Technology

Rapid advancements in technology help make our day-to-day lives easier, and they’re having a significant impact on construction trades as well. Safer builds and fewer long-term home repairs are possible in home construction thanks to newly available technologies. Homes today are built to exacting standards as prescribed by the International Code Council. One of the most important requirements is for rainwater to drain away from the house foundation to minimize house settling and movement. The minimum slope of the soil next to the house calls for a six-inch drop for the first ten feet away from the foundation. Champia’s Atlanta home inspectors don’t leave important matters like this to guesswork. We use the most current tools and applications during real estate home inspections to measure the slope and provide clients the documentation they need. For example, in an application called Theodolite, an augmented reality app that combines a GPS, compass, and a two-axis inclinometer (among other things), the measurements show an angle of 2.8 degrees, which just happens to be exactly the minimum slope required. Theodolite is an incredible tool that could reduce business costs and make vital measurements a tap away. And technology apps like this are changing the businesses that are utilizing them. There are an increasing number of highly accessible and intelligent tools for assuring homes aren’t hiding anything behind enclosed walls, like high-tech radon testing gear and thermography. The second leading cause of lung cancer is, quite incredibly, easy to avoid. Odorless, tasteless and invisible, Radon is radioactive and virtually undetectable without the assistance of technology. Radon testing can be done by the homeowner over...

Deal Killers

There are countless things that can go wrong in a home inspection, and the last thing you want is for your client to get excited about a home and have the deal fall through. In this expansive realm of home inspection possibilities, Champia Home Inspections offers a list of some deal killers that you and your clients should look out for! Composite Siding (or Hardboard): Hardboard siding is made from resin-coated wood chips pressed into a mat which is then covered by an overlay designed to look like solid wood. This siding can fail, leading to soft, almost mushy, damaged edges that can sprout mushrooms and foster decay. Boards may swell to 5/8” or wider, where they are considered defective. You may recognize LP’s siding, the most prominent manufacturer, by its metal-embossed knotholes placed about 60 inches apart and about 2.25 inches tall. Stone Veneer Flaws: Stone veneer is popular, and aesthetically attractive, but may have vital issues that can create problems in the future. If the stone has large gaps around door and window frames or the openings for lights and other fixtures, water can get in and cause damage and decay. Some walls may not be sealed directly next to the stone. Unpainted walls with visible and accessible plain wood can be camouflaged by stones, leading to moisture decaying the unsealed wood siding next to it! Finally, be sure to watch out for cracking and loss of the cement between blocks! Synthetic Stucco (EIFS): EIFS, or Exterior Insulation and Finish System, is a rigid foam board applied to your exterior walls, covered in nylon mesh, and sealed....

How to Choose the Right Stucco for Your Home

Stucco is a popular siding choice, but identifying the two types of stucco, hard coat and EIFS, can still stump many looking for a home. And, like anything else, many problems can arise when installation and maintenance aren’t performed correctly that won’t show themselves until the home inspection. Hard coat stucco is what most people think of when they think “stucco.” It feels like concrete, adds value and a unique appearance, while being fire-proof and very strong. However, EIFS, or synthetic stucco, consists of a rigid foam board that is glued to the wall, covered by fiberglass mesh and sealed. It was created to increase energy efficiency and the flexibility of designs of the stucco look, without the investment of real hard coat. However, it is also more susceptible to destructive complications. How can you tell the difference between hard coat and EIFS, and whether either one is in good condition? EIFS/Synthetic Stucco EIFS is softer when pressed. It sounds hollow when you tap it, and is easily dented. It is likely to be cut out of the soil at the bottom of a building, exposing the foundation. Some concerns may include: Missing kickout flashing Foam or mesh visible at the edges, hand-in-hand with improper sealing Missing back wrapping Open penetrations When windows, doors, and fixtures on a stucco building aren’t sealed correctly, moisture will run behind the stucco and become trapped there. Termites also love when they can get to the foam behind it. Either of these can decay entire sections of a home’s exterior, a surprise no one wants during a real estate home inspection. To maintain...

Top Six Home Inspection Issues in Atlanta

Atlanta is a city with a unique character all its own, which includes our climate and historical real estate development trends. Both these factors lend no small amount of charm to living in Atlanta, but they can also lead to a host of home issues common to the area. If you are concerned about the condition of a home in Atlanta — especially one you are buying or selling — you will likely need an Atlanta home inspector to look out for these six recurring issues: Water Damage Georgia receives an average of 50.7 inches of rain a year, making us the seventh wettest state overall. This moisture can completely destroy the integrity of a home if left unchecked. When siding meets grade, when yards do not have proper drainage and when exterior components are not looked after, water gets into places it should not and wreaks havoc. Ignoring water intrusion or sustained water damage can lead to all sorts of nasty surprises when inspecting load bearing elements of a frame. Mold and roof damage are also consequences. Atlantans face moisture most months out of the year, meaning they need diligent maintenance and Atlanta property inspection to avoid common water problems such as these. Electrical and Wiring Issues Evolving building codes combined with corner-cutting or overly ambitious do-it-yourselfers can lead to wiring situations that are more harrowing to a home inspector than any recent horror movie. Exposed wiring, open junction boxes, frayed wiring insulation and poorly configured receptacles can all invite the chances of shorts or cause critical Ground Fault Interrupter functions to fail. In newer homes or homes...

The Top 5 Critical Issues an Atlanta Real Estate Inspection Can Reveal

Most people think of Atlanta home inspections as a way to identify defects within a property, and while this is certainly true, a home inspection can also reveal other similarly serious problems that can greatly affect the sale or purchase of a property. To communicate the dire importance of getting an Atlanta property inspection, consider these five critical factors it could reveal: Illegal or Out-of-Code Additions, Structures and Installations When you own a property for a long time — especially a residential one — chances are that the tax assessor, the insurance adjuster or the county building inspector is not going to be drop by unannounced. However, after the sale or purchase of a home they very well might! As such, any structures that were built without proper permits or that have specifications way out of code could impact many other areas. The home purchaser may be unable to: Get the insurance they need Use the property as intended Get the anticipated property tax rate Satisfy the area’s zoning requirements or bylaws Go through the sale at all until the problems are fixed!   Most of all, the value of the property will certainly be affected, making an Atlanta home inspection a necessary part of every purchase. Future and Immediate Maintenance Needs A home does not have to have roomfuls of mold and a crumbling foundation to be more costly than a home buyer bargained for. Issues like an out-of-date HVAC system, aging siding, weak floorboards or rusted gutters may not cost much in isolation, but when projecting costs over the next, say, five years, all these problems add...

Home Inspections Make “Cents”

Much like going to the doctor for your annual check-up, having your home inspected on a regular basis can detect concerns at their earliest stages. The benefits of home inspections include protecting your house and family from harm, as well as protecting your wallet from dishing out the cash for costly repairs. If you live in the Atlanta area, consider these reasons as to why you should have a home inspection performed on your house. Address Minor Issues Before They Become Major Though this point might be a little more obvious, home inspectors will be able to spot problem areas before they turn into an expensive, impossible nightmare. There are common issues that these inspectors see in many homes, but they take their inspections a step further, just in case. Tests can be run on your home’s electrical and ventilation systems in order to ensure that they are working properly and are safe to use. Gas leaks in places such as the fire place will also be determined, so you can rest assured knowing your family is protected from harm. The foundation, roofing and every other aspect of your home will be checked for signs of damage too, so that you can repair what needs to be fixed before the cost of doing so skyrockets. Before Buying a Home, Old or New Buying a home can arguably be the largest investment you will make in your lifetime. Finding the perfect place to live can be an exhausting experience, but when you find a home that is just right, you need to make sure you aren’t getting yourself into a...

How Home Inspections in Atlanta Save You Money

When you hear the term “home inspection,” you might see dollar signs, but those dollar signs should represent the money you will save. Despite contrary belief, having a home inspection performed can help you pocket more money when it is time to move. Whether you are buying or selling a house, here are just a few of the many ways home inspections in Atlanta can help you save money. When Buying a Home Buying a house can be an exciting and terrifying experience at the same time. When you walk through a home for the first time, you might be focused on certain criteria, such as the open-layout or hardwoods throughout, meaning you could miss some major indicators of damage. Even if you are on the lookout for damage, the untrained eye can still miss clues leading to damage, simply because you don’t know how to look for those specific hints. With a professional home inspection, you can rest assured knowing that every inch of the house will be examined. If there is a hint of a problem, the experienced inspector will be able to determine how extensive the damage might be. Instead of investing in a home that is riddled with problems, you can have damage detected and addressed beforehand so that the cost of repairs doesn’t come out of your own pocket. When Selling a Home On the flip side, if you are selling a home, having a home inspection performed before you put your house on the market can help you save money. Like buying a house, the inspector will be able to point out any...

How Air-Transported Moisture Can Affect Your Home

Like most homeowners, you might be familiar with the horrors associated with water damage.  Leaks, of course, are considered to be the bulk of the problem when it comes to water damage, but there is another nemesis you should watch out for: air-transported moisture.  In a city with high levels of humidity, like Atlanta, air-transported moisture in the home can cause severe damage if not monitored properly. What is Air-Transported Moisture in the Home? Air-transported moisture becomes a problem when warm air seeps into your home’s walls, cools down and condensates.  This moist, warm air usually materializes from normal household functions.  For instance, showering, using humidifiers, doing dishes or washing clothes can all create moisture in the air. If your home sits on a crawl space, moist soil in those subgrade spaces can significantly attribute to the moisture in your home, thanks to the stack effect.  Such an effect causes hot air to rise, pushing the moisture from your crawl space to the upper-most parts of your house.  This moisture is held in the air as a vapor and can equal as much as 80 gallons of water a week for a family of four in a house with a crawl space. How is that possible?  Well, humidity, which Atlanta-natives are no stranger to, refers to the amount of water the air holds.  The temperature in your home can have a certain level of humidity without forming condensation.  However, when that warm temperature meets cooler air, condensation forms.  This is where you get your air-transported moisture in the home. In What Ways Does This Affect My Home? Unfortunately, unlike...

4 Red Flags Only a Professional Home Inspector Can Detect

More often than not, if you are buying or selling a home, you will need to have a professional home inspector ensure that various components of the house are sound and in-tact.  Despite all the tips and tricks you might find online for conducting your own inspection, they cannot compare to the skills of the trained eye.  Here are four things that only a professional home inspector can detect in a home that has damage, which can save you from costly repairs. Roof Damage To the naked eye, sometimes it can be obvious to spot damage on the roof.  However, with someone who is trained to see even the smallest of issues, your professional home inspector could spot trouble where you would miss it.  For instance, if there is even the slightest indication that the roof is aging poorly, you might end up footing the bill for an entire roof replacement. Additionally, with roof damage, the home can be susceptible to wood rot, mold and leaks, which is never a good combination for anyone.  If this is the case, not only would you have to replace your roof, you would have to have the mold removed, the leaks fixed and possible structural repairs. Foundation Troubles Because your home sits on top of the foundation, it can be difficult to detect issues with it.  During the inspection process, a professional will be able to examine various parts of the home, which could detect foundation troubles.  By looking at the frames of the home or cracks in the foundation wall, they would be able to help you address potentially huge issues....

Homeowner’s Winter Maintenance Checklist in Atlanta

When you think of Georgia, you may not think of it getting very cool, as our summers can be so brutally hot.  However, most of you might remember that we did see snowfall in the Atlanta-area, just last year.  For those who are preparing their homes for the impending, chilly weather in Atlanta, here is a homeowner’s winter maintenance checklist. Clean Gutters and the Roof Having your gutters and roof cleaned doesn’t sound like it would be a big deal before the winter weather moves in, but it is actually an important part of your homeowner’s winter maintenance checklist.  With clogged gutters, rain runoff and melted snow won’t properly disperse, which can cause damaging ice dams or icicles. A roof that is clear of leaves and debris can reveal if there is any damage to your shingles.  This is important because broken or missing shingles can make your roof more susceptible to wood rot if there are heavy rains or snowfalls during the winter months.  Wood rot can cause leaks in your roof, which can lead to mold and structural damage. Prepare Outdoor Spaces Aside from covering your grill and putting away gardening tools, there is more you need to do to prepare your outdoor spaces for the winter.  Sweeping your sidewalk and driveway of leaves can prevent your loved ones from slipping and falling.  Trimming back dying limbs and branches on trees can protect your home when strong, winter winds blow through. Also, be sure to turn off the water source to your hoses and remove them, as well as draining and turning off your sprinkling system.  This...