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Tips For Keeping The Garages, Driveways And Walkways In Perfect Condition

GaragesIf you intend buying a new or a previously owned home, then the garage, driveway and walkway need a good inspection. People are often negligent when it comes to giving them adequate attention, often leading to perilous consequences. They are focused almost entirely on the house.

To help you, some tips are given below on what to look for when inspecting these important components of a house.

How a Garage Inspection Should Go About?

A garage needs special attention for the numerous safety and structural issues involved with this kind of a structure. Since garages are not a part of the house and their doors open the whole width of the garage they are treated as a porch of sorts and get a step-brotherly treatment. They become a storehouse for all the junk of the house, thereby posing a fire hazard.

There are two types of garages attached and detached garage. And home inspectors know what are the specific loopholes in each type or rather what should be done to keep each kind in top-notch working order.

Attached garage: An important part of attached garage inspection is detecting the fire hazards in the garage. Firewall in a garage is an absolute must. It should be made gas and fire retardant. There should not be any opening for the exhaust to flow from the garage into the house. The walls should be covered with a fireproof material like gypsum board. You can be sure that these will be the things that the home inspector is going to look for the first time he enters the garage.

The door connecting the house to the garage should be fireproof, preferably made of steel and have an automatic closing device with gasket seals to ensure that there is provision to completely seal off the garage from the house. The doors should never be hollow and should have weather strippings and thresholds. These features prevent fire from burning through the door quickly and carbon monoxide from entering the house.

Experts reckon that wall fireproofing should be such that fires should take at least one hour to reach the home. The door connecting the garage to the house should be designed to hold the fire in the garage for at least twenty minutes.

Detached garage: A very important part of the detached garage inspection is the "wood destroying insects" inspection. Here also the condition of the exposed areas should be inspected. Other areas need to be inspected the same way as the house.

The garage doors are issues to ponder about in both the kinds of garages. And you better be prepared for a home inspector who is going to be very finicky about the doors, they usually are. The doors should open and close smoothly and for this, the hinges need to be inspected. Special attention should be given to the automatic doors which have an auto reversal mechanism that open the closing doors automatically on meeting an obstruction. Often they fail to work, trapping and injuring children. You can ask the home inspector to test this mechanism using his hand as obstruction.

If you are a home inspector and have been called on to check the garage, then you should definitely be on the lookout for faulty electrical circuits, ungrounded electrical outlets as they are fire hazards. If there is an air conditioning unit make sure there is also a fire damper. Fire dampers prevent smoke from entering the home if there is a fire in the garage.

Structural problems: As a home inspector, the structural strength of a garage should surely be one of your primary lookouts. If the garage was previously owned, chances are that the previous owners have weakened it by removing beams or by putting up storage lofts making the roof sag. Generally garages are built weaker than the house.

The garage should be checked for movement and the roof checked for wear and tear. Inspect the condition of the exposed areas like walls, ceiling and doors. Check the condition and settlement of the garage floor and also for rotten wooden components.

In your rush to get through with the garage, make sure that you do not overlook inspecting the garage concrete slab. It should get detached from the foundation due to underground moisture. This happens when there are two different pours. A quarter inch separation is okay but an inch of separation needs a good look-in.

What The Home Inspector Will Look For in Your Driveway ?

The first thing to look for in a driveway is the way it slopes. The home inspector will make sure that the driveway slopes away from the garage to prevent water collection. If it slopes towards the garage then the driveway should have a level section and a drain right across its width, just before the garage. Water can damage the wooden objects in the garage and the house. Excessive water may weaken the driveway foundation. In particular, the home inspector will make sure that driveway is about two inches below the garage level. It should have no potholes, big cracks, missing paver stones or too much weed growth.

There are usually two types of driveways gravel and asphalt / concrete drives. Look for deep ruts in gravel drives. They pose a maintenance problem. Another maintenance problem posed by gravel drives is the rust that they develop.

In asphalt and concrete drives, the home inspector looks for cracked, broken or settled areas, a frequent occurrence in such drives.

How the Walkway Inspection Should Go About ?

Walkways that are frequently walked on need a more thorough inspection. Home inspectors realize this and so they always make it a point to look for serious deterioration and cracked or uneven sections since they are a potential trip hazard for walkers.

Walkways as well as driveways usually have expansion joints to minimize cracking. However, with the tendency of concrete naturally cracking, such a possibility cannot be eliminated. Normal cracking poses no serious problem.

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