Nashville Inspector’s Top 10 Discrepancies on Home Inspections

2012 Top 10 Most Common Home Inspection Discrepancies in Nashville

10.  Vegetation encroaching on the house.  Vegetation that encroaches on the home can damage the home, trap moisture against the home, and allow a path for insects, rodents and reptiles to enter the home.  Keep vegetation at least 18” away from the home or components.

9. Window or door trim caulk.  Cracks or gaps in the caulk around door and window trim can allow water to penetrate behind the trim.  This water can deteriorate the trim and the framing near the doors and windows.  Any crack or gap in the trim or caulk should be repaired with new caulk and paint.

8.  Brick veneer stress cracks.  These cracks are most likely located near the corners of doors and windows, or at the down-slope corner of the home.  Brick veneer cracks are frequently an indication of water management failure.  Repair any crack in the brick veneer that exceeds 1/8 inch in width.

7.  Roof penetration boot cracks.  The rubber-like neoprene component of roof penetrations (roof boots) for plumbing vents can crack after about 7 years and cause roof leaks.  Use of caulk is only a temporary repair.  These cracked components need to be replaced.

6.  Condensate drains.  HVAC condensate drains that terminate at the foundation wall can allow significant moisture to accumulate at the foundation wall and possibly enter the crawl space.  Condensate drains should terminate at the exterior of the home, at least 18” from the home, and to terrain that slopes away from the home.

5.  Grading and lot drainage.  The grade of the soil adjacent to the home can allow moisture to flow toward the home and weaken the foundation or enter the crawl space or basement and create an environment conducive to mold.  HABITEC recommends at least a 6” drop in grade over the first 10’ of horizontal space from the home.

4.  Failing roof drainage systems including gutters, downspouts and extensions.  Gutters that are full of debris, rusted or poorly sloped can allow water to overflow and drop to the foundation wall or backflow into the attic or house.  Downspouts that are disconnected from the underground drainage components can allow water to drop at the foundation wall.  Make sure these components are clean and function properly.

3.  Inadequate crawl space moisture barrier.  Some moisture will inevitably make its way to the crawl space.  Having a crawl space moisture barrier of 6 mil plastic covering 100% of graded crawl space soil that slopes to a positive drain will help control moisture that does make its way to the crawl space.

2.  Water in the crawl space. Water in the crawl space can cause either structural failure if allowed to pool at the foundation walls or around the piers, or mold to start growing on the wood components.

1.  Crawl space mold.  Moisture allowed to accumulate inside the crawl space can lead to mold in the crawl space.  Forty percent of the air that enters the home comes from the crawl space.  Mold can be hazardous to your health.  Make every effort to prevent moisture accumulation in the crawl space.

Richard Acree

Nashville Home Inspector- What’s Wrong with this picture? 11-28-12

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Look at the picture below.  You are standing in a garage of a residential home looking up at the ceiling of the garage.  What’s wrong?

HINT:  High humidity and cool ductwork can make for a sweaty situation.

DSCI0379 (2)

ANSWER:  Sweaty indeed.  In this case the ductwork in the garage was installed right over where the cars parked.  So guess what happened during the hot steamy months of summer.  Condensation.  Lots of it.  Enough that the home owner took matters into their own hands.  Rather than improve the insulation on the ductwork, they just bagged it.  What you are looking at is plastic hung under the ductwork to catch the condensation as it drips off.  Not sure where it went from there, maybe they just let it build up and later evaporate.  Whatever, this installation qualifies for a “non-conventional” grade and a visit from the local HVAC technician.  Surely there is a better way to fix this problem.  Another picture of a similar fix in the same garage is shown below.

DSCI0381 (2)

Thank you,

Richard Acree


Get a Grip, Nashville!

Nashville Home Inspection – What’s Wrong With This Picture?  10-19-12

Look at the picture below.  Do you know what’s missing?

missing handrail

HINT:  Try to get a grasp on things.

ANSWER:  It looks nice enough, doesn’t it?  New paint and all.  But let’s count the steps.  I count 5, when you include the last step up to porch.  So what is missing?  How about a “graspable handrail”?  A graspable handrail is recommended any time the number of step risers is 4 or more.  So you might say they have it in the 2×4 handrail on the left, right?  Not really.  There is a very specific definition of a “graspable handrail”.  In fact it is so detailed it is best to show you a picture.  Please see below.

The International Residential Code (IRC) rules are mostly in place now.  The handgrip portion of the graspable handrail shall not be less than 1 1/4  inches or more than 2 inches in cross sectional dimension, or the shape shall provide an equivalent gripping surface.  The handgrip shall have a smooth surface with no sharp corners.  Handrails projecting from the wall shall have a space of not less than 1 1/2 inches between the wall and the handrail.  The handrail should be continuous and should return to the wall or the rail at the ends.  So the basic idea of a graspable handrail is something you can wrap your fingers around.  That is why a 2×4 does not work.  Think about the very young and the elderly.  On any step system, but certainly on one with steep steps or with uneven step risers, they need a graspable handrail that is firmly mounted to help them up and down.

To comment or ask questions about this article please email

Thank you,

Richard Acree


Do you know the Top Reasons for Hiring HABITEC?

Do you know the Top Reasons for hiring HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC for your next Inspection?

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