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Top Interior Home Defects and How to Spot Them

Certified home inspectors

Certified home inspectors have a standard process that includes exteriors, interiors, roofs, plumbing and more. The interiors portion covers a lot of ground, but in many cases, material defects are minor.  They can, however, indicate a larger problem that lurks somewhere else.

Here are some of the most common that you’ll encounter on the job.

Walls, Ceilings, and Floors

Stains: may be yellow or brown with a splotched appearance. These often indicate that there’s a water infiltration problem such as a plumbing leak, roof leak or ice dam. Black, purple or dark green stains may point to mold or mildew.

Cracks: often a normal side-effect of seasonal humidity changes, house settling or both. Wide cracks may be a sign that there’s an underlying structural defect, especially if other signs, such as misaligned doors and windows, are present.

Wavy or uneven floors: may arise from several different issues. Home settling can make a floor sag and sagging floor joists can compromise the integrity of the home. If the soil under the house is eroding, the home may settle prematurely or to a greater degree than normal.

Steps, Stairways, and Railings

Unsafe design: safe stairs have specific proportions including riser height, tread depth, width and the height of railings. If the builder played it by ear, the steps may be too steep, short, shallow or narrow and handrails may either be nonexistent or installed at the wrong height.

Decay or damage: over time, stairs handle thousands of footfalls and bear untold hundreds of pounds. Treads may wear unevenly, handrails may loosen, carpet may lift, and other damage may arise that makes a staircase unsafe.

Countertops and Installed Cabinets

Poor or no anchors: countertops and cabinets can pose a significant hazard if they’re not properly installed. Upper cabinets can fall and base cabinets can tip over.

Cracked tile or damaged laminate: counter top surfaces can become a sharp hazard if the materials are damaged. Tiles are as sharp as broken glass and cracked laminate is nearly so.

Water damage: usually found under the sink, water damage can spread to other parts of the cabinet, causing warping and crumbling of particle board materials.

Damaged or broken door hinges: prevent proper operation of the door and can stress the cabinets, causing them to loosen at the joinery or from the wall anchors over time.

Home inspectors

Defective appliances may be costly for the home buyer to repair or replace.

Installed Appliances

Non-operational: electrical wiring might be damaged or improperly installed. Breaker might be tripped or a fuse blown. If the electrical supply is installed correctly, the appliance is damaged or defective and the home owner or buyer will need a technician.

Water leaks: dishwashers, refrigerators, and garbage disposal units use water. Where there’s water, a leak can emerge. Improper or damaged fittings, damaged supply lines or drain lines and internal defects can cause a water leak.

Weak or no gas range flame: if the gas supply is on, a weak flame or none at all may be caused by a gas leak (which you should instantly recognize by the odor), dirty burners, a defective igniter or a combination of issues.

Weak or no electric range heat: usually caused by a burned out element, an element that isn’t seated correctly or damage to the wiring. Inspectapedia says the more common problems with electric ranges are nuisance issues, such as uneven heating.

Interior home defects can affect the health, safety, and quality of life of the homeowner. Steep stairs are a trip-and-fall hazard. A leaking garbage disposal can slowly ruin expensive cabinetry and invite mold to grow. Wavy floors are another tripping hazard that could point to a bigger problem in the crawl space. As a certified home inspector, you’ll have the knowledge to identify those and other defects, which lets you prepare a thorough report. From there, your customers can take the next step with confidence.

If you’re not sure about online home inspector education, we can help with that. Get a free course demo today and see what makes ICA School different and better.

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