As landscaping grows and matures all summer, new home defects might arise and old ones may become obscured by all of the lush, green growth. When fall arrives and plantings die back for the season, foundation cracks, roof damage, and other defects become apparent.
Fall is one of the best times for a home inspection for many reasons, and that includes inspections for homeowners who have no intention of selling. Here are a few things to watch out for this year as the season progresses.
Tree and Shrub Roots Crack House Foundations
Some species of trees and shrubs have aggressive root growth. Although new, baby roots are small, thin and fragile, they can cause incredible damage if they grow into the foundation. Concrete is porous, prone to cracking and all that it takes is one small opening to let the tip of a root work its way inside.
Once a root is inside a gap, slow, continual growth can widen it. If the root doesn’t penetrate the concrete, growth can push against the foundation and weaken its integrity its new cracks, broken mortar and loose concrete blocks.
Storms Drop Branches and Debris on Roofs
This is already an extreme season for weather events. Hurricanes affect coastal areas and the residual systems bring high winds and rains across the country. With severe weather comes broken tree branches and debris, both of which damage roofs.
One downed branch can break clay roof tiles, dent metal roofing, crack older asphalt shingles and create new roof leaks. If the homeowner takes on DIY debris removal, more roof damage might be caused in the process.
Tree Overgrowth Can Threaten Gutters, Roofs, and Windows
The location of tree plantings is critical to the health of the tree and the safety of the home. Unfortunately, not everyone has a large enough yard for a mature maple or oak. Likewise, not everyone takes into consideration the tree spread when choosing the best spot to plant it.
Trees are powerful things. As they grow they can break windows, tear off gutters and lift roofing substrates. Under the cover of summer leaves, some of the damage might go unnoticed. Once fall arrives, tree trimming or removal plus home repair might be in order.
Overwatering Can Erode Soil Around the Foundation
Planters around a house foundation give a classic landscaping look. Too much water, however, can erode the soil. That can cause foundation cracks and leave basements and crawl spaces vulnerable to future flooding.
Soil should slope downward away from the foundation. When it’s flat or slopes toward the house, water will find its way in. Fortunately, this is easy to remedy. Recovering a proper grade with new soil might be enough. If the situation is extreme, French drains along the foundation can carry water away.
With the return of fall, all of the lush, green growth of summer gives way to bare branches that are ready for a good overwinter rest. Before spring arrives again, homeowners should evaluate defects that you find during your inspection and make plans to correct them for good.
As a certified home inspector, you have the power to inform and help protect your customers. There’s nothing more valuable than knowledge, which is why ICA School takes your education so seriously. Enroll now in our home inspection certification program and start learning today.