15 Home Issues You Shouldn't Ignore
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A Sagging or Warped Floor
Standing Water in the Yard
Missing or Damaged Roof Shingles
Scary Sounds From the HVAC
Plants Encroaching on Your Roof or Walls
Shrubs and trees planted too close to your house can trap moisture, damage siding when the wind blows, and fill gutters with debris. “I want to be able to walk behind shrubs — they need to be at least three feet from the house and from air conditioning units because they block airflow,” says Steve Gladstone of Stonehollow Fine Home Inspection. “With trees, you don’t want them rubbing against the house at all. If the sun can’t dry your house, you’ll have to repaint more often because mold and pollen will build up.” Prune regularly to keep your house envelope clear.
Climbing vines like ivy, although beautiful, can splinter and rot wood siding and even weaken the mortar between bricks. Prune any existing ivy so that it stays away from windows, gutters and trim. If your heart is set on adding a climbing vine, choose a twining vine that wraps around a trellis or other nearby structure rather than a vine that climbs by tendrils or rootlets that cling to the surface of your house.
Smelly or Gurgling Drains
Investigate any unpleasant smells or noises coming from your bathroom sink drain, says Frank Lesh, owner of Home Sweet Home Inspection Company in Indian Head Park, Ill. Gurgling may be caused by a blockage you can remove with a snake or plunger. If a sink is smelly but you don’t use it frequently, the water in the U-shaped pipe underneath may have dried out, allowing methane gas into the room. Try pouring a quart of water down the drain and airing out the room for a couple of hours. If the smell goes away, Lesh has a simple fix: pour a teaspoon of vegetable oil down the drain, which will keep the water from evaporating and should solve your problem.
But if smells or noises persist, call a plumber to investigate your vent pipe. It may have become blocked by debris or nesting animals.
Condensation on Basement Pipes
A Sagging Roofline
Poorly Built Decks
Shaky Stair Railings
Peeling Paint (Inside or Out)
If paint is peeling on the exterior of your house, sun and water can damage the wood underneath. Frank Lesh of Home Sweet Home Inspection Company recommends scraping down to bare wood, priming and allowing the primer to dry before applying new paint. “Paint at the right time of day, which is after the sun has faded away from the area you’re painting,” he says, “because sun evaporates the paint material too quickly.”
Peeling interior paint is an issue if it’s peeling off in rough squares, like an alligator’s skin. That’s a sign that lead-based paint is underneath, so if the area is large or if you have small children (who are very susceptible to damage from lead poisoning), consult a professional about removal.