April 18, 2014
AmeriSpec inspectors start looking at the foundation of a home even as they’re driving up to the house. Signs of problems can be seen from the street.
Water, weather, the materials used to build the foundation and the soil surrounding it all play a part in the stability of a home’s foundation. When AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln inspects your foundation, we look at six main areas of concern.
1. The grade of the property
We look at the grade of the property to identify issues with drainage or grading. If negative drainage is present, we then check for underground drainage systems.
Whether the foundation is made of concrete block, poured walls, or possibly even wood, AmeriSpec checks the front porch for a possible negative slope. We also look at gutters and downspouts for damage and missing areas.
In our area, inconsistent moisture content in the soil around the home means unequal pressure on the foundation. Dried-out areas crack and create paths that allow water into the foundation and footing areas.
3. Possible street creep
Prime areas for street creep are T-intersections, cul-de-sacs, and at curves in the road or street. When concrete shifts and street creep happens, expansion joints will be compressed or disappear, or driveways and garage floors may be raised or cracked. In extreme cases, the foundation will crack.
It is very important to identify this problem before purchasing a home. If caught early enough, it can be a relatively inexpensive repair.
4. Foundation movement
There are several indications of foundation movement. AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln inspectors look for these signs:
- Cracks in ceilings and walls.
- Broken windows.
- Damaged or raised floors; gaps in wood floors.
- Windows and doors that don’t operate properly or are not level.
5. Basement walls
Cracked and loose drywall on basement walls and ceilings are signs of possible foundation problems. So are bowed windows and trim, and movement in the basement floor. We also look for areas with moisture damage.
If a house has a slab foundation, we look for gaps where the walls meet the floor, and other movement.
6. Exterior foundation
To evaluate the exterior foundation, AmeriSpec looks at the corners, then at the middle of each individual wall. If the bottom edge isn’t uniform, this usually is a sign of foundation movement.
In brick homes, we check for cracks at all corners of windows, doors and garage doors.
For more information about AmeriSpec’s foundation movement and inspections, please see our Resource Center.
AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln inspectors are trained and certified to identify issues. To set up an inspection, please call us at (402) 393-3696.
April 10, 2014
What are the best materials for a new deck?
The snow has finally melted. You can’t wait to get outside and fire up the grill. But when you do, you notice: The past few winters and summers haven’t been kind to your deck. It’s time to replace it.
For a more durable deck, investigate the composite materials that are newer to the market. Their appearance is similar to wood, but they don’t rot, shrink, or splinter like real wood. They also don’t need to be stained or sealed yearly.
If you like the look and feel of natural wood, those options are still available, and still viable. Pressure-treated wood can last 30 years or more if maintained properly. Experts recommend that this deck be sealed with a lumber preservative every year.
Cedar wood requires just a clear wood sealer for proper maintenance. Cedar can last up to 20 years and provide a beautiful decking surface.
For more information, see the recommendations from our AmeriSpec inspectors in our Resource Center. Check out our other home maintenance and home inspection articles as well.
April 4, 2014
Chris Pelster earns ASHI certification
AmeriSpec inspector Chris Pelster has passed his exam to become a fully certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
“Chris started with AmeriSpec in January 2012 with little to no knowledge of the home inspection industry,” said Tom Sutko, AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln owner. “He now is the newest member of our team to become ASHI certified.”
Congratulations to Chris on a job well done!