Efflorescence

WHAT ARE THOSE POWDERY WHITE AREAS ON MY BRICK WALLS?

efflorescence

Efflorescence is one sign that is often dismissed as just being an eyesore and is given surface treatment only. This is the presence of the white powder that forms on the face or surface of concrete, plasterwork and brickwork.

It is a cause for concern!

Efflorescence is a build-up of minerals and salts on the surface of the concrete, brick and plasterwork due to repeated bouts of excess water in the material. The minerals and salts that naturally occur in the material are dissolved when the brickwork, plasterwork or concrete is waterlogged with water.

Concrete, pavers, brickwork and plasterwork are porous and can absorb or wick water and draw salts to it like a tree transports water from its roots to its leaves. This is capillary action. When efflorescence happens, it can indicate a moisture issue that could potentially damage the structure.

When water reaches a building material’s surface, evaporation will occur. Water absorption and wicking will continue after the water evaporates and the salt is left behind. This eventually creates a high salt concentration, leading to osmosis.

What is Osmosis

Simply put, osmosis in building materials is the movement of water from a region of low salt concentration to a region of high salt concentration in the material.

During osmosis, when water moves toward salts and minerals to reduce its concentration, it can cause large hydrostatic pressures within the porous building material. As a result, these pressures can damage or destroy the material.

Osmosis can cause pressure that ranges up to 200 bar, exceeding the structural strength of concrete. Therefore, osmosis may result in porous building material cracking, flaking or falling apart.

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100 things to do in South Africa

A very interesting and informative website

travel

I thought I would travel to a different topic for a change!

I suggest you have a close look at the website called Jen Reviews. Amongst other very interesting sections, it has a travel section with the “100 Best Things to do in South Africa“!

I have been to most of the entertaining and interesting things in South Africa. However, I now see that there are some that I have missed! Before I left for my trip, thankfully, I went through multiple reviews of various products, as doing that really helped me grab all the best essential products or the trip.

The Swartberg Pass, Ukhuthula in Brits, the daisies in the Namaqua National Park and Tswaing Soutpan Meteor Crater are a few that I still must visit. 

Have a look at Jen’s website. You will find places in that list that you will need to put on your bucket list!

There’s a lot more than just travel!

Continue reading “100 things to do in South Africa”

Cracks and how to handle them

Don’t Panic when your house cracks!

cracks

Most homes develop cracks. Old and new homes can develop cracks as well depending on climatic and physical factors.

However, it is worth getting to the bottom of what is causing the cracking. A crack is actually the visible symptom of a possible problem and not the problem in itself.

What causes cracks?

New homes

In new homes, settlement may cause minor cracks. Normal foundation settlement occurs when the underlying soil compacts as a result of construction on previously undisturbed soil, changes in soil conditions and moisture. Typically small, hairline-sized cracking may be the result of a minor settlement, expansion and contraction, or changes in a season or cycle.

Usually, these defects, though often unsightly, are not structurally significant.

Thermal movements between different materials

Different materials such as timber, bricks, steel, concrete etc. have different coefficients of linear expansion. In other words, the differing materials contract and expand differently. This causes stresses in structures where they are combined and may cause cracks to form. The best way to combat these defects in plasterwork is to provide a joint between the different materials.

Older homes

In older homes, changes in climatic conditions can affect the structure. Houses move with the climate. Heat and moisture will make them expand, and cold and dryness will make them contract slightly. This movement is normal and in most cases will not cause cracking. Unusually hot or cold spells can result in increased expansion or contraction of the structure which may cause cracks.

The rise or fall of the water table in very dry or very wet conditions can also affect the house’s foundations.

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Home Buyers Inspection

buyers inspection

Home Buyers Inspection

buyers inspection is a comprehensive home inspection
A Home Buyers Inspection is a comprehensive inspection or critical inspection for all home buyers who are considering buying a new or secondhand home. Without one, you are definitely at RISK!

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Why you need a Home Inspection

Buying property with the “voetstoots” clause in the Offer to Purchase puts you at risk. As a result, you should have a home buyers inspection which is a comprehensive inspection or a critical inspection and report with marked photos of the defects!

Furthermore, if you later discover expensive structural and maintenance faults with your new property, it can be heartbreaking. As a result, you either fix the faults at your own expense, or you go the legal route.

That is why the PPRA (Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority) advises all prospective property buyers to have a Home Buyers Inspection.

At THE HOME DETECTIVE, I specialise in providing professional comprehensive home inspections for buyers. In fact, my detailed inspection report will help you to make an informed decision on whether to buy or not.

A timely home inspection can also save you expensive litigation post-purchase. Moreover, I am here to help you make the right purchasing decision. Unlike sellers and estate agents who do not have your interests at heart.

What does it include? 

When you choose me to carry out your home buyers inspection, I will carry out thorough, detailed buyers home inspection. I look at a variety of different facets, from top to bottom, including:

  • Roofing
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • All walls
  • Structural integrity (roof and structure)
  • Heating and cooling
  • Plumbing, electrical and gas
  • The condition of the property’s exterior space (stand and property walls)

Inspection report

Upon completion of the physical inspection of the property, I will compile an extensive and detailed home buyers inspection report. The comprehensive inspection report will be available within 3 working days of the inspection.

I am an internationally certified home inspector. I work within the strict Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the Internation Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

With my experience, I’m in a unique position to provide you with a highly professional, home buyers home inspection report.  As a result, you can rely on the information in the comprehensive report before you buy your home.

I am passionate about helping people find a structurally sound home.  Furthermore, I will ensure that you have as much information as possible about a property before you buy it. Therefore, this will make your purchasing decision easier and take the stress out of the transaction.

Also, my home buyers inspection and the report will not cost you an arm and a leg. In short, my fee is a fraction of the purchase price of the property you wish to buy!

Finally, don’t forget to put an inspection contingency in your “Offer to Purchase”.

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Comprehensive Home inspections

Inspection Types

home inspections

Home Inspections in Gauteng

building and home inspections
The HOME DETECTIVE offers different types of home inspections to suit every client!

Home Inspections:

Because of my experience and training, I offer SEVEN different types of home inspections or property assessments to suit the needs of home buyers, home sellers, homeowners, business owners, landlords and those of you thinking of building or extending your home.

All my residential and commercial property inspections are in full accordance with InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice for residential and commercial properties, and InterNACHI’s Code of Ethics.

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1)    Comprehensive Home Inspections

This is the most popular home inspection. My Comprehensive Inspection and Report covers every aspect of the property, including all finishes.

There are 6 different types of comprehensive inspection depending on your inspection requirements. This can be inspections for previously owned homes, new homes or existing homes or properties.

a) Home-buyers inspection or buyers inspection

Buying a home is one of the most important and expensive transactions you can make.

A professional home inspection can help you optimise your investment by identifying issues before you finalise the purchase and price of your new home. This inspection will save you money in the long run and prevent the stress associated with such a large investment.

Importantly, with this purchase, you must remember to insert a home inspection contingency in the Offer To Purchase and negotiate a contingency period with the seller.

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b) New home Inspection or Snag Inspections

Also known as a punch or snag list

Before moving into a newly built home the need for a professional home inspection cannot be more important!

A home inspection (snag list) is performed to validate the finishes and condition of your home’s components. In addition, the snag list can be done prior to you taking occupation or during the 90-day patent defect period after you have taken occupation.

Follow up inspections are also provided if required.

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c) Maintenance Home Inspections

A Home Maintenance Inspection is just like the Comprehensive Home inspection you can have before you buy a home.

I will check out all the main systems of your home—roof, walls, foundation, air-conditioning, electrical, plumbing etc. In addition, I will flag anything that might be starting to malfunction.

I will uncover problems you have not noticed. I will detect the little signs that something is starting to go wrong. This may be small cracks, spots, uneven wear, or fixtures such as a geyser reaching the eventual end of it’s live. Furthermore, I will also make you aware of the regular maintenance you should be doing in your house.

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d) Home Sellers Inspection or Seller’s inspection 

A sellers inspection of your home can help you sell it easier, faster and potentially more profitable. It is also a great marketing tool!

Rather address issues at the front end than waiting until negotiations begin because it can result in lower offers, delayed closing or lower selling price.

Furthermore, a sellers inspection has the added advantage of being your seller’s disclosure!

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e) Rental Home Inspections

Having a Rental Inspection Report as part of a written tenancy agreement is advantageous to both the landlord and tenant.

Rental Housing, Unfair Practices Regulations and Consumer Protection Acts, dictate the practice around home inspections and the refund of the damages deposit.

Both the landlord and the tenant must undertake both ingoing and outgoing inspections as required by The Rental Housing. However, if either party is unable to attend, they may send an assigned representative on their behalf.

Landlords or rental agents who have not conducted a property inspection when the tenant takes occupation will not be able to take any action in the event that the rental unit has been damaged during the course of the rental period.

Generally, a landlord or rental management agent will be able to withhold the rental deposit to mitigate any financial cost of repairing any damage to the rental unit. However, if no property inspection was done beforehand, they will not be within their legal rights to do so and will have to absorb the full cost of the repair. Therefore, it is advisable for landlords to also undertake a midterm inspection approximately halfway through the tenancy agreement in order to monitor the state of the property and intervene early if there is any breach or damage.

If contracted, I provide the initial, midterm and follow-up inspections when tenants are leaving and new tenants are occupying the premises at a very affordable fee structure.

However, I only perform rental inspections in the Pretoria and Centurion area to keep them affordable to landlords.

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f) Commercial Property Inspections

Whether you are considering buying or renting a commercial property it advisable to have a Commercial Property Inspection. As part of your “due diligence”, I can provide you with a detailed evaluation of the condition of the building and its components. Furthermore, I will make recommendations regarding maintenance and improvements.

I offer commercial property inspections of:
  • apartment buildings
  • restaurants
  • office buildings
  • warehouse facilities
  • small manufacturing facilities
  • retail stores
  • shopping centres

My commercial property inspections include a comprehensive evaluation of all major components of the building. For example, this includes the structure, roof, electrical system, interior and exterior elements, heating & cooling systems, plumbing and more.

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2)    Critical home inspections

Critical Home inspections are for both buyers and sellers. The critical inspection costs about ¾ of the price of a comprehensive inspection.

A critical home inspection is for the budget-conscious, homebuyers and sellers who only require that the major components of the home be inspected! Consequently, I only focus on the critical components of a home which are the roof, structure (inside and outside), windows and doors, and electricity and plumbing installations.

A critical inspection includes unsafe, functional or structural issues which, in my opinion, requires prompt remedial attention to preserve the safety, functional or structural integrity of the home or major installation.

Such issues are frequently NOT plainly obvious to any observant layman after carefully viewing the property.

These include structural cracks in walls, ceilings and floors, or damp, roof leaks, illegal or unsafe geysers, windows or door issues and unsafe electrical and gas installations. In addition, I also report surface drainage, vegetation and foliage issues which may affect the structure adversely.

Other external elements such as boundary and yard walls, the site, swimming pools driveways, walkways, carports, garden sheds etc. do not form part of the critical inspection. Furthermore, the internal wall, floor and ceiling finishes are only inspected for signs of damp or staining from moisture intrusion or for structural issues. Furthermore, cupboards and counters are only inspected for moisture intrusion.

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3) Walk Through Inspections

A walkthrough is not a formal home inspection.  It is an informal inspection. As a result, I perform a visual walkthrough inspection of the home and provide you with comments summarizing my observations. Furthermore, my comments will be nothing more than a subjective summary of my initial observations during the walk-through.

What is involved in a walkthrough inspection?

A walkthrough requires, on average, about the same time as a comprehensive inspection (1½ to 3 hours depending on house size). Moreover, you can ask questions and take notes while I explain the defects.

Because a walkthrough is less formal, I do not adhere to the InterNACHI Standards of Practice. If you are present at the walkthrough I do not generate a written report of any kind.  I simply communicate my observations orally to you. You make your own notes during the inspection. In this way, you save time and money because there is no written report at the end of the inspection.

Furthermore, because it is an informal inspection, an inspection of this type is also very affordable.

However, you will need to sign an InterNACHI Walk-Though Inspection Agreement before the walkthrough. This is to protect me against liability as a result of deviating from the requirements of the InterNACHI Standards of Practice for Home Inspections.

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4) Itemised Limited Home Inspections (Single Component Inspections)

I often receive calls from clients who are looking for a home inspection for a single component in the home. For instance, this can be roof leaks, bulging ceilings, or damp problems and so on.

A single component inspection is also the cheapest inspection, starting from R1500.00 depending on where you are in my inspection area. Moreover, if you want more components inspected at the same time, this will only cost an additional R750.00 per component

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5) Building progress inspections

If you are building your own home or alterations and extensions are being constructed this is the inspection for you.

Building progress inspection can be performed on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly basis or at the start and finish of specific construction activities such as brickwork, roof erection, plastering etc.

Furthermore, pricing is negotiable depending on the number of inspections you require.

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6) Muti unit inspections

A multi-unit inspection is normally for more than 4 units and is regarded as a commercial property inspection.

For this type of inspection the following options are available:

a) Critical area inspection

  • Plumbing for leaks, drainage and hot water.
  • A representative number of windows and doors
  • Structure (exterior and interior) including roof from the ground and at least one point at the eaves on a ladder (where applicable and practical).
  • Stove and other fixtures (air conditions etc.) not forming part of an Electrical CoC.
  • Presence damp and mould in ceilings and walls.
  • Safety hazards.

The units’ common areas are not inspected unless it is specifically requested!

b) Sampling comprehensive inspections

A sampling formula of comprehensive inspections of a random number of units between 20% and 50% of the units you wish to invest in, where it is not feasible to inspect every unit. This will include an equal balance of older and newer units, and different floors if the blocks are multi-storied ( equal number of ground top, and intermediate floors).

A comprehensive report on the units will be provided for every unit inspected. The units’ common areas are inspected.

c) Sampling critical area inspections

A sampling formula of the type of inspection detailed in the critical area inspection option with a random number of units between 20% and 50% of the units you wish to invest in where it is not feasible to inspect every unit. In addition, this will include an equal balance of older and newer units, and different floors if the blocks are multi-storied ( equal number of ground top, and intermediate floors).

I will not inspect common areas in this case!

d) Your choice of specific items and number of units

Your choice of specific items and/or the number of units you wish to have inspected.

NOTE: I do not recommend options b, d or c as unsafe, damaged or problem units can slip through the net that may be expensive to bring to standard.

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7)   Damp and Mould Home Inspections

It is advisable to carry out mould inspection when you suspect you might have a mould problem in your property. Moreover, I strongly recommended that you have your property professionally inspected when you experience sleep loss, breathing difficulties (shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or respiratory irritation). Also, you may also experience neurological difficulties (headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea).

If your house is already suffering from obvious mould contamination such as parts of the wall or ceiling, an inspection is essential. My mould inspection will identify and confirm the true extent of the problem and provide a recommendation on how to rectify it.

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8)    Termite Inspection

If there are signs of termites in your garden or you are in a known termite problem area you should regularly have your home inspected for a termite infestation.

They might be in your built-in cupboards, the floor skirtings or in your roof. Therefore, my termite inspection will identify and confirm the extent of the problem and damage. I will provide recommendations on how to rectify it.

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 Inspected Once, Inspected Right!®

SEE WHERE I INSPECT IN GAUTENG!

THE HOME DETECTIVE » Comprehensive Home inspections

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