INterior passage door (C) Daniel Friedman Building Interior Defects List & Home Inspection Education
     

  • DEFECTS LIST - INTERIORS - CONTENTS: Home Inspection recommendations for building interiors including a building interior defects list. What does a home inspector need to know about interior components such as finish surfaces & materials of ceilings, walls, floors, doors, carpets, steps and rails? Home inspection training and education curriculum recommendations for interiors
  • BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS - separate article
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about home & building inspection courses, standards, & defect checklists for building interior spaces
  • REFERENCES

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This article lists significant building interiors defects, definitions, and home inspection education topics. 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.

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Home Inspection Education Curriculum - Interiors

9.0   BUILDING INTERIOR Inspections & Lists of Typical Defects

9.1   Knowledge Base for Inspecting Building Interiors

1.    Describe the function of floor, wall and ceiling finishes, trim, counters and cabinets, stairs, window skylights, solariums, and doors.

2. Describe these common flooring materials: wood, concrete, carpet, ceramic tile, resilient tile.  Describe these common wall finish materials: drywall, plaster, wood, masonry or concrete. Describe these common ceiling finish materials: plaster, drywall, wood, metal.

3. Distinguish between the characteristics of interior and exterior doors.

4.    List the materials and components of floors, walls, ceilings, trim, counters and cabinets, stairs, window skylights, solariums, and doors.

5.    Describe the features of  adequate installation and repair technique for floor finishes, wall finishes, ceiling finishes, trim, counters and cabinets, stairs, windows, skylights and solariums, and doors.

6.    Define the following interior finish terms:

      party wall, shadow effect, nail pop, baseboard, quarter round, casing, chair rail, plate rail, cornice molding, rosette, medallion

7.    Describe the following stair terms:

      tread width, rise, run, stringer, headroom, landing, winders, handrail, guardrail, balusters.

8.    Describe the following window terms:

      means of egress, glazing, low-e glass, gas filled window, single hung, double hung, casement, fixed, awning, hopper, jalousie,  slider, muntin, mullion, frame, sash, fill, drip cap, safety glass.

9.    Describe the following terms with respect to wet basements and crawlspaces:

      surface water, roof water, ground water, water table, cold pour, honeycombing, efflorescence, perimeter drainage tile, drainage membrane.

10.   Identify the codes or standards which apply to floor, wall and ceiling finishes, trim, counters and cabinets, windows, skylights, solariums and doors in your area.

11.   Identify the code or standards which apply to the protection of basement and crawlspace areas against moisture penetration in your area.

            Garage/house fire separation and firedoor??

9.2   Inspection Skills for Inspecting Building Interiors

1. Describe the inspection procedures for wall, ceiling and floor finishes, trim, counters, cabinets, stairs, windows, skylights, solariums and doors, and wet basements.

2.    Identify clues to wet basement problems. Describe frequency and severity issues, and four strategies for controlling moisture problems.

3.    Identify the common defects in the systems listed on the next page.

4.    Describe the implication of each defect.

5.    Identify the safety issues for the inspector and occupants of the house (fall hazard, trip hazard, injury due to broken glass, electrical shock, fire, illness due to molds).

6.    Communicate findings to client verbally and in writing, recommending corrective action where needed.


BUILDING INTERIORS, TYPICAL DEFECTS Lists: Walls, Floors, Windows, Doors, Trim Defects Lists

BUILDING FLOORING, FLOORS, Typical Defects

GENERAL Interior Floor Defects List

      • Absorbent materials in wet areas

      • Asbestos-suspect resilient tiles, vinyl tile, sheet flooring, mastics

      • Loose or missing pieces

      • Mechanical damage

      • Trip hazard

      • Water damage

CARPET ON FLOORS, Typical Defects

      • Buckled

      • Lifted at seams or edges

      • Mold, visible

      • Odors

      • Rot

      • Stains

      • Wet or evidence of flooding, sewer backups, water


CONCRETE FLOORS, Typical Defects

      • Cracked

      • Efflorescence

      • Heaved

      • Hollow below

      • Rusted re-bar  

      • Settled

      • Shaling, spalling

      • Slopes away from drain

      • Water on floor                               

 CERAMIC TILE, STONE, MARBLE, Typical Defects

      • Grout missing

      • Grout loose

      • Stains on tiles

      • Structural support inadequate, flexing floor, cracking loose tiles

      • Tiles loose

      • Tiles missing

      • Tiles worn

      • Tiles broken

      • Tiles cracked

      • Poor subfloor bonding or improper underlayments.  JDG

RESILIENT FLOORING, Typical Defects

      • Asbestos-suspect sheet flooring, resilient flooring

      • Discoloration from moisture

      • Lifted seams

      • Open seams

      • Split

WOOD FLOORS, Typical Defects

      • Buckled, bulged, lifted, loose

      • Exposed tongues

      • Rot

      • Squeaks, creaks, noisy

      • Stained

      • Warped

      • Water damaged, exposed to flooding

SUBFLOORING, Typical Defects

      • Concentrated loads

      • Damaged or cutPlywood in wrong orientation

      • Poor fastening (nailing, screwing, gluing)

      • Poor end support, cantilevered

      • Prior repairs

      • Rot, insect or fire damage

      • Sag or springy

      • Squeaks

      • Swollen waferboard     

BUILDING INTERIOR WALLS, Typical Defects


GENERAL INTERIOR DEFECTS List

      • Cracks                              

      • Efflorescence

      • Inappropriate finishes in wet areas

      • Mechanical damage

      • Mold

      • Stains that may indicate leaks, mold, pests, hidden damage

      • Truss uplift

      • Water damage

MASONRY OR CONCRETE WALLS, Typical Defects

      • Cracks                            

      • Efflorescence

      • Mortar missing or deteriorated

      • Spalling

BUILDING INSULATION, Typical Defects

      • Air/vapor barrier – missing, incomplete, wrong location

      • Mold, hidden water damage, pest damage, rot

      • Rodent, insect infested, contaminated

      • Sagging or voids

      • Too little


PLASTER OR DRYWALL, Typical Defects

      • Bulging

      • Crumbling or powdery

      • Loose or missing

      • Nail pops

      • Poor joints  

      • Shadow effect


WOOD WALLS, Typical Defecs

      • Cracked, split or broken

      • Loose

      • Rot


Building CEILINGs TYPICAL DEFECTS Lists

GENERAL Defects in Building Ceilings

      • Cracked, loose or missing sections

      • Mechanical damage

      • Stains

      • Truss uplift

      • Water damage

METAL CEILINGS, Typical Defects

      • Rust or loose

WOOD CEILINGS, Typical Defects

      • Broken, cracked or split

      • Buckled

      • Loose

      • Rot

PLASTER or DRYWALL CEILINGS, Typical Defects

      • Crumbly or powdery

      • Nail pops

      • Poor joints

      • Sag, cracked, loose, falling

      • Shadow effect

      • Textured ceilings in poor locations     

Interior Building TRIM, Typical Defects   

      • Loose

      • Mechanical damage

      • Missing

      • Rot

      • Water damage

COUNTERTOPS, Kitchen & Bath, ypical Defects   

      • Burned, cut or worn

      • Damaged, stained

      • Entire top loose

      • Grout loose or missing

      • Loose or missing pieces

      • Rotted substrate

      • Rust

      • Tiles loose, missing, cracked,

      stained or broken

      Painted at kitchen area


CABINETS, Typical Defects  

      • Broken or cracked glass

      • Defective hardware

      • Doors or drawers missing or loose

      • Drawers – missing or defective stops

      • Not well secured to wall

      • Other pieces missing or loose

      • Rot

      • Rust on medicine cabinets

      • Shelves not well supported

      • Stained, worn, damaged

      • Stiff or inoperative

      • Water damage  

WINDOWS, TRIM, List of Typical Defects   

GENERAL Window Defects

      • Air leaksor incomplete

      • Lintels sagging or missing

      • Water leaks

Window FRAMES

      • Deformation

      • Drain holes blocked or missing

      • Installed backwards

      • Racked

      • Rot

      • Rust                                 


EXTERIOR Window DRIP CAPS, Typical Defects

      • Ineffective

      • Missing

EXTERIOR Window TRIM, Typical Defects

      • Caulking or flashing missing, deteriorated, loose, rusting

      • Damaged, cracked or loose

      • Inadequate sill projection

      • Missing

      • No drip edge

      • Paint or stain needed

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

      • Rot

      • Rust

      • Sills with reverse slope

INTERIOR Window TRIM, Typical Defects

      • Cracked

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Poor fit

      • Rot

      • Stained

Window Sashes, Typical Defects

      • Antiquated, leaky, poor energy efficiency

      • Damaged

      • Inoperable

      • Loose fit

      • Poor weatherstrip

      • Rot

      • Rust

      • Sash coming apart

      • Stiff

      • Won’t stay open

Window Location Defects & Hazards

      • Sills too low on stairs or landing

      • Safety glazing required

      • Child fall hazards, guards needed

Window GLASS (GLAZING)

      • Broken

      • Cracked

      • Excess condensation

      • Loose

      • Lost seal on double or triple glazing

      • Missing

STORM Windows AND SCREENS

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Rusted

      • Torn or holes

Window HARDWARE, Typical Defects    

      • Broken 

      • Inoperable

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Rusted   

Windows as MEANS OF EGRESS, Typical Defects

      • Missing

      • Too small

EXTERIOR Window TRIM, Typical Defects [move this to Exterior Defects?]

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

      • Damaged, cracked or loose

      • Inadequate sill projection

      • Missing

      • Paint or stain needed

EXTERIOR Window DRIP CAPS & SILLS, Typical Defects

      • No drip edge

      • Putty (glazing compound) cracked, missing,

      • Sills with reverse slope

      • loose or deteriorating

      • Rot

      • Rust

      • Sill not well supported

      • Sill too low

SKYLIGHTS AND SOLARIUMS, Typical Defects   

      • Evidence of ice dams

      • Leak

      • Special glazing not provided

      • more than 15% off vertical


BUILDING DOORS, Lists of Typical Defects

GENERAL Door Defects

      • Air leaks     

      • Ineffective

      • Missing

      • Lintels sagging or missing

      • Water leaks

DOORS AND FRAMES, Typical Defects

      • Damaged

      • Dark paint on metal exposed to sun

      • Deformation

      • Delaminated

      • Drain holes blocked or missing

      • Inoperable

      • Installed backwards

      • Loose or poor fit

      • Plastic trim on metal door behind storm

      • Racked

      • Rot

      • Rust

      • Stiff

      • Swings open or closed by itself

      • Opens over a step     


EXTERIOR DOOR TRIM, Typical Defects [move this to Exterior Defects?]

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

      • Damaged, cracked or loose

      • Inadequate sill projection

      • Missing

      • Paint or stain needed

EXTERIOR Door DRIP CAPS & SILLS, Typical Defects

      • No drip edge

      • Putty (glazing compound) cracked, missing,

      • Sills with reverse slope

      • loose or deteriorating

      • Rot

      • Rust

      • Sill not well supported

      • Sill too low

INTERIOR Building Door TRIM , Typical Defects

      • Cracked

      • Doorstops missing or ineffective

      • Floor stained below

      • Guides and stops missing or damaged

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Poorly fit

      • Rot

      • Stained

Door GLASS (GLAZING), Typical Defects

      • Broken

      • Child guard needed?

      • Cracked

      • Excess condensation

      • Loose

      • Lost seal on double or triple glazing

      • Missing

      • Putty (glazing compound) cracked, missing,

      • Safety Glass Required

STORM Doors & Storm Door Screens, Typical Defects

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Rusted

      • Rusted

      • Torn or holes

GARAGE DOORS - MAN DOOR - Door Between Garagte and Building Interior

      • No self-closer

      • No 6 inch step down into garage

      • Not weatherstripped

      • Not fire rated or exterior type

      • Opens to bedroom

GARAGE DOOR HARDWARE, Typical Defects

      • Broken

      • Hinges on exterior

      • Ineffective

      • Inoperable

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Rusted  

Building Interior STAIRS, Typical Defects List

See STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS for full details about this topic

GENERAL Stair Defects

      • Mechanical damage

      • Rot

 

STAIR HANDRAILS, Typical Defects

      • Damaged

      • Hard to hold / grasp

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Too high

      • Too low

STAIR TREADS, Typical Defects

 

      • Excessive nosing 

      • Excessive span between stringers

      • Inadequately secured to header

      • Loose

      • Poorly supported

      • Pulling away from wall or treads

      • Rise excessive

      • Rise or run not uniform

      • Rot at bottom

      • Sloped

      • Stringers – too small

      • Stringers – excessive notching

      • Stringers – too thin

      • Thickness inadequate

      • Tread width too small

      • Winders – too big an angle

      • Winders – too many

      • Worn or damaged                        

Stair Balusters or Spindles, Typical Defects

      • Damaged

      • Easy to climb, horizontal

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Too far apart

Stair Landing or Balcony GUARDRAILS, Typical Defects

      • Damaged

      • Loose

      • Missing

      • Too low

FIRE SAFETY, Typical Defects

      • Missing smoke alarms

      • Missing CO detectors

      • Unsafe stairs, railings

      • Doors locked by interior key, no exit

      • Drywall missing or incomplete on underside of stairs

 STAIRWELL, Typical Defects

      • Drywall missing or incomplete on underside of stairs

      • Headroom inadequate

      • Too narrow

LANDINGS , Typical Defects

      • Missing

      • Too small

LIGHTING, over Stairs & Landings

     • Missing

      • Not controlled by three way switch

INTERIOR (WET BASEMENTS & CRAWLSPACES)

WET BASEMENTS AND CRAWLSPACES, Typical Defects & Trouble Signs

      • Auxiliary power for sump pump

      • Carpeting used on damp or wet basement floors

      • Cold pours in concrete walls

      • Crumbling plaster, drywall or concrete walls

      • Damaged storage

      • Dampness on floor or walls

      • Dehumidifier in basement

      • Drainage membrane

      • Efflorescence

      • Floor drain at high spot

      • Floor patched around perimeter (drainage tile system?)

      • Floor drain missing

      • Honeycombing in concrete

      • Loose floor tiles

      • Mildew

      • Mold

      • New d & roofing material

      • Odors

      • Peeling paint

      • Peripheral drain

      • Poor gutters and downspouts (control of roof water)

      • Poor grading (control of surface water)

      • Recent exterior excavation

      • Rot

      • Rust

      • Spare pump on hand

      • Stains

      • Storage kept off floor

      • Sump pump operating continuously

      • Sump full

      • Trough at wall/floor intersection

      • Wall cracks with water stains

      • Water marks

      • Water on floor


INSULATION – BASEMENT DEFECTS

      • Air/vapor barrier missing,

      • incomplete or in wrong location

      • Exposed combustible insulation

      • Incomplete

      • Missing at rim joists

      • No moisture barrier on basement walls

      • No moisture barrier on earth floor

      • Sagging, loose or voids

      • Too little

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