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Common Home Issues

Whether you are selling or buying a home in the Charleston area, there are several common home issues that can make a difference in both the quality and condition of the home in question. In the guide below, Step By Step Inspections has provided a brief description of these common problems. For any questions or concerns, give us a call at (843) 870-8726.


Radon is produced from decaying uranium that can be found in soil, rock, and water. It is a highly dangerous and hazardous gas and is especially high in areas where granite is present. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it very deadly when inhaled in large quantities and difficult to detect.

The EPA recommends testing for radon upon the sale of all homes. Our inspectors perform a highly effective 48-hour radon test using a continuous monitor that measures the level of radon in the air. When the inspector picks up the test after the 48 hours is over, the results are immediately available.

Mold spores can be found in the air all around us. They can also grow and multiply when there is excess moisture inside the home. This dangerous substance causes several health problems, especially for those with respiratory issues. Not only will a mold test determine if there’s mold growing in your home, but it will also help identify the type of mold inside your home. This will help you know exactly what it takes to eliminate it.

Only with proper lab analysis can we determine if the mold is toxic or not. Our trusted inspectors perform the mold test and then send it to a third-party lab for analysis. The lab will identify the types of mold growing in your home as well as offer specific directions on how the mold can be eliminated.

While some types of mold can be cleaned up fairly easily, others must be handled by an industrial hygienist. We can help you locate an industrial hygienist or mold remediator if this becomes necessary.

While a home may already have a termite warranty, it is always a good idea to have a third party inspecting the home in question on your behalf. We can easily perform termite inspections that can be scheduled at the same time as your general home inspection.

A home with stucco siding is either built with hardcoat stucco or synthetic stucco. Synthetic stucco comes in a variety of colors and is more energy-efficient than hardcoat. It can also be easily molded into any shape. Synthetic stucco typically:

  • Gives slightly when pressure is applied.
  • Can be easily penetrated with a small screwdriver.
  • Is a hollow-sounding material.

This type of stucco is not a bad product per se but can pose quite a few problems for homeowners. Because it is often installed incorrectly, it can retain water which leads to moisture problems including wood rot.

Homeowners and potential buyers can care for synthetic stucco by having an inspector conduct a moisture test, properly flash and caulk all problem areas such as doors, windows, gutters, bottom edges near the soil, and have any other necessary repairs conducted. When the stucco is properly maintained, moisture will no longer be a problem.

In all of our synthetic stucco inspections, Step By Step Inspections uses moisture scanners and probe meters to check for moisture issues.

Rodents often find their way into homes through gaps at the roofline where shingles overlap. They can also squeeze their way in through holes around the foundation. Rodents and other pests cause a multitude of problems, like:

  • Damage to insulation, duct piping, and electrical wiring.
  • Leave urine and feces throughout the home.
  • Cause allergies and other health issues.

According to the EPA website, a high percentage of homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint:

  • 87% before 1940
  • 69% between 1940 - 1960
  • 24% between 1960 - 1978

Lead-based paint can chip, deteriorate, and form dust particles, making it easy to inhale or ingest without even realizing it. This can cause several health problems in adults and children. The CDC ranks lead poisoning as the number one threat facing small children today. Lead-based paint can be found throughout the home specifically in windowsills, doors, and other areas of friction. By law, both sellers and landlords must disclose any known lead-based paint hazards.

From 1979-1995, polybutylene piping was used in new home construction. It is estimated to be in one out of every four homes. Used in both interior and exterior pipes, it can be found in blue, gray, or black colors.

These types of pipes were once considered “the pipe of the future”. They are very delicate and can fail due to reactions with the oxidants in the public water supply. These pipes often fail within 10 - 15 years after installation. They deteriorate from the inside out, so it can be difficult for the untrained eye to determine the condition of the pipe.

The deadline to file a claim for polybutylene piping in a home that has leaked has now expired.

Louisiana Pacific Siding (LP) is composed of wood chips and resins, including wafer board and OSB. It was originally thought to be better for the environment, as well as being easier and cheaper to work with when it was first created. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It can retain water and cause the siding to shrink, crack, and mold.

To determine if you have LP siding or not, our inspectors look for a specific identifying feature that shows an L and an upside-down P in the knothole. The deadline to file a claim in the LP class action suit passed on January 1, 2003.

Masonite is a siding production company and commonly used as a generic term for any type of hardboard siding. Before Louisiana Pacific siding was a known issue (around 1996), many inspectors referred to LP siding as Masonite siding. An old inspection report naming the siding as Masonite could be incorrect.

Masonite siding can be identified by a series of markings printed on the backside of a piece of siding. You must have a piece removed to see these markings, thus positively identify the siding.

Unfortunately, Masonite siding has many issues, which has resulted in a class-action suit that has been filed against the manufacturers of Masonite. Several of the problems include:

  • Buckling
  • Penetrating nail heads
  • Swelling
  • Fungus growth
  • Wax bleeding

  • The deadline to file a claim in the Masonite class action suit has passed.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that can only be identified using a microscope. In the past, it was used in a variety of products for its resistance to fire, flexibility, and strength.

Because asbestos fibers can remain suspended in the air for a long period of time, they can easily penetrate body tissues after being inhaled or ingested. Fibers can remain in the body for many years, causing several asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other related problems.

If a home has asbestos, and that asbestos is in good condition, the best thing to do is to leave it alone, undisturbed. Removal of asbestos is complex and hazardous and should only be performed by a professional.

Step By Step: Your #1 Choice for Home Inspection Services

At Step By Step, we place a high value on providing quality home inspection services. We serve Charleston, SC, and the surrounding areas, including North Charleston, Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant, and Summerville. Get an instant quote by calling (843) 870-8726 or schedule online now. For 30 years, we have been providing several inspection services such as pool/spa inspections, wind mitigation, pre-listing inspections, and more.

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