Inspections of Damaged Building Material
Wall to Wall Home Inspectors Examine Milwaukee Housing Materials
Wall to Wall professional home inspectors of southeast Wisconsin look for any signs of trouble in building materials, from normal wear and tear to evidence of insect or water damage. Minor damage to home construction materials may not affect the safety of a home, but they can be very expensive to repair. Through our inspections, this damage can be caught early and repaired at a lower cost.
We check the exterior and interior of your home for damage. The most frequent offenders are:
- Dry rot
- Wet rot
- Wood-boring insects
- Water damage
- Structural damage
Inspecting Wood for Signs of Rot
Dry rot is a fungus which consumes and digests wood cellulose, resulting in dry crumbly wood and a loss of structural integrity. Dry rot is a very serious problem because the true extent of the damage remains hidden from plain view, and can be difficult to spot.
Dry rot typically spreads over larger areas than wet rot because it doesn’t require moisture to grow. It can spread beneath floorboards, through lofts, and even behind plaster. Our experienced inspectors know where to look for signs of dry rot in homes, which vary widely in appearance depending on the stage of the fungal life cycle.
Signs of dry rot include:
- Timber decay
- Spore dust
- Hyphae (look like cobwebs)
- Mycelium (look similar to cotton balls)
- Fruiting bodies (look like mushrooms)
- Musty smell
Wet rot, while more noticeable than dry rot, is actually less severe. However it can still cause serious damage to homes. Wet rot can only grow and spread when supplied with moisture.
Common triggers of wet rot include plumbing defects, damaged roofs or gutters, and standing water. During home construction the lot needs to be graded for proper water drainage. If this is done improperly, standing water near the foundation can cause rot in the wood frame or even shifting or cracking of the foundation itself. Our inspectors will not only identify and evaluate the extent of any wet rot, they will discover the source of the water which allowed it to grow.
Once spores from the wet rot begin to grow, the affected timber is weakened. Tell-tale signs of wet rot are:
- Dank or musty odor
- Distorted, soft or cracking wood
- Visual evidence of fungal growth
Wood-boring insects common to Wisconsin include carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and powderpost beetles. Usually these insects don’t cause structural damage, however presence of these insects may be a sign of rot, which they eat.
Wisconsin is also home to Eastern subterranean termites, which can damage healthy wood. Termites thrive in damp, dark areas, and can nest inside walls anywhere water collects. Termites can enter through an opening as narrow as an eighth of an inch, and can travel beneath flooring to reach their food source—the timber framing your walls.
Our inspectors will look for signs of infestation, as well as any signs of wood destroying insect activity in the past. Even if termites are not present or active, the damage they caused may still require attention.
Masonry Inspection Determines Presence of Excess Water Damage
Efflorescence is a white powdery mineral and salt residue often found on brick, cement, and even stone. It forms when excess water soaks into the brick or concrete, dissolving minerals which then remain on the surface after the water evaporates.
Efflorescence is not a problem in and of itself other than giving your masonry an unsightly appearance, which may include crystals, stains, and fine dust. However efflorescence can indicate water damage, and should be carefully examined by an experienced home inspector to diagnose possible problems such as rot or mold.
Even a small leak in corroded or outdated plumbing can cause massive water damage given enough time. Other causes of excess moisture include damaged roofing materials, leaking windows, or bad gutters.
Identifying Mold during Home Inspection
Like rot, mold is a fungus. It spreads quickly through waterlogged materials and can be a result of flood damage if housing materials were not thoroughly dried out during restoration.
Mold survives in damp locations and is commonly found in poorly ventilated areas like attics and basements, but can also grow behind walls, floors, and ceilings. Even newly constructed homes are susceptible to mold damage, as tight seals can trap moisture and create an ideal climate.
Most mold is non-toxic, however some varieties can present a health hazard by causing respiratory problems, rash, and other symptoms. A qualified home inspector from Wall to Wall will explore all areas of the home to look for any indication of mold presence.
Understanding the Difference between Drywall and Plaster Damage
Cracks can form in drywall or plaster due to age and seasonal variations in temperature and humidity, but they may also indicate a structural problem. Our inspectors will determine if a crack is just cosmetic or something more serious.
Water can also damage drywall, plaster walls and ceilings. Water damaged drywall must be completely torn out and replaced due to risk of mold growth. Plaster is resistant to mold growth, but is still susceptible to cracking and buckling when exposed to excess water. Our professional home inspection service will determine the condition of wall covering materials and whether repairs are needed.
Wall to Wall Home Inspection Services for Wisconsin Home Buyers
Professional home inspectors from Wall to Wall examine all the housing materials from the shingles to the foundation. We understand how housing materials get damaged, and are committed to determining the full scope of the damage in a comprehensive report. Wall to Wall’s local Wisconsin home inspectors go above and beyond to provide our customers with the information they need to make a decision.