ASHI Provides Tips for Homeowners in Every Region


Regional Defects in the Northeast

  • Framing issues are a top concern in the northeast region of the United States, particularly underframing, which is the presence of undersized and/or over-spaced beams in a home’s framework.*
  • Fire retardant-treated plywood, often found in attics, is an issue in newer homes in the Northeast, especially in town homes.  When the plywood reacts to high temperatures it becomes structurally unsound and can crumble, which can be a safety hazard for anyone inspecting or walking on a roof.
  • Faulty HVAC systems, in older homes with modern heating equipment, are a common problem for homeowners in the Northeast.  Condensation can form in older chimneys that weren’t designed for low-flue gas temperatures and cause water stains, efflorescence and deterioration of the chimney.  In extreme cases, the chimney may even collapse.*

Regional Defects in the Southeast

  • In this warmer region, roofs are top-of-mind for inspectors and homeowners alike.  The sun and heat deteriorate materials more quickly than in other parts of the country.  Roofs that typically have a 30-year life expectancy may only last 15 years in Florida.
  • Termites are also a big issue in this region.  In the Southeast, the rule of thumb is that if your house is 20 years old, you probably have termites, or you’ve had them in the past.  Homeowners should be on the lookout for subterranean termites and flying drywood termites.

Regional Defects in the Midwest

  • Water intrusion is a common issue for homeowners in the Midwest.  Wood rot is very common in trim and siding.  The prevalence of basements in this region also makes it a hot spot for water intrusion.*
  • Plumbing issues are also prevalent.  It’s not uncommon to see water heaters serving as both a furnace and water heater.  Issues arise, however, when plumbers forget to attach venting fixtures or drains when new water heaters are installed.*
  • Decks are another area of concern.  This widely enjoyed add-on can be attached incorrectly when built by eager Do-It-Yourselfers.

Regional Defects in the Northwest

  • Moisture intrusion impacted by drainage systems, exterior flashing components and exterior grading is a top concern in the Northwest, particularly as it may result in wet basements and crawl spaces.  
  • Topography also impacts homeowners in the region.  Because of heavy rainfall, homeowners who live in houses built on slopes should contact a geotechnical engineer, or similar expert, to identify potential settlement issues.*

Regional Defects in the Southwest

  • Homes in the desert Southwest also suffer from specific maintenance issues caused by the sun, particularly issues with the longevity of roofs, vinyl windows and siding.
  • Upward structural pressure caused by water build-up under the foundation is also an issue in the Southwest, a result of expansive soil.  

“Our goal is to empower homeowners and give them the opportunity to understand their home and common maintenance issues affecting their region,” said Grant.  “Many of these issues, if left unexamined, could undermine the condition and possibly compromise the safety of the home and its occupants.”