Home inspectors look at hundreds of homes every year, and boy, have they seen it all! They’ve seen every mistake from large to little and every bad home maintenance habit there is. Here are the most common DIY home maintenance mistakes inspectors find – and how you can avoid them.
1. Painting over water damage – Often, people try to paint over water damage without finding and fixing the cause of the damage first. This mistake can lead to rot, mold and even structural damage when the cause of the water damage isn’t addressed. This mistake is commonly found in showers, other parts of the bathroom and ceilings throughout the home (often in corners). Handle water damage the correct way! Fix the leak or cause, clean the stain, prime with stain-blocking primer and then repaint for a truly correct repair.
2. Improper weatherstripping – When not done properly, adhesive build-up can occur on surfaces where weatherstripping is applied. This can cause new installations of weatherstripping to not adhere properly and thus not provide the benefits of weatherstripping, such as energy savings, temperature consistency and preventing moisture from getting in. To do it properly, when you get ready to apply weatherstripping to your doors, windows and other gaps where air and moisture can get in, first begin by removing the old adhesive completely. Once the old adhesive is completely cleaned away, measure twice and cut once before you install your weatherstripping.
3. Not changing the HVAC filter – The longer you go between change-outs, the harder your system has to work and the more wear and tear you create. An overly dirty filter can also lead to debris getting into your duct system and making its way into your home for you to breathe. In climates like South Carolina’s, it is recommended to change the HVAC filter every other month or if you have pets or anyone in the home with breathing issues such as asthma, change the filter monthly.
4. Overlooking foundation cracks over 1/4″ – Cracks over 1/4 inch can lead to major flooding and water damage in your basement, crawl space or under your flooring. Inspect your foundation regularly for cracks and seal them with a crack-sealing spray or waterproofing paint. If any crack seems worrisome or appears to be widening, call a professional for help right away.
Home inspectors see home DIY maintenance gone wrong all the time. This list includes the top issues they see most frequently and how you can avoid them. A little extra time ensuring something is properly fixed will prevent further damage and avoid any unpleasant surprises during a home inspection.