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The Exterior: Protects From the Elements

Inspectors will spend a considerable amount of time reviewing a home’s exterior in order to get a sense of the home’s overall structural health. Not only will inspectors check the foundation from the outside, evaluating unevenness, cracks, and holes, but they will also study a home’s grading along walkways, driveways, steps and entry. Inspectors will also check windows and screens for proper performance. The exterior review also considers the home’s chimney and roof, as well as whether gutters and downspouts have holes, gaps, rust, clogging or other symptoms of leaks. Driveways and sidewalks will also be examined for holes or cracks that indicate wear and tear or tripping hazards. The site condition will be examined in terms of its ability to foster proper drainage and whether trees and shrubs are far enough from the house.

Inspectors will also consider a home’s siding materials, examining them for cracks, blistering, chipping, whether they have come loose in places and whether they may have created an environment where moisture intrusion is possible. Depending on a home’s age and building materials, inspectors will look for different symptoms of age and will be able to identify what may be cosmetic repairs requiring caulking or spot work versus larger issues that may effect the home’s entire exterior.

Home exteriors are made of many different types of materials. If the home is made of brick, inspectors will look for loose bricks or missing mortar, or for partially-cracked bricks. Wood siding may be prone to insect damage, moisture intrusion, or dryness from sun exposure. Aluminum and vinyl siding may become damaged or cracked, fall off in small pieces, or reveal a worn or dented surface. Stucco and synthetic stucco (EIFS) may show stains, cracks and swelling. Asbestos cement siding found on older homes may show cracking, as most homes featuring this siding were built long ago.