Photo Gallery

The following photos are taken from actual home inspections. Not all defects are obvious at first glance so a description has been added to the side for your benefit.

Roofing

This deteriorated flat roof, next to good looking shingles, is why we make every reasonable effort to physically get ON a roof. If this house had only been inspected from the ground, this costly deteriorated roof and amateur flashing between the shingles and flat roof would not have been discovered before it was too late for the purchaser.

This is a BAD location for a roof vent. This downspout will be pouring all its water at the vent, which could end up leaking into the house if there is enough water flow.  Alternatively, an extension could be added to the downspout so it discharges its water directly into the lower eavestrough.

These tree branches are too close to the roof. Apart from the possibility for them to physically damage the roof.  They can be used by squirrels, raccoons etc. to get on the roof and into the attic or chimney of this home (see previous picture).  Tree branches should be pruned at least six feet away from a roof to allow good ventilation and hinder animal access.

Exterior

These rusting propane tanks, which are required to be at least ten feet from any opening in an exterior wall (Note the kitchen window in the top right of the picture) These tanks should be replaced (because of their rusting condition) and relocated immediately (too close to the kitchen window) for safety sake. These tanks are also supposed to be on a stable base, like concrete pad or patio stones etc.

This picture of an interlocking stone walkway up to the front door of this home illustrates a relatively common error with this type of installation. The interlocking stone has been installed at least 12 to 15 inches above the  home's original brickwork. Not only does it commonly cover the weeping holes in the brick work, which are necessary to ventilate excess moisture from behind the brick, but it also can hold large quantities of moisture against the brickwork. In this case, as is common, the bricks are clay. Clay bricks are vulnerable to rapid deterioration from water saturating the brick and then freezing inside the brick. This freezing water literally bursts the clay brick to pieces. That is why it is so important to NOT cover bricks when doing interlocking stone anywhere near a home.  This home shows some visual evidence of spalling bricks. The extent of the damage can only be determined by removing the interlocking stone and digging down to the lowest bricks on the house. It can be quite costly.

The damage to this chimney would be almost totally concealed by the vines in the summer. This November picture allows the inspector to more clearly examine the chimney.  (Look closely and you can see the notable damage) Vines and extensive greenery close to, or against, a house is not really a good idea because they can hold a lot of moisture next to the bricks and/or woodwork. This level of moisture can do an awful lot of  damage to the house while the vines or greenery  conceal the damage until it is quite extensive (and expensive).

Structure

This foundation pier block that is sideways (ribs/holes visible) can burst and fail without notice.  A block is strongest when the solid edge is visible at the side.  This is a safety concern that should be corrected immediately.   The pier in the background has its blocks aligned correctly.

The sagging siding on this garage back wall suggest significant structural movement has taken place. A qualified specialist will be needed to determine the extent of the problem and suggests possible remedies. Correction could be quite costly.

This rotting wooden support post is a notable structural item to be replaced. It should be replaced in the very near future as it will simply rot to the point where it surrenders its load as it deteriorates. As it does this, the floor and walls above it will settle relatively quickly, usually accompanied with notable plaster cracking in the walls. It can get expensive in a short period of time.

Interior

This basement renovation in progress was being done without a vapour barrier. All the drywall had to come off so the vapour barrier could be applied - To avoid moisture/mould/mildew developing in the walls.

This third floor window at these stairs needs a railing to protect against someone falling through the window three floors to the concrete walkway between these homes. The window is a standard thermal window. It is not a plate glass window. The railing should be installed in front of this window immediately, for safety and legal liability sake.

This gas fireplace vent goes through a closet filled with combustible clothes. Obviously, no consideration was given to fire safety or the welfare of the homes occupants. It is supposed to be contained inside a properly spaced enclosure. This installation needs to be correctly and safely completed by a qualified specialist, immediately.

Electrical

The wires shown in this picture are the incoming electrical service cable at the top of the hydro mast on this house. The connections on the power lines are supposed to covered with a proper insulating material. This semi exposed connection is so close to the bare ground/neutral wire that it is obviously arcing across (probably in rainy weather only) and pitting the ground wire. If these two wires ever touch each other, (say, in windy weather)  they will short and burn through each other, giving off a light show that the neighbours will remember for a long time and this house will then be out of power, possibly along with half the neighbourhood. The local hydro utility should be called in to correct this problem. Since it is the local utility's responsibility for the service cable connections at the top of the mast, there should be no charge to the homeowner for this urgent safety correction.

This picture is of knob and tube electrical wire. It was used in pre 1950 homes and will, if still active, attract insurance issues regarding price and even availability.

This house had a new electrical panel installed a few years ago. Unfortunately, the service cable conduit was not fitted with a box connector to properly connect it to the electrical panel. The conduit has moved back a bit leaving the service cable rubbing on the electrical panel casing. Should the wires ever short to the panel, there is a very real possibility of fire or electrocution. This item needs to be corrected immediately, for safety sake!

Plumbing

This picture is of galvanized water supply piping. This piping is rusting and could leak any time. Galvanized pipe can attract insurance issues regarding price and even availability.

This plumbing pipe is leaking sewage gas inside this home. (which explains the not so funny smell in this basement)  It should be capped immediately, for safety sake. Sewage gas cannot only sicken people in the home but, in the right concentrations, it can be flammable and explosive.

The blue basin in this picture was not placed there by coincidence. It is catching the water that was leaking from the plumbing under this sink. At least, it was helping keep the kitchen cabinet from deteriorating. Obviously, this leak should be fixed immediately.

Heating

This chimney has had a basement gas fireplace added to it (bottom left). It already had the furnace and water heater connected to it. The chimney was not originally designed to handle all THREE connections. The concern here is the danger of carbon monoxide spilling back into the house if all three appliances (furnace, water heater & fireplace) operate at the same time. This installation should be reviewed and corrected by a qualified heating specialist - NOW for safety.

Metal chimneys typically rust from the inside to the outside. The inside can collapse inward 'choking' the exhaust off, which then can leak potentially deadly carbon monoxide gas inside the home. This is a serious safety concern which should be addressed immediately by a qualified specialist.

This is a set of very cleverly concealed pipes for a buried heating oil tank. This tank could not be inspected without an expensive excavation. Buried oil tanks can leak oil resulting in brutally expensive environmental cleanups.

We wish to acknowledge CanSpec Publishing, for permitting us to use  the above photos in our gallery. Step By Step Home Inspection Services exclusively uses the Home Report, a detailed and comprehensive home inspection guide published by CanSpec Publishing.