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  • Writer's pictureSeth Mitchell

5 DIY Home Inspections to Perform Right Now

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

Congratulations! This is a big step. Really big. You've taken an important step to take control of your home right now by conducting some very easy inspections around your residence. These inspections are simple. They don't take any specialized tools. And they can reveal majors issues in and around your home here in the Spring, Tomball, Cypress and Houston area. But they aren't just limited to these areas in Southeast Texas. No matter where you live these basic surveys can reveal big problems in and around your home. We are all stuck at home right now anyway, so let's get going.

  1. Standing Water: As you make your way around the home inside as well as outside look for any signs of moisture, such as standing water near your foundation outside. Wet basements or crawlspaces holding water should be inspected very thouroughly for leaks or poor drainage. Water dripping from any tube, pipe or line near the foundation or eve near the roof is suspect and my indicate blockages in primary drain lines. Remember, if you see water near or in your house, it had better just have rained or the little kiddos have just played with the garden hose. Any other water or signs of water or moisture is highly suspect. Investigate until you find the water source. You should not see signs of moisture or plainly visible water in, around, or under your home, unless you are inspecting the soil around the perimeter of the home and it has just rained a few minutes to several hours previously.

  2. Sink Cabinets: This next step is similar to the first but much more dialed in: Inspect under all cabinets which have a sink and faucet. Get a good flashlight and gently touch the bottoms of each pipe, valve, and drain under the sink and faucets, rubbing your fingers and palms underneath the hardware you see inside the cabinets. Now that you've touched the pipes, valves, and faucet bodies, look at your fingers after touching each surface. Any water? If you see any glimmer of water on your fingers, you have a leak. Investigate further if you feel comfortable or call a plumber or a handy family member or neighbor to investigate further.

  3. Attic Water Intrusion: Not everyone will feel comfortable going into the attic and you must watch your step, certainly, but the extra effort could make all the difference, especially if you proceed up the attic staircase on a cool day while it's raining. Take an excellent flashlight and take your time looking at all the roof decking for any darks stains, which indicate water intrusion or active drips if it is raining as you make your inspection. Inspect any vent or pipe that proceeds through the bottom of the roof as these all must be mechanically sealed - and those seals have a life expectancy. They will leak at some point. Any signs of water intrusion, mold, wet wood, or dripping water needs immediate attention by a professional. You’ll be glad you made the extra effort to inspect the attic area if you find an active water leak. Water can do a great deal of damage in a short time, especially if mold begins to form.

  4. Guttering: Here in the Houston, Texas area we get a lot of rain. In fact it's not unusual for us to receive 2-4" of rain during a downpour in late summer here in Cypress, Texas. Your home's guttering system needs attention fairly frequently. Roof gutters need to be clear of tree leaves and composition shingle granules. The granules will appear to be coarse sand in the bottom of your gutters and can completely block the flow of water out of the gutter through the downspout to the ground. Ensure that your guttering is free of leaves, debris, and composition-shingle granules. Also check and make sure the downspout is free and clear and not obstructed with twigs and leaf debris. They can become blocked and allow water to back up in the downspout pipe, which can cause roof damage and soil erosion at the perimeter of your home near the foundation, and in some cases - foundation damage. A gutter check needs to be done at least four times a year, especially if you have big live oak and/or Crepe Myrtle trees that are so common here in Cypress, Katy, and Tomball areas.

5. Downspout Termination: This is a big one too. Downspouts attach at the eve of the home to the horizontal gutter and act a vertical duct to carry water from the gutter to the ground near the home's foundation. But the downspout should not stop there. The downspout should connect to a pipe and flow beneath the yard and emit water away from the foundation by a distance of at least 5 feet - although some engineers recommend 10 feet. After the water flows into the pipe it should flow away from your home, especially if you have a basement. The water can be carried to the street or even into a storm drain if adjacent to your home via the sub grade pipe. The water however should not pool near your foundation or flow back to your home. If this occurs, a remedy should be undertaken to correct this immediately.

There you have it, Houston; these are some of the top issues that can damage to your home - inside and outside. If you feel comfortable performing these assessments, go for it. But if you want to a resource to lean on, I would be happy to assist you. Feel free to email me at or call 281-667-6175. Good luck and Get busy!

#DIYprojects #ownerbeware

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