When shopping for a new home, this adage always applies: The more you know about the property, the better the choices you can make when deciding how much you’re willing to spend and if the home is right for you at all. It’s why you need to hire a certified home inspector to perform a complete, foundation-to-roof visual/operational checkup like the many thousands of inspections conducted by A-Pro Home Inspection since 1994.
You can take your knowledge a step further by learning what A-Pro home inspectors are looking for when they assess various systems in a home. For your benefit, here is a brief checklist of one of the most important aspects of an inspection—the home’s structure. Structural defects, like significant foundation cracks, are some of the most costly to repair, so you’ll want to make sure you hire a home inspector with the knowledge and experience to pinpoint potential problems. All of the following will be noted in the home inspector’s report, along with recommendations for actions that should be taken to remedy any problems. The inspector will also indicate if any components of the structure are not accessible for evaluation.
Ready? Let’s start from the bottom:
- Foundation: What type of foundation is it—poured concrete, concrete block, stone, brick, wood, or piers? Is there evidence of minor, moderate, or major cracks and settling; surface deterioration; bowing; excessive backfill height; prior foundation repairs; expansive soil heaving; proximity to harmful trees; and other issues?
- Crawl Space: Is it a basement configuration or slab on grade crawl space? Do these conditions exist: the presence of wood debris and trash; wood in contact with soil; loose or damaged floor insulation; vermin activity; seal openings; damaged, corroded, unsecured, or disconnected ducting; rerouted dryer vent; visible mildew; standing water; and other concerns? Please understand that your inspector may determine that the crawl space is too dangerous to enter, too cramped to perform a complete inspection, or inaccessible.
- Floors: Does the floor structure include wood joists, trusses, concrete, steel joists, I-joists, subfloor board/plank, or plywood? Is there evidence of unevenness, sagging, framing flaws, joist span, cracked beams, stairwell floor movement, rotting cantilevers and subflooring, beam span, damaged and rotting beams, missing joists, unanchored sills, fire damage, and other problems?
- Exterior Walls: Is the wall structure wood frame, wood frame/brick veneer, masonry, log, post, and beam, or steel? Are there typical, moderate, or major cracks; blocked weep holes; bowing; leaning; cracks and movement in stone lintels; and other concerns?
- Ceiling and Roof Structure: What are the rafter, joist, and truss dimensions? Are the joists steel or wood? Is the roof sheathing plywood, solid plank, spaced plank, or wafer-board? Do any of these conditions exist—sagging rafters; cut or altered trusses; insufficient collar ties; holes; leaks; prior repairs; uneven, delaminated or mildewed sheathing; substantial water damage/rot; truss uplift; and other red flags?
- Wood-Boring Insects: During this part of the inspection, evidence of termite, carpenter ant, and other wood-boring insect activity—as well as conditions that increase the likelihood of such activity (e.g., exterior wood in contact with soil)—will be cited. Certified and more detailed Wood-Boring Insect Inspections are performed as a separate service.
- General Comments: The inspector may also highlight positive aspects of the home’s structure, such as “no defects,” “high-quality construction,” “good elevation,” and “no improvements needed.”
In addition to covering this checklist, the experts at A-Pro Home Inspection perform a free foundation level survey (a $150 value). Using a special digital meter, A-Pro inspectors accurately document floor elevation in every room. Results are analyzed by the inspector and displayed in an easy-to-understand table included in the home inspection report.
evaluation of a home’s structure is part of A-Pro’s 500-point home inspection. Ask your local A-Pro Home Inspection team about their complete foundation-to-roof inspection in Madison. To schedule one, call 1-608-957-8600 or visit the link below.