Knox Inspection Services, Inc. sketch by Geoff Evans
Knox Inspection Services, Inc.
1410 South Terrace Drive
[1 block west of 15th and Lewis]
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Phone: 918.744.8128
Fax: 918.744.5669
Toll Free: 800.875.5474

Maintenance  Tips  for  the  Homeowner

The information on this page was developed from thousands of property inspections and many other sources of information.
If applied, these tips may save you thousands of dollars during your ownership and when you sell!
MOISTURE INFILTRATION(into Air Ducts below floor slabs, Crawl Spaces, or Basements):
All areas located below the finished exterior surface of the soil are subject to moisture infiltration from surface rain water runoff, or the natural migration of moisture through the soil into sub-surface voids.  Water entering air ducts that are below grade (soil surface around the foundation) is a defective condition.  If "corrected," the past evidence, including deterioration of the ducts, is often still present making it almost impossible to determine if the "correction" was effective during periods of sustained precipitation and saturated soils.  Only the Homeowner knows for sure how the "correction" performed.  Air duct repair lining has become an effective solution if the water is kept out.  If you suspect a problem of moisture infiltration into your sub-slab air ducts, the compartment below the furnace, (plenum), is a good place to start looking.  Access to the plenum requires a professional service person to open and properly reseal the compartment.  Moisture into the Crawl space and Basement can be serious to the home and your health.  Testing for Mold Spores may provide answers before closing. Water problems must be solved before there is permanent damage.
Many parts of Oklahoma have soils which are referred to as expansive or active.  This type of soil generally contains
clay minerals which expand and contract depending on their moisture content.  Exterior and interior cracks are normal conditions for homes located in active soil areas.  Changes in soil moisture content may cause the foundation to uplift during wet periods and deflect downward during dry periods.  Foundations built over such soils are expected to
undergo these movements without affecting the structural adequacy or the load-carrying capacities of the foundation,
floor slab, or structural members.  Movement in these components may result in cosmetic deficiencies in walls, ceiling
joints, etc., supported by the foundation, but does not necessarily indicate a structural defect.  Improper homeowner
maintenance can adversely affect the performance and structural integrity of a foundation constructed on active soils.
Good site drainage designed to avoid standing water near the foundation has a stabilizing effect.  Perimeter roof
guttering that discharges the water well away from the foundation and encourages the water to run off site is best.
During dry periods the soil moisture can be maintained by adding water evenly and slowly next to the foundation.
Cracks and Gaps that continue to re-appear and essentially get wider are of concern.  Cracks and Gaps that re-appear
after cosmetic repairs but change little, or only change a minor amount seasonally (open and close), are usually the
result of moisture changes in the supporting soil and do not often result in structural deficiencies.  Constant soil moisture is the best long term maintenance tool to minimize foundation activity.
Most properties have either a Wood shingle or Asphalt-Fiberglas composition roof surface.  The very best and longest
lasting maintenance technique for the roof surface is good attic ventilation.  Attic heat does more to shorten the life and weather resiliency than any other factor of a properly installed roof.  Tree limbs in contact with the roof surface, and walking upon the roof surface, are both very detrimental and will quickly result in damage.  Wood and composition roof surfaces are both rated in this region to last about 15 years.  Many of the roof surfaces on which we recommend routine maintenance may be uninsurable for hazard insurance purposes, particularly if the surface is more than 10 year old or has minor weather related damage.
The masonry veneers require repair of the small cracks that typically appear in the mortar joints.  If the masonry veneer has become “loose” it may become necessary to reattach the veneer to the wall framing.  In some extreme cases
removal and replacement may be necessary.  The veneer is not a structural component of conventional construction
techniques, and therefore is a maintenance concern.  This is particularly important when veneer repairs follow
structural improvements to the property.  The repairs then become the basis for judging future structural activity in the repaired areas of the structure.  Natural wood and composite siding require painting and or sealant applied periodically to maintain the integrity of the siding material.  Good paint over bad materials is not an acceptable method of repair, though often observed.  The Wood Infestation Report will identify damaged wood when detected.  Exterior locations that often require repair include; window sills, base trim of exterior walls, the edges of the roof trim, (particularly behind the guttering), bottoms of wood columns, and lower panels of garage doors.  The Structural Inspection may not identify all the areas of deterioration unless there is loss of structural and load bearing capacity.  Vinyl siding over natural wood can hide deterioration that is detectable only when the siding was installed, or if the siding is removed for Inspection or repair.  EIFS veneer requires evaluation by an experienced inspector to check for moisture beneath the surface.

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The Knox Inspection Team
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Pre-Inspection Check List  | Pre-Closing Check List | After Closing
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 Glossary of Inspection Terms | FAQ| Maintenance Tips
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