Purchasing a new home is exciting, however, they are not always free of issues. During my days as a home inspector, I found items consistently during a warranty inspection. That’s why it is so important to ensure you are getting inspections by a third-party throughout the new construction process.
What is a Builder Warranty Inspection?
The 11-month warranty inspection is an inspection just before the builder’s warranty expires. In some cases, the warranty might extend until 2 years. This inspection is critical to finding defects in the home that might have happened during the home ownership process or were not found before.
Common Defect Findings Include:
- Improper Roof Vent Installation
- Missing Insulation
- Leaking Plumbing
- Loose Toilets
- Missing Grout
- Cracked/Damaged Shingles
- Minor cracks in the stucco
- Cabinet Damage
- Appliance Damage
- The list goes on…
There are times a warranty inspection might find water intrusion in several areas due to improperly installed flashing, yes I have had this happen several times.
Once a home inspector inspects the property, a homeowner can then turn their report over to the builder for repairs based on the home warranty.
Warranty Inspection Checklist
I have purposefully left some items out of this as they can be too difficult to explain/inspect without a professional.
- Examine around all windows, doors, and other penetrations for proper paint/caulk. Ensure weep holes are open and not covered.
- Ensure proper paint application and that a level of paint is adhered in all areas.
- Check for window damage and proper installation.
- Check for damaged soffits and make sure there are no gaps/cracks as this allows for pest intrusion.
- Check plumbing fixtures and electrical equipment/outlets.
- Inspect all stucco for cracking/damage.
- Check the functionality of the garage and that it reverses when hit with resistance and if something is in front of the sensor.
- Check for water staining, damaged walls/ceilings.
- Check the water heater for proper installation and for leaks.
- Check the Air Handler (if located here) for proper installation and leaks. A filter should be installed, the condensation line should be insulated, and there should be a float switch.
- Inspect walls, windows, outlets, floors, and ceilings for damage and functionality. I work rooms left to right and hug the walls.
- Inspect cabinets for damage and functionality.
- Inspect appliances for damage and functionality.
- Check light switches as you enter rooms.
- Check fans.
Bathrooms & Kitchens
- Check tub drainage.
- Check hot water functionality at all fixtures.
- Check underneath sinks for leaks.
- Ensure toilets do not continuously run and are not loose to the ground. (The bolts at the bottom should be secure).
- Check bathroom fans/vents.
- Check tiles/grout for cracks/damage. Small cracks can let a lot of moisture in overtime.
- Ensure all registers are blowing cold air when the A/C is on.
- Ensure all registers are blowing hot air when the heat is turned on.
- Check for damage at the A/C unit(s).
- I would generally advise homeowners not pull panel covers off. Leave it to a professional.
- Exercise all breakers.
- Exercise all GFCI’s.
- Exercise all AFCI’s.
- Check for proper water pressure at all sinks/faucets.
- Check for hot/cold water. Hot is left turn. Cold is right turn. Sometimes, these can be backwards.
- Check for leaks at any visible plumbing areas.
Inspect the roof only if you are willing, able, and know how to safely walk in an attic.
- Check for damaged trusses and any onsite alterations, such as, nailing/scissoring boards together.
- Check for insulation in all areas.
- Check for roof leaks.
Inspect the roof only if you are willing, able, and know how to safely walk a roofing system.
- Check for loose/missing/damaged shingles.
- Inspect vents/penetrations for proper installation and flashings.
- Inspect visible flashing.
- Inspect drip edge for damage.
Foundation & Drainage
In most cases, the foundation is not really visible and not a huge concern on new construction homes. However, we should remain vigilant in case we do see a crack of concern.
- Ensure grading is sloped away from home.
- Check for signs of flooding/ponding.
- Ensure vegetation is 6 inches away from the home.
- Mulch should not be in contact with the home. Leave a 4-6 inch gap with rocks or grass.
- Check the driveway and walkways.
If you are thinking about purchasing a new construction home, it is important to do your research into new construction inspections!