DAK Home Inspections, Inc. - Exterior Inspections









The exterior of the building includes; siding, trim, gutters and downspouts, stoops, decks, balconies, patios, grounds and related items. DAK Home Inspections, Inc. will carefully inspect each of these items, not only for its condition, but how it relates to the dwelling. Defects in exterior components such as the siding or windows can greatly affect other components of the home. The primary purpose of the exterior of the building is to protect the interior components from the weather.




Structural     Exteriors     Roofs     Plumbing     Electrical     Heating & Cooling     Interiors





Siding                   Siding

The siding of a home is the “skin”, or outer most visible facing, on the building. The siding on your new home is one of the most important and possibly expensive components. In addition to making the house looks better, it, along with the roof, is the primary method of keeping the weather outside, where it belongs. The type of siding is selected based on desired appearance, longevity, maintenance, and cost. There are many siding types such: as vinyl, stucco, brick, aluminum, wood, stone and synthetics. Each material has advantages and disadvantages which require different maintenance procedures and involve different cost factors. Your inspector will identify the type of siding and explain the normal maintenance requirements of each type as well as the existing defects.


Vinyl Siding


Vinyl Siding                  Vinyl Siding

One of the most popular forms of siding installed on new homes and used to refinish existing homes is vinyl siding. Usually installed with planks, vinyl siding is durable, easy to install and very low maintenance. Your inspector will look at the installation quality carefully, making sure the planks are not to tight which can cause buckling and that all areas are finished and secure to prevent water penetration. A good installation of vinyl siding has a very long life expectancy and allows for easy installation of additional insulation on older homes under the new vinyl.


Aluminum Siding


Aluminum Siding                  Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding first began appearing on homes in the early 1960s. This new product occasionally experienced corrosion, especially in areas of high humidity or salty ocean winds. Aluminum siding is still used today, but is not nearly as popular as vinyl. Aluminum planks can dent easily and are difficult to replace. Dark colors tend to fade in the sunlight. This type of siding does last indefinitely, but may wear cosmetically. Cosmetic repairs to aluminum siding can be costly and difficult.


Wood Shingle Siding


Wood Shingle Siding                  Wood Shingle Siding

Wood shingles and wood shakes are a very popular form of siding throughout the country. If maintained properly, an installation of this type can last many decades. Wood siding does require ongoing maintenance such as staining and replacement of worn or loose shingles. The installation of the water proof barrier under the siding is crucial to protecting the exterior wall sheathing. Wood shingle siding is a more time consuming and expensive installation when quality materials are used. Your inspector will be carefully examining both the quality of the material used on the installation, which greatly affects the life expectancy, as well as the current condition of the siding. Minor repairs or worn shingles can be replaced easily and inexpensively provided that the areas are not too large.


Wood Plank Siding


Stone Foundations                  Stone Foundations

Traditional horizontal lap siding goes by many names. It's known as clapboard siding in much of the East and as bevel siding elsewhere. Whatever you call it, it is one of the most popular and durable exterior building materials. Indeed, you'll find it in excellent condition on American homes more than 250 years old. Though long-lived, wood siding isn't all that tough. That's because it's usually milled from cedar, redwood or pine - softwood species that are easily cracked or gouged if struck by a ladder, falling tree branch or line drive. Another common problem: The boards tend to split if nailed too close to the end or edge, or if too many nails are used. This type of siding requires ongoing maintenance and your inspector will be checking carefully to see if the siding has been properly maintained.




Brick                  Brick

Brick is a durable and appealing installation used throughout the world. When installed and maintained properly it has an unlimited life span. Most modern installations use a veneer type of installation rather than solid brick. Veneer installations are a single row thick and tied to the home with metal ties. Solid brick installations found mostly on older homes are two rows thick held together with a bond course visible to the inspector. Your inspector will look carefully for proper installation, maintenance, and type of installation. Masonry siding installations such as brick or stone must have weep holes to allow moisture to escape. A common mistake of an unskilled craftsman or homeowner is to cover them or leave them out of the installation. This can cause extensive hidden damage to the protected building components.




Stone                  Stone

Stone siding is perhaps the oldest siding material used in residential construction. Found on many older homes, it is still used today on mostly small portions of the exterior to add to the cosmetic appeal of other building materials. Primarily only older homes have complete stone siding installations. Stone work must be inspected carefully for settlement and water penetration. The joints, made of cement mortar, wear over time and must be pointed or repaired to prevent such occurrences. On newer veneer installations, the stones are attached to the building with metal ties that keep the walls vertical and secure. There are many varieties of stones used for siding. Stone siding is expensive to install and almost always requires the work of a skilled craftsman to repair if required.


Cement Stucco


Cement Stucco                  Cement Stucco

Cement Stucco is durable and appealing siding installation. It can be installed directly onto cement blocks or over wire lathe. Cement stucco should not be confused with EIFS. It is not nearly as prone to the type of water damage associated with synthetic installations. Cement stucco can be prone to cracking and surface damage. Your inspector will identify whether or not your perspective home has a real cement stucco installation and the condition it is in.


Synthetic Stucco (EIFS)


Synthetic Stucco (EIFS)                  Synthetic Stucco (EIFS)

Synthetic stucco, often referred to as EIFS, consists of a polymer based laminate that is wet-applied, usually in two coats, to rigid insulation board that is fastened to the wall with adhesive or mechanical fasteners, or both. Polymer based (PB) systems, sometimes known as thin coat, soft coat, or flexible finishes, are the most common. The base coat for PB systems is usually only 1/16 in. thick and finish coat thickness is typically no thicker than the maximum sand particle size in the finish coat. While the PB skin repels water very effectively, problems arise when moisture gets behind the synthetic stucco and is trapped inside the wall. Trapped moisture eventually rots insulation, sheathing, and wood framing. It also corrodes metal framing and metal attachments. There have been fewer problems with EIFS used over solid bases such as concrete or masonry because these substrates are very stable and are not subject to rot or corrosion. Polymer modified mineral based (PM) exterior insulation and finish systems are sometimes known as thick coat, hard coat, or rigid finishes. The mineral base is Portland cement, while the polymer is usually an acrylic. PM systems have greater impact resistance than the PB systems, but are typically less than 1/3 the thickness of traditional three-coat stucco.


Fiber Cement (e.g. Hardie® Siding)


Fiber Cement (e.g. Hardie® Siding)                  Fiber Cement (e.g. Hardie® Siding)

Fiber Cement siding, which comes in lap siding, shingles, vertical siding boards, and trim boards, is a fiber-reinforced cement board product that looks like real wood, but doesn’t have a lot of the drawbacks of other sidings. This siding is rot-resistant, long-lasting, more durable than vinyl and aluminum siding and it doesn’t require painting as often as wood. It won’t soften from low level heat and it is non-combustible. This type of siding is becoming more popular on up-scale homes.




Gutters and Downspouts


Gutters and Downspouts                   Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are installed on sloped roofs to collect water in the gutter system on the lower edges of the roof and the downspouts direct the water away. A normal rainstorm can produce hundreds of gallons of water on a roof surface, which can easily find its way into your basement or undermine the structure itself! A well maintained drainage system can help protect your future home from a leaky or damp basement, insect infestations and deterioration of the lower exterior finishes. Gutters and downspouts require careful inspection for proper pitch, leakage and defect. The gutter and leader system cannot only cause a lot of moisture related problems, but may be hiding them even in a new installation. Many home owners repair or replace the gutter and leader system when they put their home on the market for sale, but the damage to fascia boards, soffits and other components may have already occurred from lack of maintenance and improper installation. In some areas of the country, gutters and downspouts are not used because the home is designed and built to keep water away with large eaves and are often used with slab construction which is less prone to water damage from poor roof drainage. This, however, is often not the case. A home not originally designed for good roof drainage without gutters and downspouts will most likely suffer damage. Your inspector will inform you what is required to repair or replace your drainage system as well as the effects of the existing system or lack of one on your new home.







The grounds surrounding the home will include items such as grading for drainage, patios, landscaping (retaining walls and other alterations to the natural flow of the property), fences, trees and bushes which may have an effect on the home and all other items as they relate to the exterior of the house. Patios and surrounding soil should be pitched away from the house to keep water from lying against the foundation, penetrating the basement, or possibly undermining the footings of a slab home. Trees and bushes need to be kept away from the buildings components to prevent wear, damage or present a possible safety hazard. Other items such as retaining walls and fences are often overlooked by potential homebuyers but can be extremely costly to repair or replace. The general placement of the home on the property is closely examined as it relates to slopes and hills, which could direct high volumes of water towards the home in more severe weather. The experience with the geographical location of your new home that your professional inspector has can be important as it relates to flooding and high water tables which can be an unpleasant surprise.







Garages, whether attached or detached, are inspected like the rest of the home. Your inspector will check the roof, exterior and interior for all the same potential problems that have or may occur which are visible and accessible. The inspector will also look for safety hazards found only in this area as it relates to the vehicle usage, fire hazards and safety of the garage door opener. A great deal of homeowner handyman workmanship is often found in this area and will be pointed out when improperly done.







Your inspector will check the deck framing for all the same potential problems including attachment to the home which are visible.  The deck inspections your inspector will look for baluster too far apart, improper railing heights, loose or missing boards or railing, rotting stair boards or attachment, including uneven risers and treads. A great deal of homeowner poor handyman workmanship is often found on this deck area by improper floor board spacing and your inspector will pointed out when improperly or deteriorating supports or framing is found.



DAK Home Inspections, Inc. - AHIT Certified          National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.          National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. - Illinois Chapter


David A. Kropp - President - DAK Home Inspection Services, Inc.








David A. Kropp







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