The ten most frequent house problems


The Ten Most Frequent House Problems

Recent survey by U.S. ASHI Certified Inspectors across the nation resulted in a list of the most frequently found problems in the homes they have inspected:


1.  Improper Surface Grading/Drainage (35.8%)

This was by far the most frequently found problem.  It is responsible for the most common of household maladies; water penetration of the basement or crawl space.


2.  Improper Electrical Wiring (19.9%)

These issues include such situations as insufficient electrical service to the house, inadequate overload protection, and amateur, often dangerous, wiring connections.


3.  Roof Damage (8.5%)

Roof leakage, caused by old or damaged shingles or improper flashing, was third most frequent.


4.  Heating Systems

Problems in this category include broken or malfunctioning operation controls, blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust disposal.


5.  Poor Overall Maintenance

Even the novice home buyer is aware of this situation, demonstrated by such signs as cracked, peeling, or dirty painted surfaces, crumbling masonry, makeshift wiring or plumbing, and broken fixtures or appliances.


6.  Structurally Related Problems

Many houses, as a result of problems in one or more of the other categories, sustain damage to such structural components as foundation walls, floor joists, rafters, and window and door headers.


7.  Plumbing

The issues such as the existence or old or incompatible piping materials, as well as faulty fixtures and waste lines were highlighted in this area.


8.  Exterior

Flaws in a home’s exterior, including windows, doors, and wall surfaces, are responsible for the discomfort of water and air penetration, but rarely have structural significance.  Inadequate caulking and/or weather-stripping are the most common culprits.


9.  Poor Ventilation

Perhaps due to overly ambitious efforts to save energy, many home owners have “over-sealed” their homes, resulting in excessive interior moisture.  This can cause rotting and premature failure of both structural and non-structural elements.


10.  Miscellaneous

This category was primarily interior components, which were not found frequently enough to rank individually.


*It is significant that within this list of ten problem categories, at least four are directly related to the damaging effects of water.  It is apparent, therefore, that after a home is built (presumably in a structurally sound manner), keeping water out is the homeowner’s most important – and continually challenging- objective.


*Survey response percentages were given only for the first three categories because they were so high and statistically meaningful.  Items 4-10 were ranked significantly lower than the top three, and very regionally