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Windows and Doors
Windows and Doors photos: P 119-P 118
Spot check the windows and doors by opening and closing all doors and at least one window in each room. Sometimes they'll be difficult to open and close due to excessive paint or settlement of the house. This is common, so just notify the client about it. It's also common to find minor settlement cracks around window and door frames. You will see thin cracks extending from the corners of the door and window frames. These areas are stress points when the house settles due to the right angles in the frames.
Check for any cracked or broken panes of glass. Make sure you move any drapes or blinds. Sometimes they're hiding broken windows. Use an awl to probe the exterior portions of the window frames for rot. If rainwater gets trapped on the window ledge, rot will develop over time. Make sure the door and window locks are operational since these are required and important security items. Sometimes you will find windows with missing locks. Recommend that the client install window locks where needed for safety. Child guards for doors and windows are a safety item needed in homes with children.
Check for any broken vacuum seals in thermal windows and doors. This can be caused by poor quality windows or from someone closing a window or door too hard and breaking the seal. A vacuum seal is the air pocket between the two panes of glass in thermal windows. When this seal is broken, it allows moisture to get trapped between the two window panes and leaves condensation on the glass. During the colder months, you won't see condensation between the panes of glass. In this case, check for any residue of water or dirt stains instead. Broken vacuum seals can be repaired by a glass service company but tell the client to get estimates because it can be expensive.
I heard of a home inspector who inspected a house and didn't bother to move any of the drapes or blinds. This house had all thermal windows that must have been very cheaply constructed. After the buyer moved into the home, they found that all the vacuum seals were broken! Since this home inspector was lazy during his inspection he ended up paying for all new windows in the house. So learn a lesson from his mistakes - don't cut corners on your inspections!
In some areas double key locks are against the local fire codes because a key is needed to exit in case of an emergency. This can cause people to get trapped inside a house during a fire.
Check for any double key door locks. These are the locks that require a key to exit and enter through the door. The purpose of these locks is so that if a burglar breaks a door window, they can't just turn a bolt and open the door. They'll need a key to open the lock. However, in some areas these locks are against the local fire codes because a key is needed to exit in case of an emergency. This can cause people to get trapped inside a house during a fire. Tell the client to check with the local fire and building department for their recommendation about door locks. Recommend that the client change all of the house locks after taking possession for security reasons.