After reading the many horror stories of unethical contractors doing shoddy work on remodels, I felt obliged to show you all some of the horrors I’ve seen while inspecting newly constructed houses. Countless times I’ve found serious hazards on a new home inspection that has been cleared by the city code inspectors, let’s start with the exterior…

Raise the roof, you just bought a house!
No not in the party sense of the word, more like you’re going to need an entire roof restructuring. I’ve seen shingles installed incorrectly, the pitch insufficient for draining water, gutters either not bit enough, gutters hung too low or high on the eves and skimping on the flashing which all lead to water damage and mold.

To choose a roofing contractor, you’ll want as much information as possible. Ask for references from suppliers, run a background and credit check, and don’t go with a company that charges a much lower amount than the competitors. Ask the contractor for their proof of liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation documentation because the disreputable contractors won’t be happy you asked.

A basement doomed to flood from the start.
The cause for a basement predetermined to collect moisture could be caused by many things that a “contractor from hell” might do. It could start with carelessly grading the property. The soil should be carefully graded with a bulldozer so that water will naturally flow away from the house.

Another potential oversight is the poor use of gutters and downspouts. Gutters and downspouts are essential in directing water away from the base of the house as well, which can be neglected on a rushed construction site.
The failure to lay the correct fill material in the foundation of the house is yet another potential problem. A heavy layer of free-draining backfill, such as loose gravel, cushions the foundation walls and promotes water flow downward rather than horizontally. A good contractor will do all of these things to protect the basement from flooding.

Wild electrical wiring
Apart from the fact that this could burn your house down at any moment, electrical wiring is a costly mistake some contractors make. Exposed electrical wires can be damaged which can start fires and even electrocute inhabitants. A home inspector will know when looking through the house if any wiring has been done poorly which leaves a home scattered with defective outlets, rundown electrical connections, mismatched connections (swapped hot and cold water), and many wires too small for the intended use.

With all of the mistakes that some contractors make too often to speed things along, it’s best to do your research to find the best contractor available in your area and get all plans in writing. If you are purchasing a newly constructed home, an in-depth home inspection is essential to a good investment and a safe future.

Preston Sandlin is a proud member of NCLHIA and Charlotte Regional Realtors Association. He is owner and founder of Home Inspection Carolina (HomeInspectionCarolina.com) which has allowed him to inspect thousands of homes in Charlotte, North Carolina and all of the surrounding counties. Preston gives seminars on termites, radon, and thermal imagery while teaching home inspection classes.

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