As you shop for a new home, it’s easy to be drawn in by a property’s strong curb appeal—perhaps a pristine wraparound porch, an eye-catching bay window, the stunning masonry work of a retaining wall, a row of red azalea bushes and a blooming dogwood tree all saying to the prospect, “Come right in! This is the house you’ve been looking for.” While all these aspects of the house may dazzle the eye, they hardly tell the full story of a home’s exterior.
In the home inspection world, the old expression, “All that glitters is not gold,” certainly applies. The vegetation, while attractive, it may be too close to the home’s wood cladding. The porch may be sagging and missing handrails. The retaining wall could lack proper weep holes and show signs of deterioration. The windows may display early indications of rot. And that’s only the beginning.
Of course, the home could also turn out to be all you had hoped for when you first laid eyes upon it. But to know for sure, it takes a certified home inspector, like those at A-Pro Home Inspection, to visually scrutinize the many details of a home that might escape the untrained eye. A-Pro has performed many thousands of home inspections since 1994, so we’ve seen it all when it comes to a home’s exterior—the good, the bad, and the “in serious need of replacement.”
Here are just some of the checklist items that the experienced home inspectors at A-Pro evaluate when checking out a property’s exterior:
- Exterior Wall Cladding and Eaves: What type of cladding is it—brick, stucco, vinyl siding, wood, stone, artificial stone, metal, hardboard, etc.? Is there evidence of deterioration; cracks; rot; siding issues, including damage, aging, delamination, missing pieces, improperly installed J-channels, and need for replacement; tree and branch proximity; the need for repointing; sandblasted brick; localized or substantial stucco damage; poorly executed prior repairs; wood siding in contact with soil; leaks at eaves; and other concerns.
- Soffit and Fascia: Are the soffits and fascia made of wood, vinyl, aluminum, metal, or OSB? Are there missing, loose, or damaged pieces?
- Window/Door Frames and Trim: Are these composed of wood, vinyl, or metal? Do the following conditions exist—mild to pronounced rotting, missing or damaged shutters, caulking and putty issues, wrongly sloping sills, neglected basement windows, screen door damage, loose capping, and other problems?
- Driveways, Walkways, and Landscape: Is the driveway asphalt, concrete, stone, gravel, or brick? Is the driveway drain missing or insufficient? Are there signs of settlement, heaving, or surface deterioration? Do uneven walkways present a tripping hazard? Does the retaining wall show signs of movement/and or rot? Does its poor condition warrant replacement?
- Lot Drainage: Is the lot grading level, sloped away from the house, or graded toward the house? Is the structure built on a ravine lot? Are grading and swale improvements needed?
- Porches, Decks, and Steps: Are these made from wood, treated wood, concrete, or stone? Is the porch settling or rotting? Does it have loose railings or no railings at all, sagging rafters, lack of flashing, or a cover that is improperly secured to the house? If it’s a wood porch, does it come in contact with the soil? Is there spalling if it’s a masonry-constructed porch? Do deck and porch steps present a tripping hazard? Does the deck have poorly founded posts, railing deficiencies, debris underneath, a deteriorating balcony, or damaged steps?
- Garage/Carport: What is the overhead door made of? Is it automatic? Does the door show signs of physical damage, rot, absence of safety springs, poorly attached tracking, or need for adjustments? Is the door flush with the slab? Is the opener inoperative? Does the garage have floor cracks and improper drainage? Does the structure meet standards for fire and gas safety? Does the carport have rotting or settling posts?
- Fencing: Is the fencing wood, chain link, concrete, steel, masonry, or stucco? Is there rust, surface deterioration, major cracks, and rotten or leaning posts?
- General Comments: The inspector may also highlight positive aspects of the home’s exterior, such as “low-maintenance siding and windows,” “no wood/soil contact,” “lot drainage good,” “pressure-treated deck,” and “garage fully finished.”
An evaluation of a home’s exterior is part of A-Pro’s 500-point home inspection. Ask your local A-Pro Home Inspection team about their complete foundation-to-roof inspection in Tacoma. To schedule one, call 253-330-5140 or visit the link below.