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Location Can Dictate Maintenance Chores

While some maintenance issues, such as poor drainage, leaky roofs and old plumbing are common to all areas of the country, location is a driving factor for many home maintenance issues.

That means where you live will often dictate the maintenance chores you can expect to perform, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors the foremost national trade group on the subject.

‘At ASHI, we work closely with our members to identify maintenance issues and track regional defects that plague homeowners,’ said Brion Grant, 2008 ASHI president.

Region-by-region, based on tens of thousands of ASHI member inspections around the nation, here’s where to expect what chores you’ll have to consider.

Northeast — Framing issues are a top concern here, particularly underframing, or the presence of undersized and or over-spaced beams in a home’s framing. A prevalence of fire retardant-treated plywood, often in attics, has become an issue in newer homes in this region, especially in town homes. When the plywood reacts to high temperatures it becomes structurally unsound and can crumble, creating a safety hazard for roof inspectors or others walking on the roof.

Older homes’ modern heating equipment can cause condensation to form in older chimneys that weren’t designed for low-flue gas temperatures. That can cause water stains, efflorescence and deterioration of the chimney.

Southeast — The heat of the sun can deteriorate materials more quickly than in other parts of the country. Roofs with a 30-year life expectancy may survive only 15 years in the Sunshine State of Florida. Termites thrive here too. Be on the lookout for subterranean cellulose eating insects and flying drywood termites too, especially if your house is 20 years old or older.

Midwest — Water intrusion is a common issue in the Flood Belt. Likewise expect wood rot in trim and siding. The proliferation of basements also makes the region a hot spot for water and moisture intrusion. Water heaters double as both a furnace and water heater, but plumbers forget to attach venting fixtures or drains when new water heaters are installed. Expect plumbing problems. Incorrectly added decks also show up repeatedly as an area of concern.

Northwest — Overworked drainage systems, exterior flashing component problems and poor exterior grading makes moisture intrusion a problem in the Northwest. Look for standing water in basements and crawl spaces. Topography and heavy rainfall are also issues. Homeowners who live in houses built on slopes should contact a geotechnical engineer or similar expert to identify potential soil settlement problems.

Southwest — The desert Southwest has the same hot sun problems experienced in the Southeast. Roofing, vinyl windows and siding take the brunt of the heat. Expansive soils can also create upward structural pressure caused by water build-up under the foundation.

Said Gant, ‘Many of these issues, if left unexamined, could undermine the condition and possibly compromise the safety of the home and its occupants.’

ASHI’s report is in line with Quality Built’s study of home inspections of homes built by 900 different home builders in 27 states.

In 2005, after the risk management services company gathered the inspection results on nearly 21,000 newly built single-family homes and more than 11,000 newly built multifamily homes, the three most common problems it found were defects in the building envelope (41 percent), which could lead to moisture intrusion and mold; framing and structural elements (34 percent), which can affect a building’s integrity during rough weather conditions or earthquakes; and in the plumbing and electrical systems (8 percent).

Written by Broderick Perkins for www.RealtyTimescom. Copyright