homeowner inspections and proper maintenance of brick components of a home may preserve chimneys, veneers, facades, and decorative architectural features of a home.  Hiring a qualified contractor to properly repair cracked bricks and deteriorated mortar/cement on chimneys and brick veneer can save thousands of dollars in future repairs.  Preventing significant deterioration of mortar/cement may reduce the possibility of brick components becoming unstable and falling to the ground.

Windows – Common Home Inspection Findings

Windows are a very important element of the home.  Homeowners expect them to easily operate and want to see clearly out of clean glazing (window).

The most common home inspection findings related to windows are inoperable hardware, windows that are difficult to open or close, cracked glazing, broken seals, deteriorated rails and stiles, and deteriorated exterior window trim.

Hardware may be missing or broken.  Handles, arms, bushings, rollers, locks, and hinges may be missing, damaged or broken resulting in an inability to easily open, close or lock them.  Windows in homes built several decades in the past, may contain a pulley, chain or weight system that assist a person opening or closing a window.  Often the pulleys or chains are separated from the weights.

Frayed Window Cord - Windows Inoperable Window Latch - Windows

Some are difficult to open or close.  The operator may have to apply significant pressure to open or close them.  Structural movement of the home may shift components, the force of which prevents it from opening or closing.  Installation may have been improper, and components of the window may shift or move. In some instances, it may not open due to paints or finishes that seal windows shut.  In addition, windows may have been installed that were constructed with products that may not withstand intense sunlight or extreme temperatures.

Glazing or glass components may be cracked, broken or missing.  It is common to find one or two glass block basement windows, within a set of windows, cracked or broken.  Glazing of a single pane or double pane window may be cracked, broken or missing.  Offset breaks or breaks in a window that can be opened and closed may pose a potential for injury.

Broken Window Glazing - Windows Broken Window Glazing - Windows

The majority of double and triple pane windows contain sealant around the edge of the glazing or glass.  They often contain a gas that is inserted between the window panes; the gas increases the energy efficiency of the window.  If the seal breaks or sealant no longer adheres to the glazing or glass, moisture and other particles in the air may seep between the double panes, resulting in water vapor or water droplets that adhere to the inside of the glazing or glass.  The residue that is left behind cannot be cleaned and windows begin to discolor or cloud.  The homeowner will no longer have a clear view through the window.  Energy efficiency of the window also decreases.

Broken Window Seal Evidence of Broken Window Seal - Windows

Windows containing wood components, especially exterior wood components, may be susceptible to deterioration from moisture.  In some cases, wood rails and stiles, the frame around the window, may deteriorate.  Opening one with a rotted component may result in a window breaking into pieces.  Some manufacturers have recalled windows with rotted components due to issues discovered in the window manufacturing process.

Rotted Stile

Components of exterior wood trim exposed to rain or moisture and not routinely properly painted or sealed may deteriorate.  Deterioration of the exterior components will continue unless the trim components are properly repaired, painted or sealed.

Deteriorated Window Trim Deteriorated Window Trim

Repairing damaged hardware may be relatively inexpensive if replacement parts can be found and easily replaced.  Some may be repairable and a qualified window repair contractor may be able to fix rather than replace them.  When windows are unable to be repaired, replacement of windows may need to occur, which is usually the most expensive option.  In some instances, components of the window may be replaced.  In other instances, the entire window may need to be replaced.

Leaks and Inoperable Plumbing – Common Home Inspection Findings

Leaking Drain Pipe - Plumbing Leaking Faucet Handle - Plumbing

Many plumbing issues, leaks and inoperable plumbing, can be found by running water in tubs, showers, and sinks.  Look at the handles, pipes, faucets, shower heads, etc. above, below and behind coverings to identify leaks.  When necessary, contact a qualified plumber to repair the leaks.

The most common plumbing issue found in bathroom sinks is an inoperable drain stop.  Drain stops stop water from flowing through the drain so that a sink basin holds water. Typically, inoperable drain stops are relatively easy to fix and can be repaired by locating the drain stop components below the counter and making the necessary adjustments using common tools.

Leaking drainpipes are commonly found under kitchen, bathroom, and laundry sinks.  Sometimes a homeowner may be able to fix the issue by simply tightening/adjusting joints/connections. If tightening/adjusting connections does not work, contact a qualified plumber for repairs.

Leaking Drain Pipe - Plumbing

Shower head leaks are common at connections.  The homeowner may be able to fix the issue by simply tightening connections or replacing a relatively inexpensive shower head.  When necessary, contact a qualified plumber for repairs.

Leaking Shower Head Connection

Faucets and handles often leak.  Water usually drips or trickles around the valve or is found at the base of faucets or handles where they are secured to countertops, tubs, showers, tile, etc.  If not repaired, water may drip or trickle under the base and along water supply lines.  The trickling water can cause damage to drywall, floors, sink cabinets etc.  If the homeowner is unable to properly repair or replace the leaking components, contact a qualified plumber.

Leaking Faucet Handle

White or green deposits on pipes and valves may be an indication of past or present leaks.  Most leaks should be repaired by a qualified plumber.

Corroded Copper Pipe

Water supply lines that are not properly secured may move.  Movement may result in leaks forming at joints or connections.  Properly installing fasteners/brackets to secure pipes can prevent future leaks.

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