Be Your Own Home Inspector

Just because you don’t have the time to stand around and watch your new home being built stick by stick does not mean you can’t figure whether you will get a good final result. It is just a question of doing it the way inspectors do it, using lists of everything you want to check.

The first step in construction is that the land has to be graded so that water runoff will flow properly. You don’t have to have your home on a mound, but the land should slope gently away from the home.

This will serve to keep water from pooling around the foundation of the home. Water that sits like this will seep into the home through small cracks in the concrete. Some moisture is not a disaster, but water seeping in consistently will cause problems over the long run.

First, you may have a mold problem, which is a health issue since we end up breathing it in. Moisture can also make the drywall damp, which will weaken it over time. The plywood in the home’s flooring will become warped if constantly exposed to moisture, and this will cause problems in the floor coverings. If the seepage is severe, you may end up with several inches of water in the basement.

Many people install sump pumps to deal with this issue, but the constant moisture is going to produce mold and mildew, unless a dehumidifier is installed.

Most homes (except some “avant garde” kinds) usually have foundations that are horizontal and walls that are at vertical right angles to the foundation. Gravity, the way we live and the effects of light have led us to design homes in this way.

If a wall is not at a vertical right angle to the foundation, the wall will not only look strange, it will be weak. The trusses we use in homes to GE support to the roofs and cross beams are designed to make the walls rigid, which will make them stronger. This strength is required to resist rain and wind, and even earthquakes in the home. If these elements are not at the perfect angle, they will be weak and allow wind and moisture into the home.

Understanding these basic facts of engineering will help understand construction and make a better judgment of the quality of a home.

No home really has joints that are perfectly joined, and floors and walls that are perfectly level. But they should be within a very small range of error to assure that the house will be strong. To make sure of this, act like an inspector yourself. Crawl in the attic and have a look at the construction.

Look at the trusses. They are a number of types of trusses, such as scissors, M or W. The most important thing all of them have in common is that the angled ends meet the other members of the walls and roof as perfectly as possible.

These trusses usually have metal on each side of the member to join hate pieces together. Look for cracks in the beam where the metal attaches.

If a home is constructed properly, it will on a solid level area, with a slope away from it for good drainage. It should have strong, well joined trusses, walls and floors. If these two basis criteria are not met, there will surely be problems Wit the home. Checking to make sure you have these important elements in your home will save you many problems in the long run. You may not be one of the experts, but you can look for the basics and assure yourself the your home is being well built.