Termites, not just a Florida problem...

 Termite mud tubes and damaged joist

Termite mud tubes and damaged joist

We don't normally think of Michigan as "termite country" so when I began inspecting homes I was surprised at the amount of homes we have with visible termite damage. Over the last few years I would estimate that about 5-10% of the homes I inspect have evidence a termite infestation. So although the problem isn't as bad as our friends down south it is definitely something to be on the lookout for.  

When we find signs of termites its usually because of their mud tubes. They use build these mud tubes as tunnels to travel from food source to food source. Here are a few tips on what to look for when walking through homes: 

1- Garages are usually a pretty easy area to spot them since there is normally no insulation for termites to hide behind.

2- Rim joists in the basement near doorways. These areas usually end up getting some water and termites absolutely love wet lumber. 

3- The underside of the fireplace in the basement. The termites can usually sneak in behind the fireplace without being noticed. 

Although we are pretty good at spotting termites we have partnered with a professional pest company Rockwood Services and we can schedule them for a small additional fee to come out during the inspection time and inspect the home for any sign of termites and other wood eating organisms. 

Gutters and Grading - Two Indicators of a Wet Basement

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Living in the Midwest has its benefits; cheese curds, breweries, the great lakes, sand dunes, bike trails, hiking trails, among many other things. Yes we have to deal with the possibility of snow for 5 months of the year but we just wont talk about that. One benefit of the Midwest that usually isn't mentioned is the basement. Basements are great for storing junk, letting kids run around, additional bedrooms, extra living space, or if maybe even a man cave, den, or theater room.

As a home inspector I have noticed a pretty significant pattern. If you don't have gutters (or they are just draining at your homes foundation) and if your grading is wrong there will be most likely be moisture in your basement. Gutters are relatively inexpensive ($700-$1500) for seamless aluminum gutters. Grading is even cheaper all you need is a few yards of topsoil, yard tools and some elbow grease. 

Here is what I recommend when I see these issues while inspecting a home:

-Your home should have gutters around the entire perimeter and your gutter downspouts should extend out at least 5 feet from your foundation. 

-Your homes grading should be slopped away from your house at about 1/4 inch per foot. (Note: Wood chips/mulch do not count as grading!) 

Having these two things done correctly can help save you a lot of headaches and money in the long run! In some cases depending on the water table you may need a more drastic approach, however I always recommend starting with gutters and grading as they are in a lot of cases the culprit for allowing moisture in your basement! 

Sick of getting outbid on your Dream Home?

Last year the Grand Rapids area housing market was very competitive. It was not uncommon to have 10 to 15 offers on a house. Buyers were offering cash, going above asking price, writing letters to the seller and doing almost anything to get their dream house. It appears that 2018 will be more of the same! Most people don't think of a home inspector until after they have a signed contract, however we might be able to help get you that signed contract and your new dream home! No I cant give you $20,000 dollars cash to beat the other offers but I can help make your offer a lot more attractive to sellers!

We Offer The Best Home Inspection Guarantee!

As a member of InterNACHI®, Ink Home Services proudly offers the "We'll Buy Your Home Back" guarantee. Where if we miss anything listed on our Standards of Practice during the inspection, InterNACHI® will buy your home back. If you think it sounds too good to be true, well you better look twice! Here is the "fine print":