Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Issues to Look Out For During Seattle Home Inspections

When buying a home, never skip the home inspection. Here’s what you need to look out for when getting a home inspection done.

Roofing issues

If you’re purchasing an older home, keep in mind that the roof’s material covering ages over time, making issues like water intrusion more likely. Moreover, shoddy repairs and poor installation can cause roofing to age prematurely.

Cleaning, repairs, or a full replacement may be necessary depending on its age and overall condition.

The lifespan of a roof depends largely on the material. For example, asphalt shingles can last anywhere from 15 to 40 years. Over time, asphalt shingles will start to curl, cup, blister, and show signs of granular loss, which is the result of the deterioration of the bond between the granules and asphalt that make up the material.

Wood shakes and shingles display similar signs of wear and tear as they age. The material may show signs of splitting, lifting, rotting, insect damage, and hail damage. There may also be missing sections in the roof.

Concrete, slate, and terra cotta tiles, meanwhile, have a life span of 20 to over 100 years depending on care and maintenance. Made of brittle material, exposure to the elements may cause expansion and contraction that will eventually crack or dislodge the tiles.

Some of the more subtle signs of damage and aging are difficult to spot from ground level. To get a better look at the overall condition of the roof, the inspector must climb up and use binoculars.

 Grade sloping

Proper grading is crucial to protecting a home from water damage. With proper grading, there is enough allowance to direct water away from the home, and away from its foundation.

Water that pools or runs toward the sides of a home’s foundation walls is often a sign of grading issues. The consequences of poor grading include water draining towards house, which in turn causes excess moisture and makes for musty, damp, and moldy basements or crawl spaces.

Stucco issues

When applied correctly, stucco surfaces can last for many decades. But when sidewalks, stoops, and concrete patios get poured too high, burying the weep screed, or the wall component that turns water away from the structure, water may seep through the walls.

If the inspector sees that the weep screed has been buried into the concrete, it’s often a sign that the home suffers from water intrusion and damage.

 Oil tanks

 Older homes in Seattle and nearby cities were heated with oil before the transition to natural gas and electric heating. If you’re purchasing a home that has an unused underground oil tank, it needs to be decommissioned to prevent oil contamination in the soil and ground water.

Aside from the danger of contamination, these tanks corrode over time before finally collapsing, which can create a sink hole in the property.

In Seattle, oil tank removals are performed with proper permits from the Fire Department. However, permits were not required before 1997, so ask the seller for any records of the oil tank’s decommissioning.

To find out if there is an underground oil tank in the property, there ought to be clues in the basement, such as:

  • Cut oil lines that protrude from the floor or walls
  • Oil stains in and around the furnace
  • A fill cap in the yard

If the inspector thinks that there might be an oil tank on the property, but is unsure of its location, you can reach out to oil tank removal companies. These companies will survey the yard, often using metal detectors to find buried fill caps.

 When buying a home in Seattle, Puget Sound, or Northwest Washington, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, the Metropolist Group. Contact us at 206-623-5118 or [email protected] for professional guidance.


Photo by Andreas Weiland on Unsplash