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Home Maintenance Quiz Answers:
Roof 40%: Roofs are often neglected when owning a home.
Frequently roof access is not easy or pleasant and requires a
ladder. Some people are afraid of heights. We often see flashing
concerns on roofs. Roofing is a dangerous line of work that
requires skill. Water, believe it or not, can defy gravity given the proper conditions.
Roofers often hire seasonal employees who may or may not pay attention to details such
as weather conditions at the time of installation. For example: Many roofs use
asphalt/composition shingles for weather resistance and tar paper for moisture resistance.
Depending on when a roof is built, frost concerns may affect the tar paper/shingles and
manifest into problems when the roof warms up. Many roof concerns are undetectable
from the ground. Other items to consider which are not easily seen: Was the nail gun set
to the correct pressure? Are there adequate nails holding the shingles in place? Are the
nails long enough, or are they working themselves back out? Metal roofs, wood shingle,
rubber, etc. each have unique qualities and maintenance requirements.

Gutters & Downspouts 34%: Many homes are missing gutters, or have gutters and
downspouts with no extensions to route the water 5-10 feet from the structure. The
extensions are crucial in diverting the concentrated water flow away from the structure.
Concentrated water flow can cause erosion of the ground supporting the foundation or
seep into basements and crawlspaces.

Exterior Maintenance 93%: Weather patterns typically come from the west and north
so these two sides of the structure usually are in need of more maintenance. Houses that
face the north or west typically are in better condition since people pay more attention to
the front of the house as opposed to the rear or sides. Loose siding, improperly supported
gas or electric utilities, improperly wired outlets, siding in contact with the ground,
improperly sealed walkways and driveways, clogged vents, peeling paint, decay at wood
end grains, are some of the common maintenance items we notice.

Fire Hazards 40%: We often find non-functioning smoke detectors. People often store
combustibles or caustic chemicals around heating units in utility rooms. Older wood
fireplaces often have a buildup of creosote and/or cracked, broken firebox bricks. All
these can contribute to dangerous fire potential(s). Depending on chimney location,
interior or exterior, the chances of a fire from excessive creosote buildup and proximity to
combustibles can increase or decrease.

Attic & Basement 59%: Attics often lack insulation and proper ventilation. Depending
on the type of roof sheathing, ventilation may or may not be as much of a concern. Bath,
kitchen, and dryer ventilation should vent directly to the exterior. Insulation maintenance
items typically include needing to add more insulation, insulation compacted (reducing R-
factor) or not evenly distributed. In older homes with knob and tube wiring, the wiring is
designed as an “open air” heat dissipating system. In other words, don’t cover it up. When
attics have insulation added that covers knob and tube wiring, the heat dissipating
element is reduced or eliminate. Without being able to dissipate heat, the knob and tube
wiring has the potential for starting a fire. Knob and tube wiring should never be covered
in insulation.
Basements often have inadequately supported pipes and mechanicals. Depending on
outside factors, some areas may have experienced water damage and/or decay. Floor
support systems are sometimes modified (cut) to make room for home mechanical
systems which may contribute to future sagging/structural issues. In new homes, some
equipment is not fully or properly installed resulting in the potential for operational or
safety concerns.

Crawl Space 60%: Crawlspaces, like attics, are not the easiest or the most desirable
places to visit. It is important to insulate and provide a vapor barrier to increase energy
efficiency and reduce long-term maintenance issues. As a general rule, a crawl space
should be ventilated to the interior basement only. Depending on soil type and exterior
maintenance, moisture may also be an issue.

Wet Basement 51%: This is a problem that results commonly when improper grade
slope and/or gutter arrangement are present. Proper grade slope is considered the
primary way to keep moisture away from the foundation wall and protect the wall from
freeze-thaw heave. The type of native soil and foundation wall material are also factors in
the positive and/or negative effects of proper grade slope.

Termites 23%: Termites are more common is certain areas of La Crosse. Termites
need moisture. We see interior basement evidence of termites in the area around exterior
water spigots, frequently. They can be found anywhere, though. How well the native soil
holds water will also play a factor in the potential for termite damage.

Electrical System 53%: We inspect the interior of the electric panel, wiring in the
basement, visible attic wiring and outside wiring. We also test a representative number of
outlets throughout the home interior, exterior and garage. Reverse polarity, over servicing
at the main panel (even on brand new homes) and missing or defective GFCI outlets are
common issues.

Plumbing 28%: Cross connections at water softeners, toilets and drains are common.
Leaking sink drains, loosely installed toilets, and excessive rust formations on cast iron
pipe(s) are also common wear and tear items. Improperly supported drain and pressure
piping is also a concern.

Heating & Air Conditioning Systems 42%: We recommend annual furnace/air
conditioning inspections and, with our report, provide a 10% discount on an
inspection/cleaning. Heating/air conditioning systems should be serviced annually. People
often forget to change filters which results in reduced airflow through the furnace heat
exchanger and increases the possibility for overheating/cracking the unit, and causing
additional wear and tear on the blower motor. Moisture leakage is common on high
efficiency models along with improperly connected or supported flues.

Hot Water System 24%: These systems include boilers and radiator issues.
Depending on the type of system, air can infiltrate the system resulting in noisy piping.
Other factors include leaking pumps, poorly supported supply-return piping, air in the
system, lack of even heat, etc.

New Home Construction Problems 15-41%: Depending on many factors such as
but not limited to: subcontractors, seasonal employees, schedule conflicts, and time of the
year that construction took place, there are any number of concerns that may arise. We
have seen glass patio doors installed backwards, no insulation in the attic and living room
outlets that only worked if the kitchen florescent light was turned on. Click New
Construction Problems that We Have Seen for additional mistakes or oversights. Ironically
new homes, which you expect to be perfect, are harder to inspect.

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