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Thursday, 03 May 2007

So you've seen the house of your dreams and you want to buy it?

Four years ago we bought the house of our dreams, it was spick and span, freshly painted.  Yay! we thought, we won't even have to paint for the new few years, we can just move in!

Uh-huh! That winter the rain came down and so did a ceiling in one of the downstairs' bedrooms.  That marvellous paint job had successfully hidden from us a multitude of defects.

I asked Frikkie from Inspect-A-Home how one can avoid that sort of pitfall when buying a house.

The answer is an inspection report by a qualified inspector.

Frikkie sent me a comprehensive and detailed report of an inspection he recently completed for a potential buyer of a great-looking property in a wonderful estate.

These, says Frikkie, are just a couple of the things on the External Inspection Report he picked up during the inspection and his recommendations.


Broken Roof TilesThis plastered house has a hipped roof covered with multi-coloured Double Roman type roof tiles and tapered ridge cappings. The ridge capping mortar has cracked and in places the mortar has already come away from the ridge cappings. The ridge cappings need to be stripped and re-mortared and all joints waterproofed to prevent water ingress. Debris on the roof tiles needs to be removed; retained storm water can lead to damp issues.

Broken roof tiles were observed below the satellite dish and need to be replaced.

Butt jointed valleys clog easily causing rainwater to dam up and overflow the valley iron with consequent water damage to the interior. The valleys are littered with mortar and bird droppings, which inhibit the flow of water. We recommend the valleys be monitored and cleaned regularly.

The edges of the rafters are water stained and needs to be treated as part of regular maintenance.

No gutters are fitted.

Broken Roof TilesThe wooden window frames are encapsulated in the plastered windowsills, which are not according to the manufacturers specifications, this is a poor practice. Cracks have already developed between the wood and plaster allowing moisture penetration. This does not facilitate all the water to run off and will cause the window frames to deteriorate and rot as water ingress takes place. The plastered windowsills revealed hairline cracks, which will exacerbate the problem. There is no easy way to remedy the situation, but to remove the existing brick windowsills and re- install them as per the diagram.

The back edge of the sill brick must be cut back to be able to fit well under the window frame. The front edge of the wooden sill must be at least 30 mm above the brick, which will allow enough space for the plaster. Some wooden windows have a drip notch as shown, which ensures that water drips off the wooden sill rather than run underneath the frame. The base of the wooden window must NOT be covered with plaster. With the DPC laid correctly as shown, water ingress is prevented.

That, folks, was just part of the External Inspection Report, you still had to read the Internal Inspection Report.  It really is a case of caveat emptor!

Broken guttersFortunately all of these defects could be quite easily remedied but at least the buyer knew beforehand what he was buying and the seller was able to remedy some of the problems before the purchaser took possession thereby saving him quite a bit of money!

Please contact Frikkie if you are considering buying a house, he will put you in touch with an inspector in your area.

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or you can get Frikkie's contact details here.  

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