Homeowners are recommended to have their roofs professionally inspected on a regular basis. New roofs only to be inspected every 5 years, with more frequent inspections as the roof ages. Be sure to check for any signs of damage after storms with heavy rain and high winds. When shopping for a newly built or existing home be sure to hire a licensed and qualified home inspector to look over the prospective home's roof to report any defects.
The cost of roof repairs or replacements can vary greatly depending on the size and material used. A total roof replacement can cost from $1,500 to over $10,000, making roofs one of the most expensive components to repair within your home. Defects within a roof make the structure susceptible to moisture damage leading to rotting wood and mold growth. Remove any organic growth, including moss and vines, from your roof to avoid decay.
It is good for homeowners to know the basic components to their roof in case any issues arrise. All roofs are made of the same basic setup, however the materials used may vary greatly. Age and location of the home can create an impact on the variation of materials used.
Decking (or Sheathing)
Decking is the first layer that lays on top of the bones (Structural Trusses or Rafters) of the roof.
Underlayment is a crucial part of the roof, it acts as a barrier to protect the decking and structure from moisture damage. There are 2 commonly used underlayments.
Flashing is designed to protect areas of your roof that shingles are not able to. These areas may include around skylights, drip edges, ventilation pipes, chimney bases, or valleys and intersections. In Virginia, homes are commonly built with 2 different types of metal flashing, however many other types of metals may be used. It is important to carefully choose your flashing to avoid Galvanic Corrosion from mixing incompatible materials.
Shingles are designed for water to properly run-off your roof and avoid moisture damage. It is important that the shingles are laid down flat and completely cover the underlayment.
How strong is your wooden fence?
Wooden fences are a great touch to almost every home. They can provide security and privacy for your family, while still allowing for an attractive look. Wooden fences can be installed as a tall privacy fence or shorter picket fence, whichever is your preference. Fences using untreated lumber are usually expected to last about 7-12 years if maintained properly, while fences using pressure treated lumber have a life expectancy of about 30 years.
Fences must be properly installed. If you are unsure of how to install a fence yourself you should contact a professional for assistance. To avoid warping, make sure that your lumber has been adequately dried prior to installation. Posts are exposed to high levels of moisture from damp soil making them prone to rotting out quickly. It is recommended that a naturally moisture-resistant hardwood (such as Cedar) or pressure-treated lumber be used for posts to extend your fence's life. Posts are recommended to be installed at least 2-3 feet deep. Avoid galvanized nails if you live close to the ocean or any body of salt water. Adding a stain or paint finish will help to protect your fence's above ground structures.
Once your fence has been installed it is important to maintain the integrity of your fence. Organic growth, such as vines, should be removed to prevent damage to the wood and avoid any wood-damaging insects. Pressure washing your fence occassionally can become part of your maintenance routine. Take care to not pressure wash using more than 1,000 PSI from about 6-10 inches away. Make sure that your yard is free from standing water or drainage issues near your fence's posts to minimize risks of rotting. Keep any sprinkler systems aimed to avoid wetting the fence. If you notice any signs of defects, take the proper measures to address them quickly. Contact a professional if you are unsure of repairs.
You may have come across a house that is missing handrails from the stairs either on the interior or exterior. Frequently, handrails are usually found missing from porches and decks. Are handrails considered necessary for every set of stairs?
According to the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC), interior or exterior staircases with 3 or more risers must have a handrail on at least one side. Handrails should not exceed a height of 38 inches or below 34 inches. Handrails should not project further than 4.5 inches on either side of the stairway.
It is important that the handrail is continuous through the entire flight. A handrail that consists of 2 or more pieces presents a risk that the handrail will fail causing damages or injuries. Remember to check your handrails regularly for any signs of defects such as looseness, rust, or rot. Be sure to also inspect the spindles for any defects. If you are unsure of how to manage the repairs, be sure to contact a professional.
You may have found yourself wondering if gutters on a home are really necessary and what exactly are they protecting? The truth is gutters can be crucial to protecting your home and extending its health.
Properly installed and working gutters are important in protecting your home from the following:
Gutters do take some work to maintain. Homeowners should always check to verify that their gutters are properly draining. Improper maintenance to your gutters can cause the following:
You may be wondering what could be problematic within your newly built home? Why should you hire a home inspector for a brand new home that nobody has ever lived in before? While there are many great building companies out there, mistakes may still happen. This could be the result of miscommunication between contractors, negligence, or improper training.
We recommend having a home inspection performed promptly after construction has completed on your new home. This will allow you to bring up any defects that are found to the builders or contractors for possible resolution. If your developer refuses to correct major issues than you may want to consider taking further legal action.
Facade Leaks, Window Leaks, Flooring Issues, and Ventilation/Exhaust Issues are among the most common problems found within newly constructed houses.
Recently Peninsula Housing Service's own Licensed Home Inspector found this vent pipe had been left open in the attic. The contractors for this new house had forgotten to extend the pipe up through the roof of the home. This would have caused all of the septic gases to vent into the attic which would have resulted in some very stinky problems for the new homeowners. After completion of the home inspection report the developers did promptly correct this issue for the new homeowners.
Another common mistake found within newly constructed homes can include improper receptacles placed near water sources or outside. It is recommended that GFCI receptacles be placed near all sinks, bathtubs, and outside outlets. GFCI receptacles are designed to trip when moisture comes into contact with the outlet to prevent electrical shocks.
Failure to attach extensions to the relief valve on water heaters is also a common mistake found within newly constructed houses. The Relief Valve (or TPR Valve) is placed near the top side of the unit. When properly working, this valve is set to open if either the temperature reaches 210°F or if the pressure reaches 150 psi. This is a safety mechanism to avoid the water heater from exploding during a system failure. This valve should have an extension that reaches to just above the floor, preventing discharged water from splashing.
Each state's laws differ for the regulations and licensing for Home Inspectors. In Virginia, Licensed Home Inspectors must complete additional training to become certified to inspect New Residential Structures. Feel free to check InterNACHI for a list of home inspection requirements by state to ensure that your home inspector is properly qualified.
Peninsula Housing Services
Striving to educate others through our experiences with home inspections, remodeling, renovations, and flipping homes.