When considering what inspection company to go with, consider what our inspectors will provide on every inspection:

Roof:
How is the overall condition? What is the approximate age? How many layers of shingles are on it, Are there any trees overhanging the roof? What is the condition of the chimney(s)? How is the flashing? Is the roof properly ventilated? Are there skylights and if so what are their condition?

Exterior:
What type of siding does the house have: vinyl, aluminum, brick, brick veneer, stucco, EIFS, asbestos, wood shingle, wood clapboard and what is the condition of the siding? What is the condition of the trim, exterior windows and doors? Does the siding need sealed/caulked/repaired? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached to the house, do they need repaired, are they free of debris, are they leaking? Are there any loose or rotted fascia boards or damaged eaves or soffit?

Grounds/Lot:
Does the drainage appear to be away from the house? Are there any obvious soggy/damp areas? Are the walkways cracked/damaged/uneven or pitched toward the house? Are trees/shrubs/bush’s/ivy interfering with the house? Is the driveway cracked/damaged/uneven or pitched toward the house?

Foundation, Crawlspace, Slab on Grade:
Is the basement/crawlspace structurally sound/ has there been movement or shifting? Is there any horizontal cracking? vertical, stair-step cracking, heaving, settling or uneven cracks in the basement floor? Is there dampness and where is the moisture coming from? Is there proper drainage? Is there a sump pump and is it working properly and does it have a functional backup system? Are there floor drains and are they functional? Are the windows functioning properly, are they glass block? Are they vented? What is the main load bearing support? What typed of floor joists? What type of sub flooring? If there’s a crawlspace instead of a basement, Is there a vapor barrier? Is the foundation properly insulated?

Plumbing:
What is the condition, age, make, size of the water tank and are all the safety attachments properly installed? Where is the main water shut-off in case of emergency? What type of material is the incoming water and what type of condition are they in? leaks? old and malfunctioning shut-off handles? What material is drain waste lines made of and what condition are they in? leaks? damage? backing up? Where is the main gas shut-off in case of emergency? What is the material of the gas lines and what are the condition of the lines? leaking or damaged pipe or shut-off handles?

Electrical:
Where is the electrical panel? is the breaker panel wired correctly? What is the make of the pane? Federal Pacific panels were a very popular brand name in the 50’s 60’s 70’s and 80’s that are known for overload and meltdown issues and should be replaced! What type of wiring is in the house? It the panel properly wired or is there mismatched wiring, double tapped breakers, triple tapped breaked, double tapped main breaker,ext.? Are the outlets wired properly? ungrounded three prong outlets, hot/neutral reversed wiring, hot/ground reversed wiring (very dangerous) loose outlets or switches, GFCI’s installed in all area’s withing six feet of water fixtures, etc. Is there spliced wiring in the basement attic, garage, are there open junction boxes? Is your electrical properly grounded to a cold water line with a copper jumper over the water meter, is it grounded to a grounding rod? It the main service wire properly installed at an adequate height over the yard or driveway, Are there trees interfering with the line? Is there a drip loop to the weather head? is the meter attached to the house correctly?

Heating system:
What type of heating system id provided for the house? What brand is it? what is the age of the unit? is the unit burning properly? what is the source of fuel? Are there signs of deterioration, leaking, rust? Is the system vented properly? Is the ductwork properly sized? Is there asbestos on the ductwork? How do you change the filter, what is the proper size of the filter? where is the gas & electric shut off’s for the unit? Is it safe?

Cooling system:
What brand is it? what is the age of the unit? Is the unit level? what is the overall condition of the unit? Are the lines properly insulated? Is it functioning properly? Is there proper clearance for the unit? are there any damaged fins? it the unit dirty or full of debris?

Interior, Including:
Living room, bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms, stairwell, foyer, hallways, family room, den office-What are the condition of the walls, ceilings, windows, doors, stairs, fireplace, cabinets, counter tops, switches, outlets, toilets, plumbing under the sinks, tubs, showers, Jacuzzi tubs, handrails, overhead fans and lights, floors, Appliances, faucets, drains, venting, heating provided to each room, Ext.

Attic:
What style of roof structure is it; 2″ x 6″ rafters, 2″ x 4″ truss, etc.? What type of sheathing? What is the is the condition of the attic? Is there signs of mold in the attic? are there signs of moisture penetration or condensation or leaking? Are the bathroom fans vented properly out of the attic? Is the attic insulated properly? Is the attic ventilated properly? Are there signs of moisture penetration or any damage to the chimney in the attic?

Home Styles

Ranch:  Usually a one story house supported by a slab, full or partial basement or a crawlspace.

Split level:  A split level home is usually supported by at least two of the following foundation types including:  basement, lower level “Partially underground”, crawlspace and slab with the lower level “Partially underground” containing a den or family room.  The next level housing the kitchen, dining and living room areas, while the upper level’(s) are reserved for the bathroom and bedrooms.

Colonial:  Colonials foundations are generally set on basements, crawlspaces and slabs with the 1st level housing the kitchen, dining room, bathroom/half bathroom, living room and possibly a family room depending on the size while the upper level is reserved for the main bathrooms and bedrooms.

Cape Cod/ Bungalow:  This type of 1 ½ story house is very common in the northeastern US and a very popular house in northeast Ohio since the end of world war II.  It is usually supported by a basement but have been known to be supported by a crawlspace or slab.  The Cape Cod/ Bungalow style home usually has the kitchen bathroom and bedrooms on the main floor with the attic area often converted into a master bedroom. It has been very popular to convert the Cape Cod/ Bungalow style house basements into a recreational area or the infamous man cave in recent years.

Contemporary-: Contemporary foundations are generally set on basements, crawlspaces and slabs with the main living levels converted to the home owners taste.   Many contemporary house have shape geometrical angles with a rustic sided finish. The most popular of the contemporary houses is known as an A frame, named for its sharply pitched roof that resembles the letter A.

Bi-Level:  The bi-level most always is set on a lower level “Partial basement” with a portion of the foundation housing the garage, a family room and often a bathroom.  The upper level of the house is usually reserve for the kitchen, main bathroom and bedrooms.

Townhouse: The townhouse is often supported by a basement, slab and sometimes a crawlspace and usually is usually a two to three story dwelling that is attached to similar like dwellings.  Townhomes are often sold as condominiums and may have monthly association fees.

Tudor:  Tudor style house are often supported by basements and were a very popular style of house from the late 1800 to around 1929 when the market crashed.   The old English Tudor style home often houses the family room, living room, kitchen and at least one bathroom on the 1st floor with the 2nd floor being reserved for bedrooms and main bathrooms.  Many of the larger Tudors had finished 3rd floors attic areas often lived in by the maids or servants.  The Tudor style house has made quite a comeback in recent years due to its old English charm and elegance

Victorian: The Victorian style house usually sits on a basement and may have a foundation built of stone or cut sandstone. Many may still have dirt floors and cut timber load support.  The Victorian was a common style house in the 1800’s up until the early 1900’s with the living room and kitchen on the 1st floor and the bedrooms and bathrooms on the 2nd floor.  These often unique structures offer many interesting twists and turns from days gone past and are a pleasure to inspect.

roof-typesRoof Styles

Flat Roof: The flat roof is the simplest type a common on commercial buildings. The flat roof is more susceptible to leaking and it not recommended for residential housing.

Shed Roof: The shed style roof is also a simple roof structure and usually has a low slope pitch that directs water to the rear of the building.

Gable Roof: The gable style roof is the most common style of roof for residential housing.  The gable roof generally has two moderately pitched sides usually with a 4/14 to 8/12 pitch with the ridge in the center of the house.

Hipped Roof: The hipped style roof is considered by many as the best draining roof for residential homes. Water is carried quickly to the gutters and the style provides good protection from the wind.

Gambrel Roof:  The gambrel “Barn” style roof has two roof pitches on each side with a lower sloped pitch over the main structure and a steep slope pitch running down the sides.  The gambrel style roof provides additional living space to the upper level of the house.

Mansard Roof:  The Mansard roof has steep side slopes and is flat on top. Sometimes the top is depressed and the mansard is a false front.

Dormers:  Dormers are extensions or interruptions in the roof to provide windows and additional second floor living space.

4 Common Heating Sources

A furnace is a device used for high-temperature heating. We will be touching base on 4 types of Furnaces or home heating & cooling sources:

Forced air furnace

Forced air heating is the most commonly installed in a United States.  A forced-air central heating uses air as its heat transfer medium through ductwork, vents, and plenums to distribute air separate from the actual heating and air conditioner. The return plenum carries the air to the central air handler from the rest of the house to heat or cool the recycled air and distribute it evenly throughout the house at the homeowners preferred temperature by a adjusting a thermostat. The forced air furnace’s energy source can vary from electricity, propane, fuel oil, natural gas and others.  Natural gas has been considered the most efficient energy source for years.

Electric baseboard heating

The Electric baseboard heating units are usually independent, elongated, low profile units running along the base of a wall—The electric baseboard heaters are less costly to produce and install and offer instant heat and great reliability.  The electric baseboard heaters are an excellent heating source in warmer clients but will not be a cost effective option in the northern area’s of the United States.

Boiler

A boiler system is a closed vessel where water is heated is heated. The heated or vaporized fluid expands through the pipes in the house to the radiators located in each room, where it warms the room to the desired temperature set on the thermostat. The boiler is considered the cleanest air distributing source in heating but rarely offers an option for cooling the air.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is generated and stored in the Earth and should be considered the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way to heat a house. The geothermal units can be both forced air units and boiler style units. The drawback to geothermal heating the cost to installed the product. Many homeowners do not find it and option when replacing their outdated units.   The best way I find to describe geothermal heating would be to consider that when you dig down below roughly 2 ½’ below the ground the standard temperature will always remain about 55 degrees so if you run piping under the ground and always control the temperature of the air or water at 55 degrees it will be cheaper to heat or cool air/water at the 55 degrees temperature then to heat it or cool it at much more extreme temperatures like 90 degrees or 10 degrees making the system very cost effective.

Types of Siding

Siding or wall cladding is the exterior material attached to the exterior of the house or building meant to protect the house from the all types of weather and provide and appealing appearance to the structure.

Vinyl siding– is an affordable plastic exterior of a house used to provide an appealing appearance while weather-proofing the structure.

Aluminum Siding– A popular siding from the 1940’s – 1980’s but due to the cost of aluminum it has become a less affordable option Aluminum siding is used to provide an appealing appearance while weather-proofing the structure.

Stucco– Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water used to attractively coat the exterior of a house while weather-proofing the structure.

Brick veneer– A building construction technique in which an external, non-structural, brick wall conceals a structural wall of another material.

Brick House– ♪♪ Ow, she’s a brick house. She’s mighty-mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out. ♪♪

Masonry structure /brick structure– Solid masonry construction is also called ‘Solid Brick’, ‘Double Brick’, and sometimes ‘Brick and Block’. In its most common form, a solid masonry wall consists of an outer layer of brick and an inner layer of brick.  Considered by many to be a superior type of building.

Asbestos siding– Asbestos siding was a common type of siding used throughout the US and Canada from the 1920 -1970’s and like much of the asbestos material there are health concerns when dealing with asbestos siding.  A qualified inspector can determine if a house has asbestos siding and advise the homeowner on the concerns of owning an asbestos siding home.

Wood clapboard siding– a long, thin, flat piece of wood with edges horizontally overlapping in series, used to cover the outer walls of buildings. Regular exterior maintenance may be needed to seal the wood.

Wood Shingle siding– Wood shingles are thin, tapered pieces of wood primarily used to cover roofs and the exterior siding of the house.  Regular exterior maintenance may be needed to seal the wood.

Composite siding– Various composite materials are also used for siding: asphalt shingles, asbestos, fiber cement, aluminum, fiberboard, hardboard, etc. They may be in the form of shingles or boards, in which case they are sometimes called clapboard.   Many of the early composite products have been known to be defective and some were recalled due to product failure.

 

T-111 Siding- T1-11 siding is a wood or wood-based siding product that reached its height of popularity in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, when a more natural, wood-grained look was all the rage. Its widespread use has dwindled due to the failure rate of the product and lifespan.

EIFS– Exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS) is a general class of non-load bearing building cladding systems that provides exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in an integrated composite material system. EIFS does not normally fail but when it is installed incorrectly it can be a nightmare for the home owner and can cause health issues such as mold if it is not dealt with Accordingly.  Although it does take a certified EIFs inspector to determine if there is an issue with EIFS, most qualified inspectors can advise to what steps will be needed to properly review the product.