"Fundamentals of Inspecting the Exterior" online video course

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Essay assignment for “Fundamentals of Inspecting” Exterior
Having completed the course except for the final, I was struck by a few things in the curriculum. First is the high probability of being sued eventually, as the instructor had said, I believe if I do complete and accurate job, have a well written contract with the disclaimers that are needed, incorporate for the corporate veil, and have a good E and O and a good liability policy, I should be OK. Being the litigious society we are my guess is that the home inspector would be the common scapegoat when something goes wrong or the deal goes south. Secondly throughout my training so far the only thing that I am not fully understanding are foundation cracks. Being a licensed electrical contractor and having been an investor in real estate I have a good working knowledge on most of the systems in residential housing especially single family, however I’m not fully grasping the causes of foundation cracking, what I mean is I know what conditions may make them crack but how do you know which one is making the crack on any one particular case. The size, direction, proximity to the frost line, moisture penetration etc?? Also if the building is finished settling is it of any concern. Will this be something that will become obvious to me with experience or should I find more study materials.

For the “Inspection & Writing assignment”:

Cracks in a sight barrier on the side of a home. The exterior should be maintained in a sealed condition to prevent pest and moisture issues. Recommend a professional in stucco exteriors to qualify potential damage as well as the possible need for reapplication.

[ATTACH]frenchdoor[/ATTACH] on the west side of the house there was found exessive rust at the bottom of the french door. The wood trim also has paint peeling,although the wood is not damaged yet it is in need of maintance. The door its self is beyond simple maintance and should be replaced.

2 story brick veneer with lumber shrinkage issues. Bricks stay in one spot and windows go down with shrinkage of lumber. Casement windows would not open with the extreme pressure on the bottom of the units. Brick contractor did not compensate for this when laying the brick. Seen it happen on single story homes too. Not enough gap left at bottom in particular. Caulking on brick veneer happens when building, and then again in a couple of years. Always use backer rod and hour glass shaped bead of caulking.

I chose Stairway Inspections and Inspecting a Deck:
Much involved here to get them built properly and inspect all that needs to be inspected. Beyond the obvious, ledger boards need to be flashed at the top and the bottom of the board. Rarely see it on the bottom. I watch for aluminum flashing in contact with treated lumber–that’s a no-no–the chemicals will eat up the aluminum flashing and it’s exacerbated the more water that makes contact.
Rare to find a handrail the proper width. 2x6 outside seems to be what is popular, but in IN it can only be 2 7/8’s wide maximum. Open risers more than 4" is usually a problem encountered. Irregular riser heights is a biggy. Usually see this inside at the top step or the bottom step or at the landings. Can’t be more than 3/8’s difference in flight of stairs. Your body and legs/feet will feel it when it is off. Guard rails weather outside and flop around, and invariably there is more than a 4" gap between spindles where they attach to the house.
Shouldn’t really have DIY’s build decks above grade. Even many contractors don’t know all the codes. I found galvanized nails you could pull out with your fingers that looked like a 1" long spear, due to highly corrosive chemicals in the treated lumber (both the old and new treated lumber). Spend plenty of time inspecting decks and stairs. Know the standards and keep everyone safe, including the inspector.

While doing my extior inspection I noticed alot of moss around the windows. After taking a closer look I could see that the window trim was installed incorrectly causing water to puddle up around the sill of the window. this is un safe and would need to have the futher inspection on the wall it’s self if it was still structually sound then you would just need to replace vinyl trim.

Article assignments
I read the article it was about the future retirieng citzens of a America. There are an over whelming amount of homes that are going to need to be more handicap accessible. There are many ways to make a home more handicap accesable such as handle rails in showers, motion light at the front entry, and glass or clear cabinets.


In this photo we see some cracks in the driveway. Even though is not that big of a problem i would get the cracks filled and/or resolve the problem.

This picture demonstrates gaps in the space between the soffit and fascia underneath the roof where insects and moisture can penetrate the house. This would be notable on an inspection report as a maintenance issue. These gaps should be sealed with caulk to improve the integrity of the soffit system.

Tree Dangers

Trees planted too close to the home can ultimately be a risk to the integrity of the home. Roots can penetrate cracks in the foundation or cause uplift when they grow over time underneath the foundation. Underground pipes are also at risk of damage from large trees planted too close to the house. When planting trees try to make sure you have enough distance from the house to create room for the tree to grow over time without potential damage to your home.

Window Falls

Safety related issues are important during a home inspection. Informing your clients of potential risks related to window falls might be an important consideration depending on the type of home your inspecting. Screens are not enough to keep children safe and are only used to keep insects out during ventilation. It important to let your client know to keep windows with risk of potential falls closed and locked when not ventilating the home. Sometimes horizontal bars over the window may be necessary if the window is high off the ground.

Today I am starting the “Fundamentals of Inspecting the Exterior” course

on an exterior inspection I found that the window sill was split wide open. it is a concrete sill and the rebar had rusted and split the concrete open causing water to enter thru the cracks in the concrete.why rebar in the sill? Who knows but it’s really stupid and causes a lot of work for no reason.Use fibercrete it costs a little more but ends up costing less when you figure out the cost of rebar and the labor to install it. you also will never have to go back and knock it out and replace it again.:smiley: here is the window sill after being replaced. It all goes back to what my grandfather said to me years ago.
Do it once do it right and move on to the next job.:mrgreen:

reading the article on carpeted bathrooms it was mind blowing I did not know that anyone was that stupid. all you are going to get from that is bacteria and mold growth
bad smells and a health hazard.Horrible idea at best.

AS part of an exterior inspection I documented trees close to the home and the electrical service overhead wires. The tree branches are hanging over the roof and causing a build up of growth on the roof that can be seen in the right lower corner of the roof. There were also numerous pine needles collecting in on of the valleys of the roof and a small branch on the roof. I took a few pictures of this condition as upon first inspection the tree limbs appeared above the wires and one small branch was noted touching the wire. The proximity of the trees to the home and the wires could possibly cause damage to not only the home but the service wires as well. Recommend hiring a licensed contractor to address these safety concerns.

The two Articles I read for the required reading were “Tree Dangers” and “Window Well inspections”

As part of my inspection for this course I noted tree issues with closeness of branches to the roof and wiring but there are also several other concerns noted in the article to be aware. While tree roots cannot normally penetrate through a building’s sound foundation they can enter through existing cracks. The article also notes that roots can grow under foundations and cause issues by lifting of the foundation. Here in my area of Florida we have numerous pine trees. These pine trees have very shallow roots that grow horizontally and cause significate damage to sidewalks and driveways.

The window well Inspection article covered many items from previous courses, namely the need for egress but it also covered other issues such as the need for proper drainage. As window wells need to be a minimum of 9 square feet this is a rather large area that could accumulate water and possibly cause water intrusion into a home if is does not drain properly. An item to be especially focus on in addition to the specifics of the window well itself is the grading and drainage flow around and away form any window well. In the past I have seen a downspout near a window well that typically drained away from the well but a large amount of fall leaves blocked and diverted the water towards the window well causing water to enter into the basement below.

The picture attached was taken during the exterior inspection of a home in Clermont, FL. You can see obvious roof and shingle damage that has been patched with roofing tar. The roof should receive immediate attention from a professional roofer. Also items to note, the door on the left, there is rotting at the bottom of the door. Also note the beginning of water damage on the lower door casing of the door at the right.

Read an article on Aluminum Siding and the benefits and downfalls that come with using aluminum as a wall covering. It is great to have an exterior wall covering that has a long lifespan, it also has the potential to dent or scratch, and also needs to be repainted every 5-10 years. Aluminum siding is certainly an option but certainly needs to be compared to other cladding prior to making a final choice.
Also read an article on Drones in Home Inspections. Drones would be an amazing tool in a home inspection, limiting the safety concerns of the home inspector climbing on the roof. But it also creates a risk if the drone were to fall from the sky or if the inspector loses contact with the drone. It will be interesting to see how laws and regulations change with the FAA in the next couple years and how these drones begin to impact the home Inspection Industry.