The lot drainage and grounds inspection are two important aspects and the starting point of each home inspection. Our inspectors begin by walking around the exterior grounds of the house looking for rodent tunneling, damaged trees, negative grade, trip hazards, and the condition of driveways and sidewalks.
Settling sidewalks pitched towards the house, sloping stoops, and heaving driveways can cause negative grade, poor lot drainage, and erosion around the foundation of the home. Improper downspout extensions(should be 8 ft. from house) and damaged gutters with improper sloping are usually the cause. Our reports include pictures of settling cracks, negative grade, and improper downspout extensions with recommendations for repair.
Our inspectors also report the condition of the trees on the property. Dead branches, trees overgrowing the roof, insect damaged trees(Carpenter Ants, Ash Borer), roots creating trip hazards, and trees in contact with the house are noted in detail with a photo.
Decks, balconies, sheds, patios, and fences are also included in the grounds inspection. Our inspectors examine the quality of construction, support system, and type of materials used to build each deck, patio, and fence. Patios pitched towards the home and damaged gates/fences are noted with photos as well. Often, mud jacking(or lifting the concrete) is required to correct the pitch of the concrete slab to improve lot drainage in that specific area.
Poor lot drainage and negative grade causes water damage to homes foundations decreasing the value of the home and creating expensive repairs that could have easily been avoided. Our inspectors take the time to walk the buyer around the property after the inspection is complete to point out issues that cause negative grade and poor lot drainage and offer recommendations for repair.
To read a little more about what to look for in a grounds inspection, check out our most redent article on the topic.