Photograph of building damage near Los Angeles 2000 © Daniel Friedman Garage Defects List & Home Inspection Education

  • DEFECTS LIST - GARAGES - CONTENTS: Residential garage inspection & defects list. Lists of important defects for residential buildings. What does a home inspector need to know? Home inspection training and education curriculum recommendations
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to inspect detached and built-on or built-under garages for defects or hazards.
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Garage inspections for defects: this article lists significant residential garage defects, definitions, and home inspection education topics. We include lists of defects in the garage stucture, floor, windows, supporting columns, roof, roof drainage, vehicle door, automatic door operators, and the passage door or man-door entry to the buildling.

This article series, beginning at BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS, provides lists of common building defects and basic defect knowledge that also outline recommended curriculum content for home inspector education. The building defects and inspection points listed in these articles also guide homeowners and home buyers to building areas that merit careful attention and often point areas of safety concern or important maintenance and repair tasks. Our page top photo shows a leaning garage corner and a building that is settling into the dirt.

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Home Inspection Education Curriculum - Garage


First let's identify the type of garage structure being inspected, as the type of structure has implications for common safety hazards or other defects

  1. Detached garage, or other separate outbuildings, including the garage structure, wiring, other facilities
  2. Attached garage, physically connected to the building, including issues with fire protection, fire door
  3. Garage constructed below all or part of the occupied space of the building, including issues with fire barriers, and location of mechanicals

Garage Floor Defects List

• Broken 

• Cracked, settled or heaved 

• Drainage problems

• Structural garage floors (specialized inspection needed)

Garage Window Defects List

• Cracked

• Condensation, abnormal

• Deformation

• Drain holes blocked or missing

• Installed backwards [?]

• Ineffective drip caps

• Missing

• Rot, insect damaged

• Inoperable

• Loose fit

• Poor weatherstrip

• Leaks

• Lost seal on double or triple glazing

• Damaged

• Missing

• Sash coming apart

• Worn

• Stiff

• Poor flashing details

• Broken

Garage Fire Safety Defects List

Air leaks

• Exposed combustible insulation

• Fireproofing or gasproofing ineffective

Garage Footing & Foundation Defects List

• Lintels sagging or missing

• Water leaks

• Cracked

• Heaved  

• Settled

• Spalling                 

Garage Framing or Masonry Wall Defects List

• Missing or removed structural components

• Rafter spreading

• Rot, insect damaged

• Racked

• Bowing or bulging                

• Cracked

• Leaning                          

• Mechanical damage                

• Mortar deterioration             

• Spalling

Garage Supporting Columns Defects List

• Leaning, settled, heaved 

• Rot, insect damage

• Rust

• Spalling, cracked or damaged 

• Wood/soil contact or wood column penetrates slab

• No footings

 Garage Exterior Trim Defects List

• Caulking or flashing missing, deteriorated, loose, rusting or incomplete

• Damaged, cracked or loose

• Inadequate sill projection

• Paint or stain needed                  

• Missing

• No drip edge

• Rot, insect damage or wood/soil contact

• Paint or stain needed

• Sagging or bowing                 

• Putty (glazing compound) cracked, missing loose or deteriorated                                  

• Rot                      

• Rust

• Sills with reverse slope

• Vines

Garage Roof Covering Defects List

• Missing drip caps                                      

• Leaks                        

• Damaged                 

• Missing                         

• Worn                             

• Poor flashing details

 Garage Gutters & Downspouts Defects List

• Leaking or clogged                     

• Loose or damaged                       

• Missing                                

• Poor location                          

• Poor slope                         

• Rusted

• Undersized

Garage Vehicle Entry Door Defects List

• Air leaks

• Lintels sagging or missing

• Water leaks  

• Damaged  

• Dark paint on metal exposed to sun

• Deformation

• Delaminated

• Difficult to open or close

• Drain holes blocked or missing         

• Installed backwards        

• Loose or poor fit                          

• Plastic trim on metal door behind storm    • Paint or stain needed

• Racked    

• Rot or insect damage

• Rust or denting

 Garage Vehicle Door Operator Defects List

• Automatic garage opener

– Inoperative

– Fails to auto reverse

– Adjustment needed to open or close   limits

Garage Passage Door Defects List - "Man-Doors"

• Door not fire rated or exterior type

• Door not tightfitting and weatherstripped

• No self closer

• No step up to house

• Floor includes stairs down into basement utility area (heating equipment) or occupied space (CO hazards)

• Opens into bedroom

Readers should see EXTERIORS of BUILDINGS for our complete list of articles on this topic. Also see HOME & BUILDING INSPECTORS & INSPECTION METHODS. Use the Search Box at the top or bottom of these pages to find in-depth information about building, energy savings, and indoor environment inspection, diagnosis and repair at this website. Watch out: these inspection lists do not list all possible defects for the systems discussed, and not all home or building inspectors will examine all of the items listed here. CONTACT us to suggest corrections or additions to articles at this website.

Readers should see EXTERIORS of BUILDINGS for our complete list of articles on this topic.

These curriculae and building defect lists are based on smilar curriculum documents first prepared by Joe Scaduto, an ASHI member who prepared course material for Northeastern University's Building Inspection Certificate program in 1988, subsequently by DF, InspectApedia's editor, for New York University ca 1988 and later, with others, recommended to ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. ASHI did not adopt this material though currently that association as well as others offer extensive HOME INSPECTOR EDUCATION material. The curriculum and lists of defects are informed by additional analysis of the process of home inspection that was developed beginning Calgary, AB for Canadian and U.S. home inspector education and certification examinations in 1997. Other early contributors to home inspection education in the U.S. and Canada include Dr. Jess Aronstein, Alan Carson, Mike Casey, Mark Cramer, John Cox, Dwight Barnett, Douglas Hansen, Rick Heyl, Larry Hoytt, Bill Merrill, Kevin O'Malley, Dennis Robitalille, Keith Peddie, Pat Porzio, Roger Robinson.

Reader question: leaky door between garage and house interior makes a whistle when it's windy

(Jan 26, 2012) Linda  said:

The metal door that goes into the garage from the house has a whistle when the wind blows. It is very well sealed and the sound stops when the door is cracked. Although the garage was built on several years the whistle started recently. The only thing that has changed is we put a ceiling in the garage and added a whirling vent in the roof. What could be causing this and how can we stop it from happening?


Linda I suspect that your garage changes - adding a ceiling and a roof vent - may have changed the air pressurization of the garage itself, thus changing air movement properties; or by coincidence the door itself and its seal were damaged, nicked, or modified just enough to permit an air leak.

The best solution will be to find and fix the air leak around the garage door. You might get some help by using powder or smoke to test to see exactly where the air leak is occurring (See
AIR BYPASS LEAKS article link at upper page left).

WATCH OUT: if you have heating equipment in the garage or that depends on combustion air from the garage space there may be other hazards including insufficient combustion air and CO dangers.



Continue reading at ARTICLE INDEX to BUILDING DAMAGE, DISASTER, REPAIR or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Or see STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS where we discuss simple measurements of building or wall leaning, bulging, or bowing.

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