Checkup for the Exterior

Phone - 406-656-8400
Fax - 406-656-0080
Mobile - 406- 671-5151



Maintenance Checklist


  • Grading and Drainage

Any system of grading or landscaping that creates positive drainage (moving water away from the foundation walls will help keep a basement dry.  Flower beds, loose mulch areas, railroad ties, and other landscaping items close to the foundation trap moisture and contributes to a wet basement.  To establish a positive grade, a proper slope away from the house is 1" per foot for approximately 5 to 6 feet.  Dirt should be 6" to 8" below wood surfaces and/or sill plates.  Trim back shrubberies that are close to the home.

  • Service Walks, Driveways, Patios

Any hard surface that is close to the house should be properly pitched away to direct water away from the foundation.  Replacement or mudjacking may be necessary to gain proper pitch.  Cracks should be filled to prevent damage from water and frost.

  • Exterior Wood Surfaces

All surfaces of untreated wood need regular applications of paint or special chemicals to resist rot.  Porch or deck columns and fence posts which are buried in the ground and made of untreated wood will rot within a year or two.

  • Balcony, Decks, Porches

It is recommended that any walking area that is over 2 feet off the ground have railings and balusters.  The spacing between balusters should be 4" or less for safety reasons.  Check floors and corner post for rot and proper installation.

  • Doors and Windows

These can waste an enormous amount of energy.  Maintain the caulking around the frames on the exterior.  Old caulk should be removed before applying new caulk.  Windows that have leaky storm windows will usually have a lot of sweating.  Well sealed storms that sweat indicate leaky windows.  It is the tighter unit that will sweat (unless the home has excess humidity to begin with).

Inspect all doors and windows for proper fit, chipped or peeling paint, cracked or missing caulk, and loose or missing putty.  Check for broken glass.  Small cracks in corners can be patched with silicone.  Inspect storms for weep holes, to allow water to drain from the sill.  Floor tracks on sliding doors should be cleaned and waxed.  Check weather-stripping at doors and windows for damage and to make sure it fits snugly.

  • Exterior Wall Surfaces

Brick and stone veneer must be monitored for loose or missing mortar.  Some brick and stone are susceptible to spalling.  This can be caused when moisture is trapped and a freeze/thaw situation occurs.  There are products on the market to seal out the moisture.

Inspect all painted surfaces thoroughly for peeling or cracked paint.  Wood that exhibits blistering or peeling paint should be examined for possible moisture sources such as roof leaks, bad gutters, interior moisture from baths, laundry rooms, or from a poorly ventilated crawl space.  Some paint problems have no logical explanation but many are a symptom of an underlying problem.  Localized blistering may be a clue to a cause.

Wood siding should not come into contact with the ground.  A clearance of 6" to 8" is recommended.

Metal siding will dent and scratch.  Oxidation is a normal reaction in aluminum.  There are good cleaners on the market, and it is recommended that they be used occasionally.  Metal siding can be painted.

Inspect siding for nail pops, warped boards, missing or broken mortar, and paint flaking or peeling.

Caution!  Homes built before 1978 are likely to have lead in the paint.  Check with your paint store for proper removal instructions.

Window sills are subject to severe exposure to sun and rain.  These should be maintained to prevent rot.

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National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.