What is not included in the home inspection?

There is a lot of confusion in the general public as to what exactly is included in a home inspection. Unfortunately, home inspectors are not able to see behind drywall, nor are we authorized to remove sections of wall without the home-owners written consent. Because of this, home inspections are considered to be visual and non-invasive. This simply means we canít inspect what we canít see. We also canít see behind large furniture items, or inspect items which are blocked from our access. While it may seem simple to slide a couch or dresser in order to see behind it, what if the dresser is an antique and is damaged, or if the hardwood floor is scratched by the couch because it didnít have protective padding under the legs? Likewise, moving stored items to inspect basement walls for damage to concrete could lead to breaking stored items, possibly family heirlooms.

A home inspection is not exhaustive in the sense that it cannot cover 100% of the components of a house. If a basement is completely drywalled and has flooring, it would be nearly impossible to examine for moisture or structural damage without damaging the flooring or wall finish. While it would be nice to be able to see through walls, buyers must be aware of the limitations of a home inspection.

It is also important for potential buyers to understand that home inspectors are generalists, not specialists. We are knowledgeable in the various house systems, but are not experts in everything. As such we offer an overview of the current status of a house, but are not able to make any predictions as to what the future may hold.

Understanding the limitations of a home inspection will contribute to a more positive experience for buyers and home inspectors, and will help to avoid misunderstandings.

Do you walk the roof?

While inspecting the roof of a house, we will walk on it if it is safe to do so as this is the best way to determine the quality of the roof covering and to determine if it has sustained any damage. Walking on the roof will also test the structural integrity of the roof sheathing underneath the shingles. However, we will not walk on any roof if, in the opinion of the inspector, it is unsafe to do so. The following situations constitute an unsafe situation:

-snowy, icy or wet conditions (anything that causes the roof material to become slippery)

-shingles that are so badly deteriorated that they will break under the weight of the inspector

-steep pitch roof, which prevents solid traction

-metal, tile or clay roof

-2 storey roof (in most cases there is a lower section of roof that can be inspected)

Are your home inspectors licensed?

All home inspectors in Alberta are required to be licensed under the Alberta Fair Trading Act. We are fully licensed by the Province of Alberta and are certified through the Alberta chapter of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, which is the largest governing body of home inspectors in North America and certifies home inspectors around the globe.

Will you recommend repairs and provide estimates?

To avoid potential conflicts of interest, home inspectors are not authorized to provide estimates on potential repairs, nor are we able to recommend contractors.

Can I call you with questions after I move into my home?

Absolutely! Our service doesn’t end the moment we put the inspection report in your hand. This is especially true if your inspection is in the winter when snow prevents a proper inspection of the roof and lot grading. Once the snow disappears, give us a call and we’ll come back at no extra cost. If you have any questions regarding your home after the inspection, you are always welcome to give us a call or send us an email.

Do you use thermal imaging?

The use of thermal imaging is a hot topic right now in the home inspection industry. Some inspectors use it as their main selling feature, while others don’t use it al all. At Fortified, we use thermal imaging as a supplement to the home inspection, not the main focus of it. Our home inspections follow the InterNACHI Standards of Practice (available here), and use thermal imaging in high risk areas (around doors, windows, skylights & ceilings) as a supplement to the main inspection.