By, Elizabeth Jeanne Wheeler
A sunny early March day is the perfect time to give your home’s exterior an inspection because your view will not be obstructed by leaves and flowers. Also, the relative “brownness” of the surrounding grass and vegetation acts as a flat palette, allowing you to see more clearly. The hour or so that you invest in this activity could save you thousands of dollars in future repair costs.
Before you begin, gather together these items: notebook, pen, binoculars, camera, a key, and a rock or small hammer. Begin at the front or back of the house and work your way around.
First, examine the roof (here’s where the binoculars come in handy) and ask yourself these questions:
• Are there any missing, broken, or warped shingles or tiles?
• Does the roof look lumpy or bumpy?
• Are there a lots of mineral granules on the roof?
• Any pools of water?
• Is the roof sagging?
• How’s the flashing around the chimney or steep-sloped areas? Is it sagging or wobbly?
Then, take a look at the chimney, ask, note and photograph:
• Is the chimney leaning?
• How are the bricks? Have any fallen out?
• How’s the mortar?
Next, with your binoculars, look at the gutters, parapet (if applicable) and cornice, and note:
• Are there any missing, loose, rotted or debris-filled gutters?
• What condition is the paint on the cornice?
• What condition is the parapet? Has water damaged it or is there a potential for this to happen?
Now, bring your gaze down and take a look at the walls, windows and doors. Note and take pictures of any concerns. Here are some questions to ask:
• Is decorative woodwork firmly in place and tightly caulked to prevent water damage?
• What shape is the paint in? Is it peeling, curling, blistering or chalking?
• Are there any loose, cracked or missing clapboards or shingles?
• Do I hear a hollow sound when I knock on the brick with the rock or small hammer?
• When I take the key and run it along the horizontal mortar between the bricks, do white flakes fly?
• If the brick has been painted, is it time to repaint to assure that the brick is not damaged by water?
• Is there any water damage on window sills and any horizontal brick, stone or masonry areas?
• How are the windows and doors? Any broken glass?
• Do windows and doors fit properly?
• Is any of the wood rotted?
Finally, look at the bottom of the house and ask yourself these questions:
• Do any bushes, trees or vines need trimming?
• Can water drain away from the house?
• Any signs of cracking in the foundation walls?
Elizabeth can be reached through her website, historicgenie.com.