A list of the common issues we tend to see
in houses within the Lower Mainland & the Fraser Valley.
Improper Surface Grading and Drainage
This was by far the most frequently found problem, reported on
35.8% of the survey reports. It is responsible for the most common
of household maladies: water penetration of the basement or crawl space.
With so much rain and moisture in the Vancouver area and Lower Mainland,
you need to have a strategy to move water away from your building.
Improper Electrical Wiring
A significant number (19.9%) revealed this item as a common home defect,
including; undersized electrical service to the house, inadequate overload
protection, and amateur, often dangerous, wiring connections.
Although reported on only 8.5% of the reports as the most common problem,
roof leakage, caused by old or damaged shingles or improper flashing, was found
to be a frequent problem.
Damaged Heating Systems
Problems in this category include broken or malfunctioning operation
controls, blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust disposal.
Even the novice home buyer is usually aware of this situation,
demonstrated by such signs as cracked, peeling, or dirty painted surfaces,
crumbling masonry, makeshift wiring or plumbing, and broken fixtures or
Many houses, as a result of problems in one or more of the other
categories, sustain damage to such structural components as foundation walls,
floor joists, rafters, and window and door headers.
Though never ranked from our reports as a Number One problem,
plumbing defects still rank high among the house problems encountered,
and include the existence of old or incompatible piping materials,
as well as faulty fixtures and waste lines with homemade or amateur
Flaws in a home’s exterior, including windows, doors, and wall surfaces,
are responsible for the discomfort of water and air penetration, but rarely
have structural significance. Inadequate caulking and/or weather-stripping
are the most common culprits. Poor Ventilation Perhaps due to overly ambitious
efforts to save energy, many home owners have "over-sealed" their homes,
resulting in excessive interior moisture. This can cause rotting and
premature failure of both structural and non-structural elements.
Underventilated attics are very common.
It is significant that within this list of ten problem categories,
at least four are directly related to the damaging effects of water.
It is apparent, therefore, that after a home is built (presumably in
a structurally sound manner), keeping water out is the homeowner's most
important - and continually challenging - objective.
It should be most clearly understood that the statistics relating
to electrical and plumbing problems, and roofing in particular, will
vary greatly depending upon regional climates and building codes, and
that this list, therefore, represents an average.
In addition, the age of a home plays a significant role in these
findings. In older, urban houses problems such as heating system failure,
inadequate electrical service, and worn plumbing can be found with much
greater frequency than reflected in this survey.
Survey response percentages were given only for the first three
categories because they were so high and statistically meaningful.
Items 4 through 10 were ranked significantly lower than the top three,
and vary regionally.
From our experience in the GVRD and surrounding area, after
years of home inspection experience, we can confirm that the above are
in fact the most commonly observed defects or issues encountered.