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How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

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We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

  1. 3)Window and door trim - Water seeping into the joint between two pieces of trim has caused the damage below.

  2. 4)Bottoms of corner boards at siding - Although this is an example of advanced rot, if the bottom of the corner boards is not painted at time of construction and there is splash-back from rain falling on the ground close below it, most corner boards will develop a half-inch or so of rot at base within the first five years after construction.

  3. 5)Any wood around a chimney or other roof penetration - Any roof penetration  is a good candidate for wood rot in the sheathing around it if the flashing is not installed properly or maintained, but chimneys are especial prone to leak as the flashing ages.

  4. 6)Bottom of plywood siding near the ground - Caused by splash-back of rain from the roof overhang above the siding

  5. 7)Underside of wood flooring around toilets, bathtubs, and showers in an older home with elevated wood floors and a crawl space - Small plumbing leaks that go unnoticed can create big problems in the floor structure below.

  6. 8)Base of porch columns - Bottom of wood columns that are in contact with the porch floor will suck up the moisture of any standing water around it. In this case, a sprinkler head nearby was also spraying directly on the wood.

  7. 9)Wood decks - Because of direct exposure to the weather, a wood deck has a 15 to 20-year estimated useful life at best. But when the deck is built close to the ground, as in the photo below, the lack of ventilation between wood and ground allows high humidity from ground moisture to buildup underneath and  speed up the process.


   Most of these locations are called “water traps” in the construction industry, meaning that they allow water to settle on the surface or to seep into a joint. To read more about water traps, see our blog “Does wood rot spread? is it contagious?”


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

 

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