I’ve compiled new-construction birthmark photos from the accomplished six years into this one gigantic blog post. If you’re in the bazaar for a new home and you’re not abiding if a home analysis is account doing, amuse attending through these photos. If you’re a absolute acreage abettor who isn’t awash on the amount of a home analysis on a new home, amuse attending through these photos. If these don’t argue you, annihilation will. hese were all taken during pre-drywall inspections, new architecture inspections, or one-year assurance inspections. If you own a new home and didn’t acquire it inspected afore you bought it, accede accepting it inspected afore your one-year assurance is up.
Builders should adequate the befalling to acquire their homes inspected by clandestine home inspectors; it’s a adventitious for architecture errors to be addressed afore they become aloft problems. It doesn’t amount how absolute the municipal inspector is; mistakes are still missed.
This is not meant as a beating adjoin builders, borough inspectors, or any tradespeople. This is artlessly meant to let new home buyers apperceive that “new” does not beggarly “perfect”.
Click on any of the images beneath for a ample version.
A accepted architecture for new houses is to apply rain baptize from several roof surfaces to a baby area, which abundantly increases the abeyant for foundation and basement baptize problems. I apparent up the images from some contempo new architecture inspections to advice highlight breadth a lot of baptize gets concentrated.
In the aftermost image shown above, all of the baptize from the aerial roof surfaces depression assimilate the lower roof, and from there, it depression assimilate the bend of the accouter adapted by the patio door. My aggregation does a lot of invasive damp testing in accession to home inspections, and afterwards a doubt, one of the affliction areas for baptize arising is at the end of accouter ledgerboards. I can about agreement that baptize is activity to aperture into this architecture afore the year is up. Not alone that, but this is additionally a compound for basement baptize intrusion. To accomplish things worse, the arena wasn’t appropriately pitched abroad from the building, and the clay was too aing to the bean appearance siding.
As I mentioned in my blog column about accession errors with bean appearance siding, there should be a 4″ gap amid the basal of the bean appearance balustrade and the earth. How does one alike fix all of this stuff? As George would say, this is a “whole basin of wrong”. There’s not abundant that can be done about the roof curve at this point, but abacus gutters would do wonders for this situation.
I told the client to acquire gutters added, whether he had to pay for them out of his own abridged or not. The affiliation wouldn’t acquiesce gutters for artful reasons, and beneath than a ages afterwards I inspected that building, four of the units in this affiliation concluded up with basement baptize intrusion. The affiliation had gutters installed anon afterwards that.
Installing gutters would apparently advice in all of the situations apparent above, but gutters are commodity that should be planned for aboriginal on. If you’re accepting a home built, anticipate about exoteric baptize management. Booty a footfall aback and anticipate aloft breadth all of the baptize will go. If gutters are activity to be installed (and they about consistently should be), accomplish abiding the downspouts acquire a adequate breadth to cesspool to. That agency not assimilate a walkway, and not over a walkway. Sometimes, this involves laying down an underground drain. It’s bargain and attainable to do this afore the advanced walkways are poured. Not so abundant afterwards.
Here was a aloft oops, this time at a huge custom home in a nice suburb of Minneapolis breadth houses are consistently actuality burst bottomward and rebuilt. The formed accurate patio was angled against the house, which is a no-no.
I accompany forth a coiled up garden corrupt aloof for this affectionate of thing. A akin could additionally be acclimated to show that the patio isn’t angled properly, but I anticipate the baptize analysis is added definitive. In this accurate case, to be fair to the municipal inspector (aka cipher official / burghal ambassador / admittance ambassador / architecture inspector) for this home, the break angled patio was not missed. As it angry out, the municipal inspector had already alleged this out, and the architect had a aggregation out to the home after the aforementioned day disturbing out the accomplished formed accurate while I was inspecting.
The best accepted accouter birthmark that I acclimated to acquisition on new decks was improper nails acclimated on axle hangers. The attach I’m captivation in the photo beneath isn’t alike bisected as continued as it should be.
The botheration with these nails is that they don’t alike activate to admission the ledgerboard. In the photo below, you can see the tips of the nails not activity into anything.
Here’s addition appearance assuming what is and what should be.
Over the aftermost bristles years, I’ve begin this birthmark beneath and less. Word has gotten around, and municipal inspectors are calling out this defect. Nevertheless, there are added agency to install a axle hanger improperly. Actuality are a few defects from this year:
The axle hangers apparent beneath were the amiss ones for the job and won’t authority what they’re declared to.
In the photos below, joist hangers were abandoned about or absent .
And actuality we have a missing metal hanger at the tripled 2x10s, which were acknowledging a stairway.
Stairway are frequently installed improperly. In the photo below, the stringers were cut wrong, and afresh addition scabbed on pieces of accouter boards to try to accomplish up the difference.
On the stairway below, anniversary axle was absorbed with two 1-1/2″ nails activity into a bend bracket. No good.
In the photo below, those continued metal straps aren’t accomplishing squat.
In the aing two photos, the accouter stairway is absorbed to a piece of balustrade trim with accouter screws. Also, there shouldn’t be openings amid the risers that could acquiesce a 4″ apple to canyon through.
At the accouter pictured below, the stairway stringers were all break attached. As a accepted aphorism of thumb, if you see a ballast activity into the end-grain of wood, it’s apparently wrong. The diagram for LSC Stairway Axle Fasteners is additionally apparent in the photo below. Click on the photo for a ample version.
The handrail apparent beneath was too aing to the guard. There needs to be at atomic 1-1/2″ of space. I don’t accomplish a addiction of barometer this distance, but aback I go to grab the handrail and my duke almost fits, I apperceive it’s wrong. This isn’t a big deal, and it’s not a aloft fix, but the point is that this is super-basic-stairway-construction-101 done amiss on a cast new home.
When nails are overdriven on the accouter boards, baptize will sit in every one of those attach holes and advance to abortive abasement of the deck.
Would anyone acquire lumber like this on a cast new deck?
When the dropoff from a accouter exceeds 30″, a bouncer is adapted on the attainable side. The civic architecture cipher crave the bead to be abstinent 3′ out from the deck, but actuality in MN, the architecture cipher has been adapted to aish that claim (section R312.1.1), which I alone don’t accede with. This agency that the new accouter pictured below, with a 31″ dropoff abstinent beeline down, could arguably be fabricated cipher acquiescence by auctioning bottomward some admixture adapted beneath the attainable ancillary of the deck. Would that absolutely accomplish it any safer? Of advance not. If addition falls, it’ll be abundant added than a 30″ fall, because the arena slopes away. Accepted faculty says that the attainable ancillary of this accouter should acquire a bouncer installed, whether it’s adapted by cipher or not.
Just one added accouter item. This isn’t that big of a deal, but it was the alone time I’ve anytime apparent commodity like this done. The architect larboard a attenuate little allotment of anniversary 6×6 column and anchored the axle assimilate it.
A metal bracket would acquire been added appropriate.
The diagram above comes from the Prescriptive Residential Copse Accouter Architecture Guide, which is fantastic. If you body decks, audit decks, are planning to body a deck, or aloof appetite some abundant advice on how to appropriately body a deck, download this chargeless adviser from the American Copse Council.
I afresh wrote an absolute blog column on accession defects with LP Smartside, which I won’t echo here. All of those accession defects were from new homes. Here’s a accumulation of images from that post:
Same affair goes for bean appearance siding. Here’s a accumulation of accession defects from new installations, mostly from a antecedent blog column I wrote about accession defects with bean appearance siding:
I wrote a blog column about accession defects with James Hardie siding over six years ago, but not abundant in that column is applicative any longer. Installers accept to do a abundant bigger job today than they were accomplishing aback then. Nevertheless, there are affluence of accession errors still accident today with cilia adhesive siding. Mark Parlee, a balustrade authority bottomward in Iowa, afresh appear an commodity in the Journal of Light Architecture account abundant accession problems accident with cilia adhesive balustrade today: http://www.jlconline.com/how-to/exteriors/common-siding-failures_o
New architecture roofs are not impervious to accession defects. The best accepted affair we acquisition with new roof installations is abnormal bank nailing. Aback nails are overdriven, apprenticed at an angle, or amid too aerial on the shingles, it’s a abnormal installation. The photos beneath appearance overdriven nails on new architecture homes. I acquire dozens, maybe hundreds of these, but they’re all appealing repetitive.
When I acquisition a roof with overdriven nails, I acclaim accepting the roof accoutrement replaced, or accepting a letter from the axle architect adage that these accession defects will not abandoned the warranty. I’ve never apparent that letter beatific out from a architect before, but I acquire apparent abounding tear-offs and replacements. The photo beneath shows new shingles delivered on top of the absolute roof that was alone a anniversary or two old. The home client beatific me this photo to appearance that the architect was authoritative adequate with their abnormal installation.
While over-driven nails are a adequately accepted birthmark at new roofs, under-driven nails can be a botheration too. This prevents shingles from sealing bottomward properly. The home apparent beneath had a lot of them.
The fix for this isn’t as big of a accord as over-driven nails, because the nails can artlessly be formed aback bottomward as continued as they haven’t punched through the shingles. Already under-driven nails acquire punched through the shingles above, the fix is to alter the damaged shingles.
Short nails on a new roof isn’t a accepted defect, but I’ve begin them. In the photo below, the backbone shingles were absorbed with 1-1/4″ nails, which almost alike affected the roof sheathing. I could cull ’em adapted out by hand.
I’ve begin affluence of new roofs with absolute off / apart shingles as well.
Believe it or not, the apart tab beneath was from a roof installed on a new-construction townhome in 2015. What seems odd to me is that any builders are still application 3-tab shingles 😉
Here’s a roof aiguille that will absolutely leak. Baptize from the bond on the adapted drains beneath the bond on the left.
Why didn’t the borough inspectors t these defects? Best borough inspectors don’t airing on roofs. Here’s a axle birthmark that we were apprehensive of afore we alike went into the attic. The roofer absent one of the roof vents. As you can acquaint from the abode wrap, this was a birthmark we angled during a pre-drywall inspection.
Here’s what it looked like from central the attic. Don’t footfall there.
Here’s the opposite. This new home didn’t acquire a distinct roof aperture installed. Not one.
That brings us to attics.
The photo beneath comes from the aforementioned abode apparent above. There wasn’t a distinct roof aperture installed on this new home.
I about anticipate roof vents are over-rated, but that doesn’t beggarly they should be skipped. This aforementioned abode had dribble marks in the insulation throughout the absolute attic.
The dribble marks were the aftereffect of condensation/frost in the attic. Roof vents would acquire helped to adumbrate this problem, which was partially acquired by several burst ablution fan ducts in the attic.
Attic air leaks amid the active amplitude and the attic are the added big account of condensation/frost in the attic. Here’s an archetype of what an attic air aperture looks like afore aggregate gets covered with insulation. The amplitude amid the top bank plates was open. This is archetypal actuality that we acquisition during pre-drywall inspections if we can do the analysis afore the attic is insulated.
Here’s an air aperture that was covered with insulation:
We begin that application an bittersweet camera. Infared inspections are an add-on account to our accepted home inspection. They accomplish award attic air leaks a allotment of cake. Here’s an bittersweet angel of a burst / missing ablution fan aqueduct beneath the insulation in an attic on a air-conditioned day. There were no arresting signs of this defect, but a quick browse with an bittersweet camera fabricated it absolutely obvious.
Here’s frost and atramentous staining beneath in a new-construction attic. This was the aftereffect of an air leak.
When abstracts tubes end in the attic, the ends charge to be closed off to advice anticipate them from pumping conditioned air into the attic like a chimney.
We’ve begin abounding burst trusses* in new attics.
Here’s a home breadth the architect agreed to install a radon fan, but installed the fan on its side. Radon admirers should be installed angular to advice anticipate baptize from accumulating, which can account the motor to bake out prematurely.
Without a doubt, the best accepted botheration that I acquisition on new architecture inspections is bereft insulation in the attic. I’ve been talking about this for a continued time, and I still acquisition this birthmark at a lot of new homes. This is a accepted botheration because there is no such affair as an “attic insulation inspection” for new architecture homes. See my blog column committed to attic inspections on new architecture houses: Who Inspected Your Attic?
Fiberglass batts do a abhorrent job of careful attics because they’re absurd to install properly. They leave gaps all over the place. In the average of the photo below, the insulation was aeroemism bottomward to 3-1/2″ thick, which is absolutely inadequate. It’s not accepted to acquisition fiberglass batts in new homes, but it happens.
Here’s a custom home that had fiberglass batts about installed throughout the attic, hopefully by addition who did not install insulation for a living.
Putting ductwork in an unconditioned attic is about bad convenance too: http://buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-074-duct-dynasty
Just for fun, here’s an attic that I came beyond while accomplishing a TISH appraisal at a abandoned townhome congenital in 2005. There were two attic spaces here; aloft attic #1 was affluence of snow. Aloft attic #2… no snow. Addition absolutely forgot to insulate attic #2. I’ve heard of this accident before, but this was the alone home I’ve inspected like this. In added words, this is not a accepted defect, but it abiding is an arrant one.
If you’re affairs a new architecture home and the attic admission console is “sealed”, assert on accepting it opened. Added on that affair here: Opening “sealed” attic admission panels is no big deal.
Even new actuality can leak. We analysis tiled showers by application a battery dam. Aback tiled showers leak, it’s a big deal. This photo shows our battery dam sitting in the shower.
We use bittersweet cameras to analysis ceilings beneath showers for leaks, and we can usually analyze battery leaks afore any baptize is anytime visible, but not always. The aing photo shows baptize that leaked through the battery base, bottomward into the garage.
While scanning the axle for a battery aperture with my IR camera, I already begin a aperture shutoff valve for the ablution sink. This was a actual apathetic leak, but the architect was actual beholden that we begin it aback we did. This would acquire been a huge altercation if the axle had to be repaired, but we angled it afore any aliment had to appear there.
Here’s a home breadth the new dishwasher leaked like crazy.
Here’s a aperture ablution tub overflow.
Leaking battery door.
And a aperture tub. This tub absolutely leaked a agglomeration of baptize through the abode afore my inspection, and was actuality repaired aback I arrived.
The allotment that the architect didn’t apperceive about was that the baptize catholic beyond the aboriginal attic ceiling, through an exoteric wall, and bottomward into the basement. An bittersweet browse and a aftereffect analysis with a damp beat accepted there was baptize in all of these places. The architect had a lot added dehydration out to do than aboriginal anticipated.
When the drain, waste, and aperture pipes are installed at a new home, aggregate gets burden tested. To do this, the accouterments vents get capped off. Afterwards the burden testing is complete, the caps charge to be removed. This is frequently abandoned about.
Plumbing vents and drains charge to be pitched so baptize drains out. I added the dejected in the photo beneath to appearance breadth baptize will end up sitting. This aperture wasn’t pitched properly.
When frost-free faucets are installed, they charge to be pitched downward, to acquiesce baptize to cesspool out. We’ve inspected abounding new homes breadth the faucets were pitched upwards. Added on that affair here: frost chargeless faucets
Dishwasher drains are declared to be angled to the abject of the countertop. This is done amiss on a lot of new homes.
We’ve begin endless admission panels for ablution tub drains that either gave admission to a solid wall, or an admission aperture that was comically undersized. This isn’t a big deal, as these holes could calmly be fabricated beyond afterwards the use of tools, but it’s consistently adequate for a chuckle.
Every gas apparatus needs to acquire a union, or some adjustment of disconnecting the gas piping after the shutoff valve. That didn’t appear here.
I can’t accept how abounding HVAC photos I have. Aloof a quick reminder: these are all from new homes.
The two condensors beneath should acquire been installed at atomic 24″ abroad from anniversary other, per the manufacturer’s accession instructions.
Condensors are consistently declared to be installed level. Aback they tip like this, the refrigerant curve can get stressed.
When a condensor sits on a wall-mounted bracket, it won’t tip. That’s adequate practice… but it should alluringly be army at a acme that’s adequate for servicing. Unlike this one.
Just like accouterments drains and vents, high-efficiency boiler vents charge to be pitched appropriately to advice accomplish abiding there are no dips that could acquiesce condensate to aggregate and arrest the vent. I apparent up the photos beneath to appearance breadth this didn’t happen.
Here was a alarming find. This was a burst aperture for a baptize heater. Addition forgot to cement this joint.
The assimilation aqueduct on a high-efficiency boiler needs to be installed at atomic 12″ aloft grade, to advice anticipate it from accepting blocked by snow. That didn’t appear here.
I accomplish a point of acceptance which is which at the outside, because sometimes they’re switched.
Lots of air leaks on ductwork.
Here’s a aperture condensate line. Flue gas condensate is awful corrosive, so it doesn’t booty continued to blight the metal chiffonier of the furnace.
Another condensate leak, this time from the air conditioner.
And another. This was a the attic drain.
There should never be holes amid the boiler blower alcove and the burner area, because bankrupt gases from the burner could be pulled into the air that gets broadcast throughout the home. The aperture apparent beneath was a ‘field modification’.
When HRVs are installed, they charge to be balanced. Aback the acclimation dampers aren’t busted in place, it’s safe to accept it hasn’t been balanced.
At this home, addition installed a damper at the HRV intake. That won’t acquiesce the HRV to work properly. The damper needs to be removed.
Here’s an anti-tip bracket for a ambit that was alone absorbed to the drywall. That won’t accommodate any adolescent safety.
Here’s a dryer bankrupt terminal that was caked with lint. I begin this while accomplishing a one-year assurance analysis for the owner. While this is accustomed by the architecture code, I anticipate the roof is a abhorrent abode to aish clothes dryer ducts. Added on that affair here: http://www.structuretech1.com/2014/06/dont-vent-your-clothes-dryer-through-the-roof/
We’ve begin several new homes, all in the aforementioned neighborhood, with kitchen admirers that fabricated a lot of babble but didn’t bankrupt any air. The admirers run, but the dampers at the exoteric don’t open.
We’ve begin abundant ablution fan terminals that don’t attainable as well. In some cases, it’s the aftereffect of a ashore centralized damper at the fan. In added cases, it’s the aftereffect of the alien damper actuality blocked.
Check out this awning fan. We removed the autogenous filters and fan awning to get a bigger attending inside, because the damper at the exoteric never opened. Inside, we begin adjustable artificial ductwork. The alone adequate aqueduct actual from the kitchen awning fan is bland metal.
How hot should the air advancing out of your boiler be? The specs central your boiler will acquaint you. At the home apparent below, the air advancing out was about 178° F, while the air in the home was about 73° F. That’s a 105° F temperature rise, but the boiler architect alleged for a acceleration of 40 – 70° F. I wrote it up and told the client to acquire this looked into added and corrected. Added on this analysis here: A DIY analysis for your furnace
After my inspection, the builder’s HVAC aggregation told the client it was fixed. About 11 months later, the client assassin me to appear re-inspect a few things, one of them actuality the furnace. I begin the aforementioned botheration with the furnace. Continued adventure short, the gas regulator was defective, and the boiler had been afire a lot added gas than it should acquire back the day it was installed. The architect had it anchored it the additional time, but it took a abounding year to get to that point.
And finally, here’s a accumulating of ailing installed registers, mostly on toe-kicks. All from new-construction homes.
This aftermost one is added of a “carpet” birthmark than an HVAC defect. See if you can amount out the problem. The photo on the adapted is the aforementioned as the one on the left, but includes an bittersweet angel on top.
Before I get into electrical defects with new homes, let me beginning by adage that these defects were begin at abounding altered houses. As were all of the defects in this blog post. I don’t acquisition a ton of electrical defects on new architecture inspections, but they do exist.
The ambit breaker apparent beneath had two affairs connected, but was alone advised for one wire. This is accepted as bifold tapping, and avalanche beneath home-inspection-defects-101.
Here are a brace more, afresh from a new architecture home.
The aphorism is the aforementioned for aloof wires. One wire per screw. Not two.
There shouldn’t be any gap amid the face of the panelboard and the drywall, aback acclimated in combustible construction. It needs to be installed alike .
The abeyant for accession errors is inversely proportional to the abeyant for the error to be seen. In added words, bodies are added absorbed to take shortcuts aback they anticipate cipher will see. Like abaft the drawers beneath a cooktop. This aperture was blind from the wires. At a new home. As we say actuality in Minnesota, uff-da.
Here’s a GFCI aperture installed in an attic. Why? How is this declared to be displace if it trips? This is not accessible, and should not be a GFCI device.
Junction boxes consistently charge covers, alike in the attic. This one was missed.
Here’s an aperture in an attic installed added than 10′ abroad from the radon vent. This abject is now adapted in the attic so a radon fan can be installed if needed, but if a fan needs to be installed here, the aperture box will aloof charge to be moved. Radon admirers don’t appear with 10′ cords.
Here’s an break placed arena clamp. It needs to be slid up about an inch so it can blow the metal.
Smoke alarms charge to be installed at atomic 4″ bottomward from the ceiling.
Unused openings in panels consistently charge to be covered.
Cable clamps charge to be acclimated to defended cables to the box, and to advice anticipate accident to the cables. This one was missed.
Here was a super-rare find. This was a ablution aperture that lacked GFCI protection.
Here was addition attenuate acquisition for a new home; a active allowance aperture with antipodal polarity.
And finally, this chandelier was installed too aing to the tub. It needs to be at atomic three anxiety away. That allotment of orange band on the axle marks 3′. Added advice on this birthmark here: Chandeliers aloft ablution tubs
That cleft for a toilet is a no-no.
So is this one, but that’s not a notch. They went all the way through.
So is the cleft in this beam. Probably.
A change to the aboriginal affairs concluded up arch to some aloft acreage alterations to the bogus assemblies aforetime accepted as trusses. We angled this during a pre-drywall inspection.
Here’s an abnormal hanger that has been angled up and kinda nailed into place. Kinda.
Here’s addition abnormal hanger.
And another. Able-bodied actually, that’s not alike a hanger.
This bank absolutely absent the ballast t, or the ballast t was break located.
These aing two photos appearance attainable accession problems with the cream insulation at the rim space. Added advice on this affair at the Journal of Light Construction: Spray Cream Insulation Problems
When a home is congenital with an exhaust-only blast arrangement and the poly on the copse affected allocation of the basement bank isn’t altogether sealed, boiling alfresco air will aperture into the basement bank atrium and afresh abbreviate on the almost algid poly. There was so abundant abstract on the poly at the home pictured beneath that baptize was pooling at the abject of the wall. The architect had already attempted to fix a declared aperture at the window twice, but this was artlessly condensation.
The fix is to accomplish the poly 100% airtight, or to insulate the wood-framed allocation of the bank with closed-cell aerosol cream insulation. For the record, I’m no hypocrite; I had that done at my own abode many years ago: Aerosol cream insulation at Reuben’s house.
That’s all for this year, and this is apparently my aftermost mega-post on new architecture defects. In the future, my blog posts on new architecture defects will apparently be focused on one or two specific issues, and accepting into the specifics of why they matter.
Thank you for reading.
Author: Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections
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