Home Inspection Articles

The Most Vulnerable Areas on a Roof – It Pays to Keep an Eye Out!

Posted by Olivia Hunt on Sep 4, 2012 12:33:00 PM

describe the imageJust like the old saying goes “All you need is a roof over your head”. But a leaking one? No homeowner wants to experience that issue.  By taking a few minutes to check out your roof from your driveway, you can minimize the risk of leaks and water damage to your home.  

So what should homeowners look for? There are two particularly vulnerable areas on a roof:

1. Where the roof changes direction – Think of where the roof meets your chimney or a wall. On a properly installed roof, these areas are flashed. Flashed indicates that there is material (such as galvanized steel, tin or aluminum) joining dissimilar materials on your roof. 

2. Where two or more flashings intersect – for example where a chimney occurs in a valley (Usually roof rolling is used as the flashing in this case)

In addition to these two items, homeowners should look for worn, cracked, split, loose or missing components of the roof.  Also important to watch out for are things that obstruct the flow of water off sloped roofs like skylights and chimneys. Click here to see our photo of vulnerable areas on a roof.

Roofing can be damaged by foot traffic, hail, raccoons or other animals and should be regularly inspected by a professional. Localized repairs are often an option, but as a general rule, when more than 10 to 15% of the roof requires repairs, it is best to replace the roof covering.

It’s important to know that roofs do not last forever. As roofing materials grow old, they lose their ability to keep water out of the house. Asphalt and wood roofing cracks, curls and shrinks. Wood roofing rots or burns through from the sun. Shingles or tiles may fall off as the materials or fasteners deteriorate. However, by knowing the signs of potential problems, you can have a professional complete necessary repairs or replacements without the major costs associated with serious water damage.

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Topics: Home Reference Book, Home Inspection, Homeowner Tips

Checking your Downspouts Can Save You Money & Frustration

Posted by Olivia Hunt on Aug 29, 2012 9:08:00 AM

How to Take Care of Your Gutters and Downspouts to Prevent Water Damage


A typical two-storey house has three to four downspouts that help with discharging water away from your home. Water penetration is the number one issue consumers face with their home which is why we place so much emphasis on educating homeowners on this item. For a small investment of $50 or less, downspouts can help to protect your home by keeping water away from the foundation thus avoiding the potential for costly repairs.

 The most common problem with gutters is leakage. Leakage will occur with galvanized gutters as they rust through. Holes can develop in copper gutters as well. All gutters are prone to leakage of the joints and seams. Missing end caps and poor connections to downspouts are other common sources of leakage.

Homeowners should ensure that both gutters and downspouts are clear of debris. Deflector screens are sometimes installed to prevent leaves and twigs from getting into the troughs, but these rarely work well. Too often they become loose and fall out, and can sometimes make cleaning those troughs more difficult.

Downspouts collect water from the gutters and discharge it into drains or onto the ground. Underground drains become clogged or break below grade. If an underground downspout malfunctions, water problems will likely develop in that part of the basement. There are two options in this scenario:

  1. Exterior digging and repairs
  2. Disconnecting the downspout and redirecting it to discharge away from the house. This is much faster, cheaper and easier to monitor

Downspouts should discharge above grade onto the ground at least six feet from the home, click here to see a proper downspout installation. The slope of the ground in this area should be away from the house, to direct water away from the basement.

Helpful tips such as these are provided through Carson Dunlop’s Homeowners Association. Carson Dunlop is committed to helping our clients make good decisions on their homes. We understand that a great Home Inspection is just the beginning, which is why we provide the tools and resources to help our clients maintain, repair or renovate their home. To learn more about Carson Dunlop’s Homeowners Association, please click here.

Topics: Home Reference Book, Home Inspection, Homeowners Association, Homeowner Tips

How Proper Grading Can Prevent Water Damage

Posted by Olivia Hunt on Aug 28, 2012 4:23:00 PM

GradingProper lot grading is an important consideration when dealing with wet basements. Home owners should know that no foundation wall system is completely waterproof. Water accumulating in the soil outside the building will usually leak through eventually.

The secret is to keep the soil outside the building dry. If the ground around the building slopes so that surface water runs away from the building, soil close to the foundation is dry and the basement is far less likely to leak.

The theory is simple. If there is no water in the soil on the outside of the foundation wall, no water will get into the interior. Most wet basement problems can be eliminated or dramatically reduced with good grading and proper performance of gutters and downspouts.

The ground around the home should slope down six inches for the first ten feet away from the home. This can often been done by adding topsoil. Helpful hint - don't use sand or gravel! To view our illustration on proper grading, click here.

So check around your house today and make sure you have proper lot grading. It will prevent you the headache and cost of water damage in the future. These helpful tips come from Carson Dunlop’s Home Reference Book. For more information click here.

Topics: Home Reference Book, Home Inspection, Homeowner Tips

How to Prevent Water Damage

Posted by Olivia Hunt on Aug 27, 2012 12:00:00 PM

More Than 90% of Homes Will Leak at Some Point

Basement LeakageWhile April showers bring May flowers, North America sees a lot of rain in August. High humidity and temperatures often cause heavy rainfall, storms, and flash flooding. Many homeowners are blinded by the sunny skies of June and July, and don’t realize that this weather can translate to basement dampness and water damage.

Preventing water leakage saves lots of time, money and frustration.  Homeowners can take steps to reduce the chances of leaky basements, even during periods of heavy rain. There are four preventative measures to reduce the frequency and severity of water damage:

Grading – Ensure all grading is sloped to direct water away from the house and foundation. Click to see our helpful image that relate to grading from our Home Reference Book.

Gutters – Ensure all gutters and downspouts are in good condition to discharge rain water from roofs at least six feet away from the house.  Click to see our helpful image that relate to gutters.

Roof – Ensure roof surfaces drain water off of the house (focus on damaged or missing shingles, loose or missing roof flashings). Click to see our helpful image that relates to roofs.

Window Wells – Ensure they are clear of debris and in good condition. They are a common source of basement water leakage. Click to see our helpful image that relates to window wells.

90% of homes endure some form of water leakage. The preventative measures described above will help keep you high and dry.

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners stay warm, safe and dry. A Home Inspection is not a life-long guarantee; it reduces but does not eliminate the risk of problems and provides you with the knowledge and information to maintain and protect your home.

This week we will cover grading, gutters, roofs and window wells in detail so you can learn how to prevent water damage. Stay tuned for more information by joining our blog email list or following us on twitter!

Topics: Home Reference Book, Home Inspection, Homeowner Tips