Taking Care of your House

Home Inspector with Massachusetts Home Inspections MA. License#566 NH Lic#49

The easiest way to take care of your house is to keep unwanted moisture away from the exterior, particularly the foundation, and out of the interior, particularly the attic, closets, and interior ceilings. This typically means little or no watering next to your foundation. This typically translates into no high-water-use plants next to your foundation. (What's a high water-use plant? Typically they are big plants, tropical plants, and plants that have large foliage or lots of flowers.) I recommend regular monitoring and maintenance of the exterior roof, walls, and foundation to include the structural and mechanical components attached to them and all interior walls and floors under any upper stories.



Home ownership! It's not easy being a homeowner, and there will be many things that become problems while you own your home in which you will need to spend money to resolve. I recommend proactive preventive maintenance rather that after-the-fact reactive repair. To that end, throughout your inspection report you may read certain recommendations of homeowner monitoring and maintenance. This means that things will fall apart or become problematic if you don't take care of them periodically. Some items will need to be monitored and maintained Daily - (plumbing fixtures, basement, etc.), Monthly - (GFCI outlets, etc.) or Annually - (roof, water heater, fireplace, gas-using appliances, etc.). You're investing a substantial amount of money in your home. Please take care of it or hire professional service contractors to continually take care of it for you.



Grading and drainage are probably the most significant aspects of a property, simply because of the direct and indirect damage that moisture can have on structures. More damage has probably resulted from moisture and expansive soils than from most natural disasters, and for this reason I am particularly diligent when I evaluate property conditions. In fact, I compare all properties to an ideal. In short, the ideal property will have soils that slope away from the house (not towards or leveled out) and the interior floors will be at least several inches higher than the exterior grading. Also, the house will have gutters and downspouts that discharge into area drains with catch basins that carry water away to hard surfaces.

If there are no gutters in place, rainwater heads right for the weeping tile around the basement and can overload your foundation drainage system causing a flooded basement. The land around many homes settles over time, and then slopes in toward the foundation. If your foundation grading slopes inward, you'll want to fill in and grade the lot so you have at least 6 feet out from around the entire foundation. Ultimatey, you'll want all foundation grading always sloping away from your house.

If a property does not meet this ideal condition, or if any portion of the interior floor is below grade, I will not endorse it, even though there may be no evidence of moisture intrusion.

I have discovered evidence of moisture intrusion inside homes (when it was raining) that would not have been apparent otherwise. I recommend that you consult with a grading and drainage contractor. Please go to"Maintaining Your Foundation", where I have explained (in more detail) about perfect exterior conditions.



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Massachusetts Realtors-Ask a Home Inspector
maintaining your home
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drainage around your home

Comments 11 New Comment

Dale Baker
New Hampshire Relocation and Views Info Blog
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections

Howdy David

You have gave folks some fine info on doing basic maintenance for their home.

Have a good one


December 23, 2007 08:38 AM
Bill Gassett
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate
RE/MAX Executive Realty
Dave - Good advice. It always amazes me that so many people do not take care of their homes and allow problems to develop when they could have easily been prevented.
December 25, 2007 08:37 PM
Erby Crofutt
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com)

A lot of people just don't know any better.  They need to "Get Educated" but most choose not too!

They don't seem to understand that a home needs regular maintenance just like  a car does.  But then some of them don't take care of their car either.

Ah Well.

December 31, 2007 06:25 AM
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspector
Massachusetts Home Inspections

You are absolutely correct, Mr. Crofutt.


We see this situation everyday. I can't say it enough, how important it is to keep roof water away from the house foundation. With the homes that I inspect, 90% of them need some sort of drainage upgrade in order to keep water away from their foundation.

December 31, 2007 06:50 AM
Richard Acree
Home Inspections - Nashville TN
HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC
great pics
January 03, 2008 09:01 PM

David Valley

Massachusetts Home Inspector
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Additional Information

Very interesting information for all Massachusetts and New Hampshire Home Buyers and Sellers. I continuously post home Maintenance suggestions and Infrared (Thermal) Imaging technology information. Real Estate Agents can also learn from my periodic postings.