Hurricane season hasn’t been kind to the sunshine state this year, especially in the southern part of the state. Once all of the flooding subsides and cleanup begins, new home defects can surface in their wake. What might you find in your work as a certified home inspector? Here are 7 of the most common post-hurricane defects.
#1: Missing Roofing Shingles
High winds and driving rain take their toll on roofing materials, including gutters. Missing and damaged shingles and gutters are some of the most common post-hurricane defects. If they make up the worst of the damage, repairs shouldn’t be difficult. But if shingles and gutters aren’t repaired after a severe storm, the buyer might want to know why. Florida roofs aren’t often as steeply pitched as those in northern states, so missing shingles can quickly lead to roof leaks. Without functional gutters, the home can take on water around the foundation.
#2: Roof Leaks
Even if there’s no apparent shingle damage, past damage might have left the home vulnerable to water infiltration on an ordinary rainy Florida day. The attic space is the first place to check for a roof leak, although a Florida attic might not be tall enough to walk through and inspect closely. Yellow or brown ceiling stains are another indicator.
#3: Interior Flooding
Because Florida is relatively flat and close to sea level, floodwater in many neighborhoods has nowhere to go. Sandbagging helps, but it can only block water for a while. Flooding can waterloo drywall, soak subfloors and damaged wiring. If the water takes a while to recede, mold and mildew could become a problem. So can pathogens, as flooding can carry hazardous materials such as chemicals and sewage. Drywall repairs and new flooring can conceal damage inside walls and in the foundation.
#4: Damaged or Missing Home Siding
As with roofing, siding materials are prone to rips, tears, and lifting. Vinyl and wood siding may break from the impact of blown branches and other objects. If the siding isn’t repaired soon after a storm, water infiltration behind the siding can cause moisture damage, mold, and mildew inside the home.
#5: Water Infiltration Around the Foundation
Many Florida homes have a concrete foundation, but that doesn’t mean there’s no likely hurricane damage. Forceful water can shift a house off its foundation. It can crack concrete walkways, too, and even lift a driveway.
#6: Broken Windows
One of the first things Florida homeowners do during a hurricane threat is boarding up the windows or lowering storm-safe awnings and shutters. Those are smart preparedness steps, but they can’t protect against everything. Aside from the most obvious storm damage, which is broken glass, windows might develop gaps and leaks around the frame. They might also loosen or shift in the jamb.
Florida might be the sunshine state but it’s also notorious for hurricanes. Every year, the threats seem to worsen and home damage stacks up. If the homeowner has insurance, repairs might be thorough and safe. But don’t count on it. If they didn’t have insurance, there may be a host of DIY repairs to investigate. If they used insurance money on cheap repairs, the home could be at an even greater risk of hurricane damage in the future.
Certified home inspectors in Florida have their work cut out. Every state has some type of severe weather pattern possibilities, but hurricanes and tropical storms are an annual threat for homeowners in the Sunshine State. Especially around the coastline, chances are a home that’s on the market has survived at least one serious weather event. Your good work serves to inform buyers so they can make an informed decision.
If you’re ready for a career change, ICA School is ready to help. Enroll now and start your own Florida home inspection business in just a few short weeks.