New homeowners may not know exactly what to look for during a home inspection. Curb appeal is more important than you might guess. Landscaping can make a huge difference in the value of a home. There are codes for everything, including sidewalks, driveways and poured concrete surfaces outside your home. Here’s what your home inspector should be looking for when inspecting poured concrete patios, sidewalks and driveways.
New homeowners should remember to look up, down and all around. A few cracks in the driveway may not bother you until you think about the cost of pouring a new one. Cosmetically, cracks in cement can bring down the value of a home. Larger cracks can cause injury as well. You and your home inspector should remember to check the condition of all poured concrete surfaces.
Improperly poured and leveled cement patios can buckle and break. This might be caused by shifting of the earth below. Buckling can also occur due to the age of the patio. To be sure, a buckling patio is an eyesore. It can also be a huge safety hazard. Tripping over and landing on a cement surface is dangerous. We had a buckling patio in the yard of the home we’re purchasing and insisted it be taken care of prior to closing.
Sometimes inspection issues are less than obvious but vital. Sloping a cement patio toward the house can cause major foundation issues. Why? Water runoff from the patio, driveway or walk can cause soil around the foundation to become wet. This can result in anything from leaks to a crumbling foundation. Your home inspector should check the slope of all poured concrete surfaces in close proximity to the foundation of the home.
Driveways constructed cheaply in years past may have been laid in two sections with a gap in between. There was just enough concrete surface for the wheels of a vehicle to roll on. The grass in between often turned to mud and had to be graveled in. Less concrete saved money but led to instability down the road. Full surface driveways are more stable and current with modern codes. Old style poured concrete driveways need to be repaired eventually. Due to code enforcement regulations, they often have to be converted to full size driveways when any work is done on them.