It’s well known that many accidents occur at home. If you’re selling your home, a home inspection will uncover those areas prone to safety issues that need special attention. This article will only touch on a couple of the items a qualified home inspector will check when he prepares his report for you.
Porches, decks and balconies are important areas on the outside of your home. They’re exposed to the elements more than most other parts of your home, so your inspector will check their condition carefully. It’s a safety issue because you wouldn’t want someone to be hurt falling down rickety steps or through a soft deck floor.
Your inspector will check all porch, deck, and balcony supports for signs of loose or rotted parts. He’ll note whether masonry or concrete piers are plumb. He’ll also check to see that structural connections to the main part of your home are secure and protected against corrosion or rot.
Does the porch floor slant away from the main wall of the house? Is there rot anywhere? Does water seep in at door sills where the porch floor or deck is close to the level of the main floor in the house?
Your inspector will examine the condition of railings and stairs. Stairs with more than three steps should have a handrail located 34 to 38 inches above the edges of the stair tread. How securely fastened are the railings? Are wooden steps strong? Do they have good support? Is there any rot or insect infestation?
If you have steel stairs, he’ll check them for strength and rust and see if they’re securely attached. The stair treads should be as level as possible without holding water. The height of stair riser and tread depths should each be uniform.
If stairs are in questionable condition, your inspector will urge that they be repaired or replaced.
Another safety concern is garage doors. Someone can be hurt or trapped if the door isn’t working as it should be. Therefore, your inspector will check garage doors for correct operation, weather tightness and overall condition and fit.
If you have wooden garage doors, he’ll check the wood and hardboard for rot and water damage, as well as examining hardboard for cracking and splitting. If you have metal doors, he’ll check steel doors for rust and aluminum for dents. He may look at fiberglass to determine the extent of ultraviolet light deterioration.
In areas prone to hurricanes, single doors on two-car garages will be evaluated to see if the assembly (door and track) has been tested for hurricane wind loads. Has the door been reinforced?
Whether a garage door has a motor or not, it will be opened and closed to make sure it works as it should. Is there a way to operate the door from the outside? Does the door open smoothly, quietly and safely? Is there a way to reverse the door, and does it work like it’s supposed to?
Are there any problems like rust, loose connections or damaged pieces on the exposed areas of the door?
Be sure porches, stairs and garage doors are safe and in good condition. Not only is this important for the safety of your family, but your prospective buyer will be pleased to know these outside areas will be safe for her as well.