FOUNDATION inspections are visual and limited to accessible components. Accessibility from house to house may vary due to type of foundation and other obstacles. The most common problem concerning foundations is water. Inspectors will access foundation components based on their design. For instance, unfinished basements offer complete access while slab foundations offer very little. Inspectors will attempt to identify the type of materials used in the foundation and look for abnormal cracks, wear, or movement. If warranted, additional structural inspections may be recommended.
- Basements and crawl spaces normally allow for a complete inspection of the floor framing. Inspectors will look for signs of moisture penetration, dry rot or other system damage in areas where accessibility permits.
- Basement and crawl space areas prone to water problems should have a sump pump. Removing water reduces the amount of moisture and likelihood of insects in the home. Proper grading at the outside foundation, the use of sump pumps, and/or gravity drainage helps keep basements and crawl spaces dry.
- Insulation in basements and crawl spaces may obstruct the inspector’s view. Improperly installed insulation may trap moisture and lead to rot.
- The concrete floor (slab) inspection is very limited due to lack of accessibility. Inspectors will report the presence of floor coverings (i.e. tile, carpeting), and will note signs of movement or cracks.
ROOFS are inspected visually and from an area that does not put either the inspector or the roof at risk. Steep, wet, snow or ice covered roofs are not walked on. Slate, tile or asbestos roofs are not walked on.
- The type of roof and the condition of the top layer will be reported and commented upon. Valleys and roof penetrations are prone to leaking. Worn, missing, patched or otherwise defective surfaces will be inspected and reported based upon normal wear and aging.
- Flashing provide a water tight seal at roof penetrations (i.e. plumbing, chimneys, flues), which are prone to leaking and should be reinspected annually.
- Skylights, like flashings, are prone to leaking and should be reinspected annually.
- Chimneys are very susceptible to the elements and usually are not completely visible due to location and height. Spalling of masonry units is a common problem in cold climates. Interior flue linings often are not visible especially if equipped with a cap covering to prevent downdrafts or screening to prevent sparks. Chimney parging conditions should also be inspected and reported.
- Gutters carry rain water off the roof and away from the foundation. Often they become clogged with leaves and other debris, or will develop sags and/or leaks at the joints. Gutters need periodic maintenance and cleaning.