Most Common Problems with New Homes
Why Should You Have a New Home Inspected? Read and See.

Here are the most common problems found with new homes.

 1.   SITE WORK: Improperly compacted backfill and fill present around the foundation. All backfill and fill should be placed in 6" to 8" layers and tampered for proper compaction. This could allow items like the driveway, sidewalk and front porch steps to settle. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 406.3.4)

 2.   Grading does not slope away from the foundation. Lots should be graded to drain surface water away from the foundation walls. The grade away from the foundation walls should fall a minimum of 6" within the first 10 feet. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 401.3 &406.3.5)

 3.   Grading might hold ground water. The code requires all drainage to be diverted away from the yard. Surface drainage shall be diverted to a storm sewer conveyance or other point of collection. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 401.3) 

 4.   Foundations with improperly compacted fill. Could probe under the footings. Fills which support footings and foundations shall be designed, installed and tested in accordance with accepted engineering practices. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 401.2) 

 5.   No vapor barrier present for a concrete slab. This could allow water or moisture problems in the basement. A vapor barrier is required under all interior slabs except garages. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 505.2.3)

 6.   Improper wall bracing for a 1 or 2 story structure. The corner exterior walls are missing proper bracing. Exterior walls shall be braced at each corner and at least every 25 feet with approved structural sheathing or 1x4 let-in braces or approved metal straps diagonally tied from the bottom plate to the top plate. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 602.9)

 7.   FRAMING: Improper wall bracing for a 3 story structure. The corner exterior walls are missing proper bracing. All exterior corner walls shall be braced at each corner and at least every 25 feet with a minimum of 48" of approved structural sheathing. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 602.9)

 8.   Exterior windows and doors do not have properly installed flashing and weep holes at the brick. Flashing is required above all doors and windows installed in brick and prevents water from soaking behind the brick running into the structure. Without weep holes to drain the water to the outside, flashing serves no purpose. Flashing and weepholes are required at all brick shelf angles over all doors and windows. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 703.7.4 & 703.8) 

 9.   Exterior wood not properly protected. Some of the exterior wood has open joints which will allow moisture to enter and will cause deterioration. Some of the paint is peeling off the wood trim. The trim may not be properly primed to bond the paint to the wood. Proper caulking and painting are needed. All exterior walls shall be covered with approved materials designed and installed to provide a barrier against the weather. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 703.1) 

10.   Exterior wood siding trim not properly caulked or sealed at the brick or concrete foundation walls to prevent water and moisture from damaging the wood. Water will run behind the wood and cause deterioration. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 703.1) 

11.   Some of the exterior cement siding has recessed nails. Recessed nails lose their holding strength in fiber cement siding. All manufacturers require the nails to be flush and not recessed. The recessed nails should be caulked and another flush nail installed next to it.  (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 108.1) 

12.   Exterior openings in the structure are not sealed. This will allow air leaks into the structure. All exterior joints in the building envelope, that are sources of air leaks, shall be caulked, gasketed, weather-stripped or otherwise sealed in an approved manner. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 1004.1)

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13.   Chimney height is not tall enough. This could be a potential fire hazard. All chimneys shall extend 2' higher than any portion of roof within 10' and at least 3' higher than the roof penetration. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 1004.1)

14.   Roof shingles have toe board nail holes present. Toe boards are walk boards the roofers use. Any holes in the shingles could turn into a roof leak. All shingles with holes should be replaced or sealed with a sealant that will last as long as the shingles. Roof shingles shall provide a barrier against the weather to protect its supporting elements and structure beneath. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 901.2)

15.   Roof shingles are missing roofing felt at the sheathing along the eaves. This protects the roof sheathing. Slopes of 4 in 12 or greater, one layer of felt is required over all of the roof decking. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 902.2)

16.   Step flashing is missing at sloped vertical walls. Some of the roof flashing at the vertical walls is continuous flashing. Flashing prevents water from entering at the intersection of the wall and the roof. Continuous flashing was used successfully for many years. However, step flashing is a far superior method of flashing and is required for all roofing. Flashing against a vertical sidewall shall be the step-flashing method. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 903.6)

17.   Deck footings are smaller than the minimum allowable size of 12" x 12". See Figure 403.1a, note #5 and Table 502.3.3b. Footings shall comply with Section 403. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 325.5)

18.   Deck footings do not extend 12" below grade. All footings must be below the frost line. In no case shall exterior footings be less than 12 inches below grade. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Figure 403.1a, note #1)

19.   Deck stair handrail is not the correct size. Handrails that are 2x4 or larger are too large to be used for handrails since they cannot be gripped. Handrails shall have either a circular cross section with a diameter of 1 1/4" to 2", or a noncircular crosssection with a perimeter dimension of at least 4" but not more than 6 1/4" and a largest cross section dimension not exceeding 2 3/4". Edges shall have a minimum radius of 1/8". (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 315.2)

20.   Exterior deck is missing properly installed flashing. Flashing prevents water from entering behind the deck and into the structure. Flashing is required where decks attach to a wall or floor assembly of wood frame construction. Exterior balconies, decks and porches shall be flashed in accordance with section 703.8. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 325.2.1)

21.   Some of the roof framing has ridge beams that are too small and do not extend to the bottom of the rafters. The ridge must extend down to the bottom of the rafters to properly support the rafters. The ridge shall not be less in depth than the cut end of the rafters. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 802.3)

22.   Roof purlin supports, supporting the rafters, are double 2x4's which are not the proper size. The purlins should be single 2x6's turned perpendicular to the rafters which are stronger and less expensive than flat 2x4's. Purlins shall be sized no less than the size of the rafters they support.  (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 802.4.1)

23.   Some of the rafter purlins support post exceed 48 inches apart. Additional support post are required to properly support the purlins. All rafter purlins must be braced every 48 inches to a load bearing wall or support. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 802.4.1)

24.   Some of the rafter purlins are spliced between the support posts. Support members are not allowed to be spliced without additional support installed. All purlins should be spliced directly above a support post. Purlins must be continuous between braces. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 802.4.1)

25.   Roof framing support members have "V" joint or bird mouth splices that are not properly reinforced or supported by a support post to a load bearing wall below. All load bearing beams must be supported at any splice. Roof framing shall be capable of supporting all loads imposed and shall transmit the resulting loads to its supporting structural elements.  (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 801.2)

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26.   Attic is missing floor from the end of the attic stairs to the furnace. This makes it dangerous to climb over the stairs to access the flooring at the furnace. All attics must have an unobstructed, floored passageway 22" wide x 30" high to the furnace. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 1401.5) (2000 Standard Mechanical Code 306.3)

27.   Attic insulation certification card is missing. This is required to verify the attic has the proper amount of insulation. The insulation installer shall provide a signed and dated certification for the insulation installed, listing the type of insulation, the manufacturer and the R-value. (1995 CABO Model Energy Code Sect. 102.1.2)

28.   Attic insulation thickness markers are missing. One thickness marker is required every 300 s.f. of floor area. The thickness of roof/ceiling blown insulation shall be identified by the thickness markers. (1995 CABO Model Energy Code Sect. 102.1.3)

29.   Attic insulation is not deep enough. Sometimes the insulation settles and is not deep enough. The insulation installer certifies the minimum thickness of the insulation. (1995 CABO Model Energy Code Sect. 102.1.2)

30.   Attic is missing firestopping at an open chase. A chase is an opening in the attic floor that could allow a fire, from the story below, to enter the attic. All openings in the attic floor need sealing with drywall. Firestopping is required at each floor, at the attic floor and at all roof penetrations.  (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 602.7)

31.   Basement ceiling needs firestopping around all pipe penetrations. Firestopping prevents a fire from spreading to different parts of the structure. Firestopping is required at all openings around vents, pipes, ducts, chimneys and fireplaces at ceiling and floor levels, with noncombustible materials. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 602.7)

32.   Doors and windows are missing shims and anchors along the jambs. All doors and windows need shimming along the jambs (sides) and proper anchorage for a proper installation. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 108.1)

33.   Bedroom windows not large enough to be used for an emergency exit. Each bedroom shall have an operable window with sill height no more than 44" above the floor. Minimum clear height of 22" or minimum width of 20". The net clear opening shall be 4 square feet. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 310.2)

34.   Fireplace has wood trim within too close to the opening. Wood to close to the opening is a fire hazard and could catch fire. Woodwork or other combustible materials shall not be placed within 6 inches of a fireplace opening. Combustible material within 12 inches of the fireplace opening shall no project more than 1/8 inch for each 1 inch distance from such opening. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 1003.10)

35.   Fireplace gas starter valve is not accessible while lighting the starter. This allows a dangerous build-up of gas before being able to light the burner. Fireplace gas starters must be within 4' of the valve. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 2606.4)

36.   Step heights or tread depths are not the proper size. These are potential trip hazards. The maximum allowable step height is 7 3/4". The minimum allowed depth of the tread is 9". (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 314.2)

37.   Step heights or tread widths vary in a flight of stairs. The different step heights or widths could be a trip hazard. Risers (heights) and treads (widths) may not vary more than 3/8". (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 314.2)

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38.   Stair tread nosing or overhang extends too far over the step below. The edge of the steps could break with the grain of the wood allowing someone to fall down the stairs. The maximum allowable overhang is 1 1/4". (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 314.2.1)

39.   Top basement step is not deep enough. Sometimes the oak flooring overhangs the top tread too far. This is a potential trip hazard. The minimum allowed depth of the tread is 9". (314.2) The maximum allowable projection or nosing is 1 1/4". (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 314.2.1)

40.   Stairs are missing a 36" deep landing at the bottom of the stairs between the bottom step and the door. Any flight of stairs that are used for an emergency exit must have a landing at the bottom before opening a door. A minimum of 3 foot landing shall be required on each side of an egress door. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 312.1)

41.   Door to the basement is missing a door sweep and weather-stripping. Unconditioned air can enter the conditioned space. Any opening from a conditioned space to a non-conditioned space must be weather-stripped or sealed. (1995 CABO Model Energy Code 502.3 & 602.3)

42.   Basement ceiling height is too low. Basement ceiling ducts are too low and will prevent installing a ceiling at the proper height. Habitable shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet 6 inches. Furred areas shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet.  (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 305.1)

43.   Garage floor does not slope enough to prevent liquids from running under the walls. Flammable liquids could run under the walls into the structure and be ignited by the basement furnace or water heater. That area of floor used for parking of automobiles or other vehicles shall be sloped to facilitate the movement of liquids to a drain or toward the main vehicle entry doorway. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 309.3)

44.   Garage furnace and water heater gas piping is not protected from possible impact. An automobile could hit the piping and cause a gas leak. The pipe must be protected from possible impact. (2000 Standard Gas Code 305.4)

45.   Ground fault circuit interrupter electrical outlet is missing at a wet location. Any electrical outlet located in the bathrooms, kitchen counter area, unfinished basement, garage or on the exterior of the structure that can be reached from the ground, must be GFCI protected. (1999 NEC 210-8(6)) 

46.   Ground fault circuit interrupter electrical outlet is missing at a sink. Any electrical outlet located within 6 feet of a sink or basin must be GFCI protected. (1999 NEC 210-8(b)) 

47.   No heating and air conditioning damper system present to balance the heating and air conditioning. A two story structure  with a single heat and air conditioning system, will find it difficult to balance the heating and cooling. A readily accessible manual or automatic damper system shall be provided to partially restrict or shut off the heating and/or cooling input to each zone or floor. (1995 CABO Model Energy Code 503.6.3 & 603.3.2.1)

48.   Furnace ductwork not properly sealed to prevent air leakage in nonconditioned areas. Sometimes the duct insulation is sealed, but the actual ducts are not sealed. All ducts must be sealed at the furnace and at the register boots. All joints shall be securely fastened and sealed with welds, gaskets, mastic adhesives, mastic-plus-embedded-fabric systems or tapes. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 1401.5)(1994 Standard Mechanical Code 304.4)(2000 Standard Mechanical Code 306.3)

49.   Attic furnace does not have the required working platform in front of the furnace for servicing. This makes it difficult to service the unit or change the filter. A working platform, 30" deep with a clear headroom of 30" high, is required along the control side of the furnace.  (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 1401.5)(1994 Standard Mechanical Code 304.4)(2000 Standard Mechanical Code 306.3)

50.   Range is missing anti-tip brackets on the rear feet to prevent tipping over. All manufacturer's supply anti-tip brackets with all free standing ranges to prevent tipping. A heavy object such as a turkey can be placed on the open door causing the range to tip spilling hot liquids from the burners. (1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code, Section 108.1) 

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