Featuring some of our favorite photos of home inspection issues from 2019…

One of the most common questions people ask us is, “Can a home fail an inspection?”

No. A professional inspection is simply an examination of the current condition of your house. It is not an appraisal (which determines market value.) It is also not a municipal code inspection (which verifies local code compliance.) A professional inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house. Rather, the inspector describes its current condition and reports those items that are deficient.

The following photos illustrate a variety of home inspection issues found in 2019 (some are common and some are not so common.) However, all of these photos are examples of a home inspector’s documentation to help the client make informed decisions.


Home Inspection Issue #1: Evidence of Previous Foundation Repair

Foundation repair home inspection issue    Evidence of foundation repair   

Evidence of previous foundation repair work is not necessarily a bad thing! In this case, the seller disclosed that the foundation work had been done when the home was listed. The seller also supplied an engineer’s report, and transferred the foundation warranty to the home buyer.

Home Inspection Issue #2: Grading and Drainage

Standing water next to house home inspection issue     Standing water in yard

Speaking of foundation issues… On a different home, the inspector observed that grading and drainage patterns around some areas of the house did not appear to properly direct water away from the foundation or provide adequate foundation exposure.

Moisture and Foundations

Moisture is one of the biggest issues that can weaken and compromise a home’s foundation. When water collects around your house from rain, ice/snow, or burst pipes, the saturated soil around the foundation expands and shifts. Subsequently, the pressure on the foundation walls increases and results in cracks and leaks that allow water to penetrate the foundation. This water penetration may then cause electrical hazards, mold growth, and structural damage to the house.

Home Inspection Issue #3: Water INSIDE the Glass on Sliding Patio Door

Water inside patio door home inspection issue

On this inspection, the inspector observed approximately 1-1/2″ of water INSIDE the sliding door to the patio. Where did this water come from and how exactly did it get there? Was it the result of flooding? Is there a leak or a bad seal somewhere in the door? For a buyer, this is important information to have as it may indicate a much bigger issue.  

Home Inspection Issue #4: Possible Mold on Sheet Rock at Vent

Possible mold around vent home inspection issue    Possible mold or mildew at vent

In this case, the inspector observed a dark mildew or mold-like stain on the sheet rock ceilings in several rooms in the home. A standard home inspection does not test specifically for mold. Therefore, the inspector recommended consulting with the appropriate specialist to determine if the substance is hazardous and the best course of remediation. Here’s a helpful article about mold inspections from Molekule – “Mold Inspection 101: How Much it Costs and When to Get One.”

Home Inspection Issue #5: Gaping Hole Through the Roof

Hole through the roof home inspection issue

Here’s a great example of why an inspection is so important. Most home buyers are not going to mount a ladder and crawl around 30 feet off the ground to get a good look at the roof. But an inspector will! Water penetration through this hole had not yet manifested as water damage to interior walls or ceilings… But it most likely would have eventually.

Home Inspection Issue #6: Flex Plumbing Lines

Flex plumbing line home inspection issue    Flex plumbing line under kitchen sink

We see these flex plumbing lines in homes fairly often, but they are NEVER a good idea in this application. These lines are designed to, well, FLEX. The major problem with them is that they collect the dirt and grime that’s supposed to flow down the drain. Consequently, the accordion-like sides are great for slowing down the flow of water and letting the gunk pool and settle. These flex lines are not an approved connection device. Thus the inspector recommended that they be replaced with the correct plumbing drain lines.

Home Inspection Issue #7: Missing Handrail and Guardrail

Missing guardrail home inspection issue    Missing handrail

Stairways with four or more risers or rising more than 30 inches must have a guardrail at the opening. (Can you imagine stepping off the side of that fifth step in the first photo? Ouch!) Also, continuous handrails are required on at least one side of flights of stairs with four or more risers. This home was missing both the guardrail and continuous handrail. For more information about stair requirements and guidelines, read this informative previous post.

Home Inspection Issue #8: Damaged/Missing Shingles and Inadequate Chimney Flashing

Bent and curled shingles home inspection issue    Missing Shingles on roof

At the home pictured above left, the inspector observed bent, curved, and/or damaged shingles. For the photo above on the right (at a different home), the inspector observed an area behind the chimney where shingles were missing entirely! Your roof’s covering materials (shingles, tiles, etc.) offer the only weather shielding your house has to sustain severe weather, heat, cold, and moisture. If damaged or missing roof shingles aren’t fixed quickly, your roof and home can sustain permanent damage.

Inadequate flashing home inspection issue    Flashing is missing

At the same two homes mentioned above, the inspector also observed that the flashing for the chimney was damaged or not sealed properly (photo above on the left) or observed that the flashing for the chimney was completely missing (photo above on the right).

Why is chimney flashing important?

This Old House explains that flashing is “the sheet metal that keeps the intersection between the chimney and roof watertight.” In their article ‘Leakproof Flashing’, they continue, “Proper flashing around a chimney includes two layers. The first is called step flashing: Sections of L-shaped sheet metal are woven into the shingle courses and lapped up the side of the chimney. Next comes the counterflashing: A second layer of metal is embedded in the chimney mortar joints and folded down to cover the top of the step flashing… No matter which material is used, it must be layered correctly if water is to be kept out.” 

Home Inspection Issue #9: Clothes Dryer Lint Build Up in Vent Pipe

Lint build up home inspection issue

At this home, the inspector observed excessive lint in the vent indicating a possible blockage. Consequently, the inspector recommended professional cleaning of the duct system prior to further use. 

Did you know…

How often should you clean out your clothes dryer vent? The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that you clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months!

Home Inspection Issue #10: Electrical Panel

Wrong color wire at panel home inspection issue    White wire in electrical panel

In the photos from two different homes above, the inspector observed a white wire coming off one of the breakers. Current building standards state the “hot” leads can be any color except white or green so as not to be confused with neutral and ground wires. Sometimes, the electrical panel may be just the first sign of underlying wiring or electrical issues.

Home Inspection Issue #11: Previous WDI (Termite) Treatment

Previous termite treatment home inspection issue

Sometimes, evidence of previous wood-destroying insect (WDI or “termite”) treatment can be easily seen. Sometimes, the only way you will know about a previous termite infestation is to ask the seller or seller’s agent. To buy a house with termite damage, do so only after you have paperwork from the termite company stating that the house now has a termite warranty.

Home Inspection Issue #12: Exterior Wall Visibly Leaning Inward

Wall appears to lean inward home inspection issue

At this home, the inspector observed one of the exterior walls near the front walkway was leaning in. (Note the bricks are tilted backward at an angle and the trim appears not to match up.) All houses settle with age. And part of a home inspector’s job is to report on the current condition of a home’s major structures and systems, including the foundation and walls. In this case, due to this and other foundation concerns, the inspector recommended evaluation by a structural engineer.


SafeShield Inspections Provides Clients with a Complimentary Home Maintenance Tool

SafeShield Inspections, LLC gives every client their own HomeBinder. HomeBinder allows you to organize and save all related home information in a convenient online application.

From storing paint colors to getting maintenance reminders, HomeBinder will help get your home ownership off to a great start. The tool will help ensure you have all the details you need in the future right at your fingertips. Best of all, we’ll get it setup for you to minimize the effort to begin managing your greatest asset.

Although you’ll probably not think about selling for some time, when you do, your HomeBinder will help with buyers, your accountant and the appraiser. We will give you lifetime of ownership access to HomeBinder Homeowner Edition (otherwise $12/year) as part of your inspection. You can learn more at www.homebinder.com.

Don’t forget to schedule your Annual Home Maintenance Inspection!

Even the most vigilant homeowner can, from time to time, miss small problems or forget about performing some routine home repairs and seasonal maintenance. That’s why an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection will keep you aware of your home’s condition and help you prevent it from suffering serious, long-term, and expensive damage from minor issues that should be addressed now.

Just as you regularly maintain your vehicle, consider getting an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection as part of the cost of upkeep for your most valuable investment…your home.

Your future deserves the attention of a professional. If you have questions or would like more information on a Home Maintenance Inspection, please contact Micah Stephens with SafeShield Inspections, LLC at (832) 953-6992 or email Micah@SafeShieldInspections.com. CLICK HERE for a free quote.


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Alli Stephens is a marketing and communications professional who works to ensure the highest level of service for clients. Alli believes that a wise customer is an informed customer, and she knows that a home inspection provides clients with important details about the current condition of a home.