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. Created for energy efficiency and design flexibility, it looks like real stucco without the cement work. It often has flaws, such as missing flashing and kick-outs, gaps, and water damage in areas where it meets the ground unsealed, and in areas where the EIFS joins other walls and roofing, usually at corners. In addition to a thorough inspection on EIFS siding, moisture testing must be done on EIFS to ensure previous damage does not exist.
Polybutylene Piping: This piping is made from a form of plastic resin used specifically for water supply piping. Interior piping is typically gray, and exterior is usually blue. It’s very common and found in about a quarter of homes built from ’79-95, due to its cheaper production cost and easy installation. While both may have problems, exterior piping often has more. Oxidants in the public water supply can react to the pipe and fittings, causing it to become brittle and susceptible to failure. Some specific places to check include where the main water line connects to the home. This area can be misleading because it is often copper that connects to blue polybutylene as it heads to the exterior. Remember: piping will deteriorate from the inside out, so a visual home inspection may not show decay!
These are just some of the many items that Champia shares in its Continuing Education class on “Deal Killers.” Atlanta home inspections are the most important part of buying a new home—don’t let a small problem become a huge one down the line.