Issues that exist outside of the home can often impact what happens inside of the home.
Inspecting the siding or stucco finish is one of the key components to the exterior portion of the home inspection. A large percentage of homes in Southwest Florida are concrete structures with stucco over the concrete block. Cracks in the stucco walls of the home are not uncommon, but they can be a cause for significant moisture intrusion if left unattended. Driving rain can eventually penetrate these cracks and can become a larger moisture issue at the interior of these walls. We cannot always dictate if a crack is leaking, but we are always observant to these cracks and they should always be properly weather proofed to prevent the potential of future moisture intrusion. Some cracks that are superficial may need to be weather proofed while others could be indicative to an area that may have settled and could be structurally compromised. We are not structural engineers and we often refer cracks of significant concern to be further evaluated by a structural engineer. This will allow the problem to be fully evaluated and a proper course of action can then be taken.
The fascia, soffits, trim and the flashing around the home are also observed from a visible perspective. Keeping the home moisture tight is a major concern and a priority during the exterior portion of this inspection. It is not uncommon for a moisture issues to later take place in a home that was not visually apparent at the time of the inspection. We cannot see behind or in between walls and we are limited to inspecting the home based on the weather conditions at the time of the inspection. It may be difficult to identify leaks or moisture issues if it had not significantly rained before the home inspection.
Exterior doors and windows are considered the envelope openings of the home. These openings often leak if not properly maintained. It is not uncommon for a sprinkler system to hit windows or doors such as the garage service door. Repeated conditions such as this can often cause damage to the home. Minimizing these types of repeated conditions as well as properly maintaining the envelope opening will help prevent undesired moisture damage to the home. We often find that the caulking around exterior windows is compromised and the lack of this maintenance is also a culprit for moisture intrusion.
The inspection of the decks, railings, stairs and risers are significant for the safety of every home owner. Walkways, patios and driveways can often show signs of settlement which can pitch them toward the home and allow water to have a negative grade towards the home. This can trap water near the foundation which can have a domino effect by allowing moisture to infiltrate the home.
During this exterior inspection, we also evaluate the grading, vegetation and surface drainage as they all have an impact on how secure and weather proof this home will be. Trees planted to close to the home often have branches that rub on the roof causing premature wear and damage. The roots can also cause damage to the foundation as well as lifting sidewalks, driveways and patios.