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The Structure: Holds a Home’s Shape

A home’s “structure” is like its skeleton – it includes the bones that bear the weight of your property. During a home inspection, an inspector will first take a look at the outside of the home to get a sense of how the property’s structure is interacting with the ground and environment surrounding it. Does a yard’s slope create an environment for water to pool along the foundation? Are there trees and vegetation that could harm the home? Are adjoining decks, sidewalks, stairs, and handrails built properly or does their condition present potential hazards?

Here are key areas of a home’s structure reviewed during an inspection:

Basements and crawlspaces: Most basements and crawlspaces are susceptible to moisture issues and water penetration. The type and degree of moisture-related trouble varies, but even if the water doesn’t damage your home’s structure it could create an environment favored by wood-destroying organisms and insects that will. Basements currently have a minimum ceiling height of 6’8″, but they may have lower ceilings in older homes. Crawlspaces are deemed non-habitable but they may house some home systems such as electrical, plumbing or heating and air conditioning systems. They are also required to have ventilation. An inspector will determine if these spaces were built according to industry standards. If they are not, your inspector will make recommendations for needed repairs and improvements.

Roof: Your inspector will check your home’s roof to assess the condition, its drainage, and whether it is properly flashed to prevent leaks. Inspectors will climb on or at least up to the roof. They’ll look for damage, moss or discoloration on the roofing materials.

Walls: The inspector will look at exterior walls to describe the type of wall covering used on the home, and whether that covering is in functional condition. The inspector will also review windows and doors within these walls, whether they open and close properly, and whether or not they were properly installed. Are the external walls sound? Has the home suffered structural damage due to structural movement or the weather? Are the walls functional or is there evidence of movement, moisture damage, or failure?