It’s understandable for people to feel safe in their home. After all, most of us grew up with our parents, who maintained the house and raised us in a safe environment. But owning a home and just living in it are two different things. Homes are expensive to buy and maintain because they’re a complicated system of products that must work together to keep us warm, safe and dry. And for the most part they do…until something goes wrong and then costly repairs may be necessary.
An Inspector's Point of View
What we at the American Society of Home Inspectors would like to do is help you, the homeowner see things as an inspector does. Maybe not to the extent and expertise ASHI inspectors do, but by using real and sometimes easily overlooked deficiencies we may be able to help you. To do this, we’re going to take a novel approach. We will show photographs of actual defects our inspectors have found in normal, everyday inspections. We have taken thousands of photos that we’ve published in The ASHI Reporter, our internal monthly news magazine sent to our members.
From time to time we’d like to share selected photos with you just to get your attention.
Seeing Early Signs
Let’s start with the structure of the house. It’s reasonable for a homeowner to walk right past this first photo everyday and not suspect anything wrong. But as an inspector, we know that there are forces working against the building that can be costly to repair. Those forces are time and gravity. Time, because as things age, they tend to deteriorate, especially if not maintained. And of course, we all know about gravity and how it affects people as well as buildings. The amount of money and effort to repair this particular problem can be substantial. For example, a structural engineer may need to be hired to determine the extent of the lean. Repairs could be as simple as bracing the wall or removing the brick and rebuilding it. In the photo above, a close look at the wall will show the brick leaning toward the sidewalk.
Preventing Bigger Problems
In the photo above you can see how the brick has actually collapsed onto the sidewalk. Since part of the structure is no longer functioning, repairs will have to be made immediately to prevent even more serious failures from happening. The previous photo is on one side of the building. The one above is on the other. The results on this side will occur on the other side are imminently.
Perfect Example of Cause & Effect
When left unchecked, small issues can turn into bigger ones. The assciated repairs also become not only more invasive but more costly as well. It’s best to stay on top these problems and make sure you do not let them get out of hand by being proactive. If you are buying a new home, it’s very likely and encouraged that you will get a home inspection as part of your home buying process as way to fully understand the condition of your new home. Issues like the one above will certainly be brought to your attention by the home inspector. However, if you have been living in your home for a while, it’s recommended that homeowners have a maintenance inspection once a year or so. It’s a smart idea to have a maintenance inspection done in order to catch early signs of such issues and make sure your home in working order.