Home Inspection Checklist in Pittsburgh
How detailed is a home inspection in Pittsburgh?
It’s a question that the professionals at A-Pro Home Inspection have been receiving for more than 26 years. Our answer is always the same: Very.
Sellers and buyers benefit from having a certified inspector carefully look into every accessible corner and cranny that home-shoppers may miss, reporting on obvious major issues and minor concerns that could blossom into costly headaches. If you’re in the market for a home, you may not notice the black streaks on an attic ceiling (more about that in a moment), but you can bet your home inspector will. These observations will be documented in a hardbound home inspection report, complete with photographs of the home.
Look at any home inspection checklist and you’ll realize that when performing a 500-point foundation-to-roof inspection, there are many components—and potential problems associated with them—you may have never considered, from attic venting to crawlspace insulation. Over the next few blogs we’ll be exploring some home inspection checklists you may find valuable in your own home searches. We’ll start with a checklist of moisture stains—not the most exciting part of a home inspection, but definitely something you’ll want to keep in mind when looking at properties.
Attic: First rule of assessing a water stain: Don’t immediately assume it’s from a leak. Black spots and streaks on walls and rafters could be an indication of a roof leak or an ongoing condensation problem. Either way, the presence of these dark marks will warrant further investigation and questioning to determine the cause of the problem. Is it a dry stain or is it still wet (perhaps resulting from recent rain)? Was there a roof repair that fixed a previous staining issue? Is there supporting evidence that condensation is the culprit, such as moist or matted insulation? Is there wetness without clear signs of roof-cover deterioration? Are there stains on the roof sheathing? Is there wood rot and mold present? The home inspector will take all these questions into consideration, while also using a moisture meter to check for active leaks.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms are prime areas for water stains to develop. One common spot is around bathroom exhaust fans. Even if this is a second-floor bathroom, don’t assume that the cause is a roof leak. The likely suspect is an accumulation of condensation that is draining back down the vent. The inspector will check out what’s happening around the stain as well as possible problems from above.
Dark stains on the bathroom floor—especially when accompanied by warping, mold, and sponginess—may be an indication of structural damage caused by long-term leakage. When appearing on the wall behind a toilet, water stains point to a fixture that isn’t well-secured to the floor. Don’t be surprised to find streaks on walls in bathrooms where there is inadequate ventilation. Stained cabinetry under a sink (in both bathrooms and kitchens) will demand further evaluation by the home inspector through the use of a moisture meter and evaluation of the plumbing.
Interior Rooms: The home inspector will take a close look at interior wall stains, particularly those that overlap where a ceiling and interior wall meet. Ice dams are often to blame in this case. Ceiling stains may be the result of an upstairs bathroom leak caused by a number of factors (e.g., degraded caulking, overflowing toilets, etc.); roof leaks due to damaged flashing, compromised roof coverings, or poorly
sealed penetrations; or other sources, such as a leaky radiator. Important note: Covering up water stains won’t help you discover and rectify what could be a serious problem. It’s like hanging a picture of your great-grandpa over a developing wall crack. Out of sight, out of mind is a dangerous philosophy when it comes to home maintenance!
Windows: Like other places in the home, windows can develop unsightly stains due to high humidity and leaks. The inspector will look at the location of the stains (such as significant staining at the bottom of a sill) to determine if it’s the more difficult-to-solve circumstance—moisture that is entering the home from the exterior. The inspector will check the window’s top flashing to see if that may be where rainwater is gaining entry. Flashing issues are commonly the result of an installer who has taken shortcuts that later come back to haunt the homeowner.
Other familiar locations for water stains include behind washing machines, on basement walls and around basement windows, on exterior cladding, near dishwashers and water heaters, in closets, and around door frames.