The easiest way to take care of your precious house is to keep unwanted moisture away from the exterior (particularly the foundation), and out of the interior (particularly the attic), closets, and any interior ceilings. This typically means very little or no watering allowed next to your foundation. This also translates into no high-water-use plants should be planted next to your foundation. (What's a high water-use plant? Typically they are big plants, tropical plants, and plants that have large foliage or lots of flowers). I recommend regular monitoring and maintenance of the exterior roof and its drainage, the exterior walls, and foundation to include the structural and mechanical components attached to them and every interior wall and floor under any upper stories.
Home ownership! It's not easy being a homeowner, and there will be many things that become problems while you own your home in which you will need to spend money to resolve. I recommend proactive preventive maintenance rather that after-the-fact reactive repair. To that end, throughout your inspection report you may read certain recommendations of homeowner monitoring and maintenance. This means that things will fall apart or become problematic if you don't take care of them periodically. Some items will need to be monitored and maintained Daily - (plumbing fixtures, basement, etc.), Monthly - (GFCI outlets, etc.) or Annually - (roof, water heater, fireplace, gas-using appliances, etc.). You're investing a substantial amount of money in your home. Please take care of it or hire professional service contractors to continually take care of it for you.
Grading and drainage are probably the most significant aspects of a property, simply because of the direct and indirect damage that moisture can have on structures. More damage has probably resulted from moisture and expansive soils than from most natural disasters, and for this reason I am particularly diligent when I evaluate property conditions. In fact, I compare all properties to an ideal. In short, the ideal property will have soils that slope away from the house (not towards or leveled out) and the interior floors will be at least several inches higher than the exterior grading. Also, the house will have gutters and downspouts that discharge into area drains with catch basins that carry water away to hard surfaces.
If there are no gutters in place, rainwater heads right for the weeping tile around the basement and can overload your foundation drainage system causing a flooded basement. The land around many homes settles over time, and then slopes in toward the foundation. If your foundation grading slopes inward, you'll want to fill in and grade the lot so you have at least 6 feet out from around the entire foundation. Ultimately, you'll want all foundation grading always sloping away from your house.
If a property does not meet this ideal condition, or if any portion of the interior floor is below grade, I will not endorse it, even though there may be no evidence of moisture intrusion.
I have discovered evidence of moisture intrusion inside homes (when it was raining) that would not have been apparent otherwise. I recommend that you consult with a grading and drainage contractor. Please go to"Maintaining Your Foundation", where I have explained (in more detail) about perfect exterior conditions.
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I want to thank you for the home inspection you did for us at 144 Avis Ave. in Dracut MA. We did not get the house because the home owners did not want to split the cost of fixing that wall. I had gotten two estimates, one from a landscaper and one from a Mason. Both gave an estimate of $15,000.00, for which I am grateful for your inspection and pointing out the wall problem. It would of been an undue burden on us, not to mention I am also grateful about the radon testing also. I just got the results today and they came back at 7.5 and 8.4, so that would of been another expense. I do hope that when we find a new house that you will be able to do our home inspection. Your fee was a drop in the hat, to what it would of cost us to fix the wall and then the cost of venting the basement. My husband was also very impressed with your report and how well it was written. Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know what happened, and hopefully will be doing business with you again very soon.
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