Roof Covering Materials, STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS

Proper Use of Ridge Shingles

The peak, or point of a roof is known as the ridge.  When applying shingles on a roof, there are a special type of shingle called a ridge shingle that should be used.  These shingles are typically a little thicker than normal shingles so they can withstand the bending without breaking or tearing.

The picture above shows properly installed ridge shingles.

Proper high quality ridge shingles also have extra adhesive to allow them to stay down more easily, and most come with a slight pre-bend at the angle of the ridge formed into them.  They also have a thicker nailing area which helps prevent tears and rips.

The picture above shows modified 3-tab shingles used as ridge shingles.

Shown above is regular 3-tab shingles, which would normally be used for flat surfaces, installed on the ridge vent.  Not only is this a lot of extra work for the installer, it is also highly likely that the shingles on the ridge will tear, rip, or leak before the rest of the roof.

Doors (Interior and Exterior), STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS

Double Sided Keyed Deadbolts

During a recent home inspection, I discovered a deadbolt installed at the front door which was keyed on the outside and the inside.  You may think that this type of deadbolt provides an extra layer of security, but this situation creates an egress issue during an emergency situation.

double sided deadbolt

The danger in this type of deadbolt is that if you need to quickly evacuate your house, you may be locked inside your own house.  Emergency situations include a fire, burgler, extreme weather event, etc.  You should be able to open all doors to the exterior without any special knowledge or the use of a key or tool.

To correct a double sided keyed deadbolt, a new deadbolt should be installed that is only keyed on the outside.  Leaving the key in the lock is not an acceptable solution, because the key will eventually be removed for one reason or another.  If you are worried about an intruder breaking a nearby window to gain access to the lock, you can install decorative metal grills over the window as a deterrent.

Here at Blue Star Real Estate Inspections you can rest assured that we have your best interests in mind.  Call 361-462-9018 today to schedule your inspection.

Doors (Interior and Exterior)

Garage Entry Door to House

This article is about the pedestrian door between the garage and the house, not the garage door that you drive your car through.

When an attached garage is present, there are a few things I look for when doing an inspection.  One of them is the entryway between the garage and the house.  Since dangerous fumes are produced by your vehicle’s exhaust, there should never be a door from the garage directly into sleeping rooms or bedrooms.  Carbon monoxide from your vehicle’s exhaust can be deadly.  To prevent fumes from entering the residence, a self closing device should be installed on the door which will automatically close the door after you have walked through.  The door should seal tightly and be weather proofed, and no “doggie doors” should be installed.  There should also be a minimum of 6 inches step-up between the garage and the living area of the house.  This is to help prevent dangerous fumes which gather near the floor from entering the house.

The chances that a fire starts in the garage are higher than any other area of your house.  For this reason, the door must be fireproofed.  This is accomplished by using a solid wood door that is a minimum of 1 3/8″ thick, a solid or honeycomb core steel door that is a minimum of 1 3/8″ thick, or a door labeled for 20 minute fire protection.


Here at Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services we have the knowledge and expertise to inform you of the conditions that you need to know about.  There are a lot of potential dangers out there, and we are here to help you identify them.  Call 361-462-9018 today to schedule an inspection.


Grading and Drainage

Proper Grading & Drainage

One of the most important systems regarding your house is the foundation.  In order to keep rainwater away from your foundation, the area around your house should be properly graded for the correct drainage.  In order to allow proper drainage, it is recommended that grading be provided at a 6 inch constant, gradual elevation decrease in the first 10 feet of horizontal distance away from the foundation.  This slope allows for rainwater to properly drain away from your foundation.  Grading should never be sloped towards the foundation.

The picture above shows flooding due to improper grading.

Sometimes, it is impossible to get the proper slope of 6 inches in the first 10 feet, because there is simply not enough room between houses.  In this case, a swale can be used.  A swale is just a lower elevation landscaping feature that acts as a valley or trough to manage rainwater runoff.  Swales are often used in between properties to direct water towards the street, where most storm water drains are located.

The diagram above illustrates how swales direct water away from a house.

At Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services, we have the knowledge to determine if the grading around your house is properly sloped.  Grading and Drainage is just one of the many things that we investigate to ensure that your home’s systems are functioning as they should be.  Call 361-462-9018 to schedule an inspection today.


Walls Interior and Exterior

Vegetation in Contact With Structure

A common occurrence that I see when doing inspections is trees, shrubs, or bushes in close proximity to the exterior walls of the structure.  I always recommend that vegetation be pruned back to a minimum of 18 inches from the structure.  If not, several problems can result.

vegetation on walls
The picture above shows vegetation in contact with the exterior wall.

On a windy day, trees can cause mechanical damage to the exterior of your house by wind-blown tree branches.  This damage can go undetected, because the tree is blocking your normal view of the house behind it.  Even if only the paint is removed, significant damage can occur over time due to water intrusion.

A house will not keep a large tree branch from growing into, around, or engulfing the structure.  Large tree branches can cause significant damage to a house if not kept in check.  Trees have been known to engulf nearby objects over time if left unattended.  While this is an extreme example, it shows the power of nature.  Plus, a large tree branch falling on your house will cause serious damage.

The picture above shows a tree which has engulfed an iron fence.  Imagine if a tree did this to your house!

In addition to the mechanical damage which can be done, there are other items to consider.  Tree leaves can clog your gutter system rendering them ineffective.  Bushes and shrubs can retain moisture and trap it against your home’s exterior causing significant damage.  They are also nice areas for insects, spiders, rodents, reptiles, and small mammals to hang out.  Remember, you should always clear any vegetation to a minimum of 18 inches from the structure.

When you call on Blue Star Real Estate Inspection Services to inspect your house, you can trust that we will have your best interests in mind.  Call today to schedule your inspection.  361-462-9018.