The primary functions of a home include providing a safe, habitable, functional living space that meets the living requirements of the occupants. To do this the home must remain functional in its environment during its economic life. Its components have to be able to survive the environment and control the effects on the occupants. Generally, this means what is considered weatherproofing the structure. Houses are first and foremost shelter. Their design must incorporate this concept from the inception. A house, no matter how beautiful and well sited, is of little use if it does not protect the occupants from weather events. Materials and products used in the structure are therefore designed to be resistant to weather, particularly rain, wind, and solar energy and to condition the space against extremes of heat and cold. But if the house is to last it must also be resistant to weathering, or the effects of weather on the structure. Failure to consider and incorporate effective design and materials in the construction of the home to be weatherproof and resist weathering results in the failure to satisfy the primary function of the home.
In New Jersey, home inspectors are required to make a visual inspection of various components of a home. The items that have to be inspected are regulated. A description of the component, defects in the component, ramifications of the defect, and recommendations to the buyer are required to be included in a written report. Inspectors are directed to include material defects in the report, but can also include non-material defects at their discretion. Material defects are defects that effect the value, safety, or habitability of the home. We will examine common defects in components including the roof, exterior cladding, windows, trim, and doors that present the first line of defense against weather and the existing conditions of these components that often indicate their ability meet their performance.
Over the course of several articles we will consider weather proofing and weathering resistance from the home inspection perspective.
Stephen J. Bittner, PE
Bittner Property Inspections, LLC