Of The Most Common Home Problems
1) Improper Surface Grading and Drainage. By
far the most frequent problem. It is responsible for
the most common household aggravations, including water
penetration into the basement or crawlspace. All basements
will eventually leak.
2) Improper Electrical Wiring. A number
of respondents found this to be a significant defect.
This includes such situations as insufficient electrical
service, inadequate overload protection, and amateur
(often dangerous) wiring connections.
3) Roof Damage. Ranked third, leaking roofs
are a frequent problem. This is caused by old or damaged
shingles or improper flashing and drainage.
4) Heating Systems. Defect items in
this category include broken or malfunctioning controls,
blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust disposal.
5) Poor Overall Maintenance. A common problem
with all homeowners. Signs of poor maintenance include
cracked, peeling or dirty painted surfaces; crumbling
masonry; makeshift wiring or plumbing; and broken fixtures
Structurally Related Problems. As a result
of problems in one or more other categories, damage
is sustained by such structural components as foundation
walls, floor joists, rafters and window and door headers
Plumbing. Though not ranked as a number one
problem, plumbing defects still rank high. This includes
the existence of old or incompatible piping materials,
as well as faulty fixtures and waste lines.
Exteriors. Flaws in this category, such as
windows, doors and wall surfaces, rarely have structural
significance but may pose discomfort to the occupants
due to water and air penetration. The most common culprits
are inadequate caulking and/or weather-stripping.
Poor Ventilation. In an effort to save energy,
many homeowners have "oversealed" their homes,
resulting in excessive interior moisture. Significant
moisture can lead to rotting and failure of both the
structural and non-structural elements.
Miscellaneous. This category includes interior
components (often cosmetic in nature) which were so
infrequent that they did not rank individually in the
This information is provided for your general interest
and is not intended to be technically exhaustive. Please
consult a professional inspector or contractor to obtain
an assessment of your particular situation.
Please understand that varying climates, age and loction
of the home, etc, have a bearing on the ranking of these
defects. Frequency of defects vary from location to