Bringing Construction Experience and State of the Art Tools to the Inspection Process
Home Inspection Services in the Houston area. TREC Inspector license #5229
Items included in a Home Inspection Report are listed below. You can also read home inspection reports here:
During the home inspection the foundation will be checked with a zip level system to help determine how it is performing and also for the following:
-Identify the type of foundation and determine if the foundation is performing properly.
-Inspect the foundation, related structural components and slab surface where possible.
-Inspect the home for issues that may indicate foundation movement/settlement: doors that are not operating properly, cracks in interior sheetrock, cracks in exterior bricks, separations at window/door openings, gaps in roof structure, ect.
-Measure the foundation with the Zip Level Pro to determine if there has been foundation movement.
-Observe the site for conditions which may be adversely affecting the foundations performance, such as improper grading and drainage, plumbing leaks and or ponding.
Grading and Drainage:
In the Houston area it is a good idea to have a look at the flood plane maps for the area. I have an easy link here:
Drainage systems remove subsurface and surface water from property. Improper grading and drainage of the property can result in foundation problems and possible structural water penetration. Observing the grading and drainage situation of a home is critical in areas of expansive clay, such as Houston. Approximately 80% of foundation problems are caused by poor drainage, the property should slope and have swales cut so water drains away from the structure
Gutters and downspouts divert water from the foundation. Gutter extensions should direct the water away from the structure and property. Clogged gutters will create dams and defeat the purpose of the gutter system. Water overflow at the gutter will create wet spots next to the foundation.
Expansive clay soils requires water to prevent settlement. The inspector looks to see if the ground is cracking to a significant degree and or pulling away from the foundation.
At least 4" to 6" of foundation face should be showing below the exterior siding or brick. Soil levels above the brick line or that is in contact with the exterior siding promotes water penetration and insect infestation which can cause damage to the structure. The interior perimeter of the structure should also be checked for signs of water penetration.
Pier and Beam and concrete slab foundation movement is due to settlement or upheaval. The inspector looks for noticeable level and plumb of exterior and interior walls and floors, and cracking of interior gypsum board ceilings and partitions, particularly at door and window locations.
An inspection of accessible roof systems and surfaces is done.
Roof surfaces are observed from the surface when accessible by ladder and also with a drone when they are higher that a ladder will allow.
Common abnormalities the inspector looks for are:
-Trees impinging on the roof, causing raking of the roof surface.
-Flashing that has lifted or separated from the roof line which can cause water penetration.
-Visable nail heads and staples that may be exposed to the weather which could cause them to rust and create leaks.
-Gutters that are not properly secured or sloped and free of debris.
-Wavy roof decking or other indications that the roof structure is not properly supported.
-New roof layers over old roofs, such as wood shingles or too many layers of compostition shingles.
-Any lifted, damaged or missing shingles will be noted.
-Improper sloping of roofs that will not shed rain water.
-Missing or improperly secured drip edges.
-The roof decking from the interior of the attic is inspected carefully to make sure any water stains and or repairs are documented.
Roof Structure and Attic:
During the inspection the inspector will inspect the roof structure and attic area, observing the following:
-Inspect the condition of the roof structure and sheathing, observing for evidence of moisture penetration.
-Verify that there is proper bracing for the roof structure in the attic area.
-Observe for the presence of adequate attic space ventilation.
-Identify that there is firestopping at the chimneys where necessary, in the attic breezeways between attached garages and between the units in townhouses and condominiums.
-Inspect for seperations at the rafters and ridge that may have been caused by foundation settlement.
-Observe for openings or gaps at the exterior of the roof structure that may allow small animal or insect infestation.
-Inspect for eve vent screens blocked by insulation or torn allowing insect infestation.
-Inspect the attic ladder that it is properly secured and installed.
-Observe the presence and approximate depth of insulation.
Interior and Exterior Walls:
During the home inspection all interior and exterior walls will be inspected for the following:
-The inspector looks cracks or wrinkles in the sheetrock that may be indications of foundation or structural problems.
-Water damaged wall components especially around windows, doors and at the floor level which will be checked with a moisture meter to determine if the leak is active.
-Insect infestation, evidence of insect infestation or conditions conductive to insect infestation.
-Cracks in the brick veneer or stucco that may be indications of foundation or structural problems.
-Missing or loose bricks, properly sealed expansion joints in the exterior brick, excessive gaps in the mortar.
-Obstructed weep holes in the exterior brick
-Buckling of the exterior siding.
-Water damage to any exterior siding or trim.
-Insure the exterior of the home is properly sealed against possible water penetration.
-Evidence of obvious lead paint, paint that is peeling and exposing raw wood to the elements.
Ceilings and Floors:
Some of the common problems found when inspecting Ceilings and Floors are:
-Evidence of water penetration on ceilings and floors will be checked with a moisture meter to determine if the leak is active.
-Evidence of Insect Infestation
-Not level or uneven flooring will be checked with a laser level to determine the severity of this condition.
-The safety and proper operation of the attic access ladder.
-Cracks in any of the sheetrock ceilings that may be indications of more than normal movement in the structure.
-Proper structural support of the ceilings and floors
-Cracks in tiled floors from possible movement in the structure
Interior and Exterior Doors:
During the inspection all doors, interior and exterior, are inspected.
Common problems often found during the inspection are:
-Doors that do not shut or latch properly. This can be a sign of structural movement of the home.
-Garage doors that are not fire rated.
-Reversed sliding glass doors
-Exterior veneer and condition of wood
-Deteriorated weather stripping
-No spring on garage door
-Screen door not installed on sliding glass doors
-Water damage to the doors, frames or trim
During the home inspection all window will be inspected for the following:
-Broken glass panes.
-Evidence of water penetration at the window or windowsill.
-Windows that do not operate.
-Degraded or missing weather stripping.
-Broken window springs and latches.
-Inspect insulated double pane glass windows for fogging or other evidence of broken seals.
-Inspect burglar bars for functional egress in appropriate areas.
-Window screens that are missing or torn.
The following are common problems found in the fireplace and chimney area:
-Gaps, cracks or loose in the firebox
-No fire stopping in the attic
-Chimney cap missing or ineffective
-Damper not operating properly
-"C" clamp missing
-Full of soot, needs to be cleaned.
Porches, Decks and Carports:
Attached porches, decks, carports, steps, and balconies are included in the home inspection, the inspector will observe for the following:
-The general structural integrity of the structure is inspected. Items include; visible footings, joists, decking, railings and attachments points.
-Metal carports are inspected for excessive rust or deterioration of the building materials.
-The roofs and roof coverings are inspected also for any signs of water penetration or damage.
-The inspector will also look for any signs of insect infestation or wood decay.
-The inspector will observe for the presence of any earth to wood contact which can promote wood rot and insect infestation.
Electrical Service Entrance and Panels:
During the inspection of the electrical service entrance and panel box items inspected are:
-Observe service entrance cables for integrity of insulation, drip loop, separation of conductors at weatherheads and the proper clearance of overhanging power lines.
-Inspect that the drop, weather head and mast are securely fastened.
-Inspect for the presence of a grounding electrode conductor in the service where visible, secure connection to the grounding electrode or grounding system.
-Inspect all accessible main and subpanels to ensure that they are secured to the structure, appropriate for their location, weather-tight if exposed to the weather.
-Inspect that inside cover (dead front) is secured properly and panel knock outs are filled in with the appropriate plugs.
-Insure that all breakers are identified on the dead front panel.
-Inspect the condition of the wiring in the panels, determine its type (copper or aluminum).
-Note the presence or absence of appropriate connections, such as copper/aluminum approved devices, pig-tailed connections or crimp connections.
I have a link in the button that will send you to a website information on Aluminum wiring in a home.
-Inspect and ensure the presence of main disconnects.
-Report the usage of recalled Stablock breakers.
-Report rust or other deterioration of the exterior electrical service panel.
Branch Circuits and Connected Fixtures and Devises:
The following are common problems found during the inspection of Branch Circuits and connected fixtures and devices:
-Improperly spliced or terminated wires
-Aluminum wiring and improper terminations. I have an additional article explaining the aluminum wiring at outlets here
-The presence of G.F.C.I. breakers where necessary
-Electrical outlet faceplates missing
-Fixtures that do not operate
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System:
Heating Equipment: Electric and Gas
During the home inspection the heating equipment will be inspected for performance and for any defective equipment.
-Temperature readings will be taken with thermal imaging equipment and a performance test of the system will be conducted.
-The overall general condition and installation of the furnace unit will be evaluated.
-Check for indications of a cracked heat exchanger.
-Inspect for rust on the burners and burner box area.
-If the system is gas, I will also check for gas leaks and the general safety of the unit. The furnace exhaust flue pipe will also be inspected for proper venting and installation.
-If electric, I will also inspect the power supply to and from the furnace.
The cooling system will be tested and inspected for at least all of the following:
-Differential drop in temperature from the air return to the air supply to determine if the system is operating correctly. This temperature is determined with thermal imaging equipment
-Set up and performance of the exterior compressor unit.
-Check the coil box for water and conditioned air leaks.
-Inspect the refrigerant lines for leaks, necessary insulation, and proper installation.
-Inspect the installation, insulation and the termination of the coil box main drain lines.
-Check the condition of the safety pan for debris, water, rust and the termination of the safety line.
HVAC System Ducts and Vents:
During the inspection of the HVAC system of the home, the Ductwork and Vents will be inspected for the following
-Check the condition of the insulation on the duct work.
-Insure that the duct work is properly strapped and supported.
-Identify any leaks in the duct work in areas that are accesible.
-Inspect the condition of the filtration system at the air return locations.
-Check that the ducts are not in contact with each other
-Identify any unnecessary turns and bend in the ductwork
Water Supply System and Fixtures:
During the home inspection the plumbing system will be inspected for the following items:
-Inspect for the type and condition of all accessible and visible water supply and waste-water and vent pipes.
-Inspect and operate all fixtures and faucets where the flow end of the faucet is not connected to an appliance.
-Observe for the presence of back-flow devices, anti-siphon devices or air gaps.
-Observe water supply by viewing functional flow in two fixtures operating simultaneously, to check water pressure levels.
-Observe functional drainage at accessible plumbing fixtures.
-Inspect installation of hot and cold faucets.
-Inspect mechanical drain stops if installed on sinks and bathtubs.
-Inspect commodes for cracks in the ceramic material, proper and secure mounting on the floor, evidence of leaks and operation of the tank components.
-Inspect all supply and drain pipes for evidence of leaks.
-Observe existence of visible vent pipe system to the exterior of the structure and for proper routing and termination of the vent system.
-Inspect the shower pan for leaks.
-Operate and inspect exterior faucets for the presence of back flow prevention and operation.
Drains, Wastes and Vents:
During the home inspection the followings items will be inspected:
-A performance test of all drains by running all faucets for a period of time to insure that they are functioning correctly and that there are no leaks.
-Check all drain connections for leaks where possible and if no access is provided to inspect where necessary, it will be also noted.
-Determine that drain vent stacks are properly sealed at the roof terminations where accesible for inspection.
Water Heating Equipment:
During the Home Inspection process the inspector will inspect the electric or gas water heaters in the home. The following items will be noted:
-Inspect the tank and fittings for leaks and corrosion.
-Observe the teperature and pressure relief valve piping for gravity drainage, size of drain pipe (no smaller than the outlet fitting), material, and termination. These conditions are recognized hazards.
-Inspect for broken or missing parts, covers or controls.
-Observe the condition of burner, flame and burner compartment if it is a gas water heater. For an electic water heater inspect the operation of the heating elements and the condition of the electrical wiring.
-Observe and report materials used for the gas branch line and the connection to the appliance, and inspect presence, location and accessibility of gas shut-off valve and for leaks at the valve.
-Inspect the type of vent pipe and its condition , draft, proximity to combustibles and its termination point, observing for adequate combustion and draft air.
-Observe for the presence of a water-tight safety pan and drainline. Ensuring there is no debris or rust in the safety pan that could clog the drain line, which could cause the safety pan to overfill into the surrounding area.
-Ensure that the water heater is in a safe location and has been installed correctly.
-Inspect garage units or units which are located in rooms that open into the garage for protection from physical damage to the unit, and ignition sources are a minimum clearance of 18 inches above the garage floor, the absence of which is a recognized hazard.
During the home inspection the hydrotherapy equipment will be inspected for the following:
-Observe the operation.
-Inspect for the presence and operation of ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
-Inspect for safe location and operation of the switches.
-Observe under the tub for evidence of leaks if the access cover is available and accessible.
-Verify that there are no electrical outlets within 5' of the tub.
-Check to verify if possible that tub has been set in mortar to limit vibration and provide support.
-All other malfunctions or damage visible.
Appliances are ran through and performance tested, checked for proper installation and observed for damage or missing parts.
-Range, Cooktop and Ovens
-Built in Refrigerators
Sprinkler Systems are included at no additional fee in the inspection if they are present. The system is checked in the manual mode and all issues are noted in the report.