When we do home inspections in and around Melbourne, Fl we get asked some of the same questions. Most of which can be summed up with what is important. Honestly, that varies from homeowner to homeowner. We can certainly help you decide what is important but everyone’s situation is different. Some people are handy and can easily fix small items, while others will never go near their roof of touch electrical systems. The only way to decide what is important to you is to have a discussion.
Important to your home include; what will cause damage or make the home unsafe. Many of those items can range urgent to needing attention in the future. A roof leak is important but in the dry season, it really will not cause any further damage, while an electrical problem could be an immediate concern. Plumbing leaks certainly can be a huge issue and can certainly vary in importance. When someone has an air conditioning issue the speed at which a homeowner wants repairs can certainly be determined by the time of the year.
Water issues from roof leaks can be a problem and ultimately the severity of the problem should be assessed. A small leak at the fascia is certainly not urgent but a large leak over a critical living area might require emergency repair. Most roof leaks in a home go unnoticed for months if not years. That is why many are found during inspections.
Plumbing is what keeps our houses clean. The water is used for cleaning everything in a home. The wastewater needs to be quickly removed to prevent illnesses. Plumbing leaks can range from a small drip to a disastrous pipe bursting. The water heater is probably the most dangerous item in your home, not only can it leak but it has the power to destroy your home. Mythbusters did a whole episode (Shown in part here) about it. While it is fun to watch on TV you would want to be sure that nothing like this ever happened in your you. Here is a new story (http://youtu.be/d5-L3JtjtD0). Additionally, water can cause problems such as decay and mold. The occupants belonging can be damaged as well.
Most of us are accustomed to having the air in our homes conditioned. We simply set the thermostat and we get heating and cooling. This also dehumidifies(during cooling), this is what makes the home feel better in Florida. Without a properly working air conditioning system, our home could not only be uncomfortable but prone to mold and moisture problems. The system could even be new but leaky ducts, improper draining, or improperly sized unit and sever problems could develop. Oversize systems are known to create moisture and mold issues in hot and humid environments.
Electrical issues vary from outdated components to downright dangerous situations. Having a system that meets many of the current safety requirements can possibly save a life. Adding Ground Fault circuits and Arc-fault circuits is a great way to make a home safer. Most homes do not meet the current standards and we shouldn’t expect them to since they change every few years. We can plan upgrades as needed. Other items like overheating or improper electrical connections are more urgent. Having breakers that work and are properly sized is important and often missed with an upgrading of other systems. Pool pumps and other equipment around pools can be especially dangerous and easily overlooked. We find issues all the time with the pool equipotential bonding (South Florida).
Other safety issues include garage door openers, slip, and fall hazards, as well as a myriad of other issues, should be taken into consideration. Finally, knowing about your home may not be enough, there are different requirements for loan types and insurance. Your home will have to meet those requirements as well as your needs. Unfortunately, those requirements vary with companies and are subject to change. We do many home and insurance inspections including four-point inspections in the Melbourne area, let our experience help you. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Having a new roof put on is a big expense and there are many different types of roofs to consider as well, such as: shingle, tile, metal, or even concrete. This post will strictly cover WHEN you should get a new roof, but after you find your answer be sure to click here for our post on what type of roof you should purchase! Also, at the end of this post, I will give you a quick reference sheet for roof life expectancy.
From an inspector (unbiased) point of view, I like to look at a few main points to find out if you need a new roof. They are:
- Is the age or roof damage affecting your homeowners’ insurance?
- Do you have roof leaks? (Note: plural)
- Have you had two different professional opinions on your roof’s life expectancy?
We like to get as many years as we can out of a roof, so if the roof can last another year, why not go for it, right?
Tackling the first question, there are certain cases where an insurance company will request an inspection on your roof. In Florida, they typically like to see at least THREE years left of roof life and no active leaks for them to insure. The reason being is to prevent liability if a hurricane were to hit or a possible claim on insurance due to roof leaks. Therefore, if you cannot receive insurance, you need a new roof.
Secondly, do you have roof leaks? One roof leak is not a big issue as a roofer can repair and you can move on. However, if you seem to have several roof leaks it is a sign that your roof covering is worn out. Moreover, the expense of multiple repairs is a bit larger considering you might even have several new ones arise. Ultimately, if your roof has multiple leaks and is near the end of its expected life, then it is time to pay for a new roof.
Lastly, we always recommend you receive multiple opinions about your roof even from inspectors! It is just like going to the doctors and then picking the treatment that seems most reasonable to you. Keep in mind, if you have a roofer come out to inspect your roof, their interest can be in selling a new roof. Due to this, we always recommend an inspector help you decide on roof replacement with estimates of repairs versus replacement.
According to the InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNachi):
Shingles (Three-tab): 10-12 years
***Honor sees them last about 14 years on average, but 10 years is a good mark for you to be on the look out.***
Shingles (Architectural): 15-20 years
***Honor sees the average being 17 years***
Tile: 80 years
***Tile roofs can vary as they depend on the underlayment and installation. Tiles themselves can last 80 years, but regular maintenance should be completed.***
Metal: 20 years
***Honor sees Metal roofing lasting longer if you keep up with regular maintenance, but is not recommended near salt water and may not be covered by warranty.***
Modified Bitumen: 10 years
***In our area, the average age is 12-15 years. This type can be coated every couple years to extend the life, but you should note this can sometimes void the warranty, cause problems for insurance, or other issues.***
The above are estimates ONLY! They can greatly be affected by your location in reference to the beach, hurricane season, and the manufacturer. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance!
We do many inspections and some homes and people are more prepared for the inspection than others.
You should be ready for the inspector to go through your home, looking in every corner and checking all of the home’s features. Preparing ahead of time by clearing areas and fixing simple items can go a long way to making everyone feel better about the inspection and the sale of the home. (more…)