August 2016: Garage Inspections

Ask The Inspector

Q. Will my home inspector inspect the garage? What will he check in the garage?

Ask The Inspector

A. Whether attached or detached, garages have many of the same components as the home itself. Many garages are wired for electricity. They have windows, doors and structural elements, including in many areas, special safety and security precautions required for walls shared with the residential structure to prevent fire or potentially dangerous gases from traveling from the garage into the residence.

For these reasons, attached or detached garages and carports are part of a general home inspection. The inspector will assess the condition of the floor, walls, electrical components, doors, windows and structural elements. The inspector will also check for proper installation of any garage door openers or safety switches. The exterior, including the roof, siding and gutters or downspouts will be inspected for signs of damage and material used. A current condition evaluation of all these items becomes part of the inspector’s final report, a useful tool for the homeowner to keep on hand for continuing maintenance purposes.

Carports are another part of a National Property Inspections assessment of a property. Common in certain areas, carports are composed of a roof and supporting columns. They may be attached to the home on one, two or three sides, or completely detached.

Be Advised

Make sure your SUV or truck will fit in the garage of your new home.

Knowing the size and dimensions of vehicles that need to fit into a garage should be considered when shopping for a home. Seven-foot garage door openings are standard in many suburban developments. Many SUVs, vans and trucks popular today reach over six feet tall.

Be Advised

In older developments, garages may be even smaller. Depending on the type of door, space available and the height of garage ceilings, chains, belts, or rollers may be used to allow the door to move up and down. These, along with garage door opener equipment take up more space.

The door itself may be made of large or small sections that allow it to fold or roll up into the ceiling. It may also be a single piece that must tilt out before sliding up, or have the space to slide sideways. Other doors fold along vertical lines and slide to the sides. All of these options impact the way the door can be used and what types of vehicles may fit in the garage. Use a tape measure with a small step stool for larger vehicles to calculate the length and height of the vehicle, or go online. Some websites for buying and selling cars provide research information outlining the specifications of each vehicle.

Snapshots From The Field

What’s Wrong With This Photo?

Snapshots From The Field

  1. This is called a “concealed” downspout. It gives the outside of the house that “un-cluttered” look.
  2. This is called the maintenance-free downspout. You never have to worry about maintaining it or cleaning it out.
  3. Someone forgot to connect the downspout.
  4. The downspout is behind the wall.

Correct answer: D. It looks like there is no downspout there, when in fact they put it inside the wall. That’s okay isn’t it? When the day comes that it starts to leak, and it will, someone will be tearing the wall apart outside to fix it.

Maintenance Matters

Driveway Maintenance and Repair

Water and weeds wage war against driveways every year. Water seeps under hard surfaces and erodes softer surfaces. Small cracks, created by the water, are prone to weed growth. If not treated, small cracks will soon become larger cracks.

Maintenance Matters

If water is cutting rivers through a dirt or gravel driveway, address the drainage issue first, then fill the cracks. For potholes, the same is required. For the best results, start by cutting the edges of a pothole straight down. Add fill material. Tamp down. Add more fill and tamp until the resulting layer is slightly above level. Drive the car over the spot several times until level.

Crack repair compound, cold patches and sealer for asphalt driveways are available at most home repair stores. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for best results. For deeper potholes, you will need to use a fill material and tamping methods above to fill the hole to a level where the cold patch asphalt will work. Avoid attempting asphalt repairs when rain is expected within 24 hours.

No matter what driveway maintenance project you want to tackle, having the right tools and equipment makes the job much easier. If you are dealing with severe cracking, you may need to call a service technician for further assistance.

Did You Know?

Ceiling fans make a room feel cooler

Ceiling fans circulate air, buy they do not ventilate a room or lower the temperature. They simply create a draft. That draft, or air movement over the skin, provides a wind chill effect on our bodies, making the room seem cooler. This can allow a person to set the cooling temperature on the air conditioner higher, reducing energy bills and possibly prolonging the life of the cooling equipment.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan with an air conditioning system will allow most people to raise the thermostat temperature setting about 4 degrees without a reduction in comfort. Raising the temperature is what creates these savings, not installing and running the fan. For more energy savings, turn fans off when exiting a room. Furniture can’t “feel” the wind chill effect.

For best efficiency, consider the type of lights in the ceiling fans when purchasing. The fan itself may only be used part of the year; many times lights are used every day. A single bulb can be more efficient than many bulbs and fluorescent lights are far more efficient than incandescent.

Monthly Trivia Question

How much did American business magnate Warren Buffet pay for his house in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1958?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.