Old electrical

If you’re looking to sell or purchase a home that is built between the 1880s and the early 1970s, it could include dangerous electrical wiring. Knob-and-tube wiring and aluminum branch circuit wiring are two of the biggest offenders. Both of these antiquated materials pose severe fire hazards and could mean higher insurance premiums or even un-insurability altogether.

Your inspector should be able to determine if these outdated electrical practices are present in the home. An electrician should be consulted as to the extent of the issue. You may be faced with a costly upgrade or the decision to either walk away from the sale or knock a few thousand dollars off the asking price for a costly upgrade.

Drywall cracks

Drywall will expand and contract with temperature and moisture changes. This movement often causes minor cracking on its surfaces. Cracking is relatively normal at the intersections of walls, ceilings or at junctures of drywall pieces. These minor cracks can be easily repaired without cause for concern.

However, diagonal cracks from the corner of doors or windows could be a sign of foundation movement. These types of cracks require professional evaluation to assess the extent of the damage.

Foundation cracks

Like drywall cracks, foundation cracks are common and often easy to repair. However, it’s still important to understand their cause. The expansive soils present in many parts of Texas makes foundation cracks more common

Hairline cracks (1/16 inch or less) and corner cracks aren’t of any real concern, as they’re likely to happen during the concrete’s curing (drying process). Cracks that measure 1/8 inch or less can form from foundational movements, but can also be easily sealed.

If you notice horizontal cracks in the foundation or cracks that are 1/4 inch wide anywhere on the foundation, you’ll need to consult a structural engineer, as this could indicate a larger issue that may require stabilization repairs.

Septic issues

Whether your home is new or old, septic issues can arise for a variety of reasons. Two of the most common causes are underground roots that have grown into the line or an obstruction somewhere in the line.

Standing water in the yard, dead spots in yard, or extremely green line of grass can be signs of septic issues. If you see any of these telltale signs, it’s best to order a septic inspection because septic repairs can cost as much as $10,000.

Worn roofing

You can find red flags indicative of poor roofing on both the home’s interior and exterior. Trees and tall shrubs that are touching or in close proximity to the roof typically hides or contributes to roof damage.

Shingles that are different colors implicate previous repairs. Granule loss as seen on the sidewalk or in the rain gutters can indicate age. Inside the home, water stains on the ceiling could indicate a leaking roof. Freshly painted ceilings or differences in ceiling texture could be a sign that the present owners are attempting to cover up damage.

Since repairing a roof is a significant expense, you’ll want to get a better understanding of its needed repairs or lifespan before attempting to buy or sell a home.

Run-down decks

Collapsing decks are a major cause of injuries in the home. Over time, a deck’s support posts and beams can deteriorate and compromise its structural integrity.

Industry standards require ledger boards to be bolted to the home with joist hangers. They’re also required to have adequate fall protection, such as handrails. Uneven or sloped boards often signify that the ledger boards or posts are giving way.

The good news is that most deck issues can be prevented with proper maintenance, but any major concerns should be examined by a professional.

Galvanized pipes

Homes built before the 1950s are notorious for using galvanized pipes. These are pipes that are coated in zinc as a way to prevent rusting and are easily identified by their silver-gray color. Galvanized pipes were initially designed to last at most 60 years, meaning most found today are near the end of their lifespan. The pipes have likely corroded inside and could soon breakthrough the zinc coat.

Along with leaks, galvanized pipes are difficult to repair, and rusted pipes can release lead into the water. Especially if a line is used for drinking water, it’s best to get galvanized pipes replaced as soon as possible.

Grading and drainage issues

High grading around the foundation is one of the most common issues identified on inspection reports. The proper minimum clearance between the facade and the soil is 4 to 6 inches. High grades are most commonly found in planter areas. Homeowners often place new mulch without removing the old, creating potential issues.

Ponding water around a foundation can cause a loss of support and settlement. When water sits against the foundation without proper drainage, the ponding can result in wood rot and mold throughout the structure.

Siding, stucco, and stone/brick veneers are not waterproof, so water easily penetrates the exterior walls. If the drainage is blocked, the moisture gets trapped in the wall, promoting more wood rot and mold.

Site grading should always slope away from the foundation for at least 5 feet, and gutter downspouts should always direct water at least 5 feet away from the foundation or deposit into a site drainage system.

HVAC havoc

Inadequate maintenance of the HVAC equipment is another common find. Dirty condenser coils on the air conditioner condenser unit and dirty furnace filters can lead to major repairs. The equipment may be at or near its life expectancy and require replacement. Gas-fired furnaces may not burn properly.

With proper maintenance, an HVAC system can continue to heat and cool the house, but many times heating and cooling systems are “out of sight, out of mind.”

Request a home inspection today.

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