When you have a home inspected, your home inspector will check both the inside and outside of the house. As for windows and doors, here’s what he’ll check for outside. Have you ever stopped to consider how many kinds of doors there are? For example, there are hinged, single and double doors made of wood, steel, aluminum, and plastic. They may come with or without glazing. In warm climates jalousie doors may also be used. These are doors with movable glass slats or louvers. Some buildings use glass framed doors with fixed and movable panels that have wood, vinyl-covered wood, and aluminum frames. Regardless of what kind of doors may be on a home, your home inspector will check outside doors for their overall condition and fit.
For example, are outside doors rated for exterior use in the climate they’ll be exposed to? Are they weather tight? Does the door operate as it’s meant to? Are the doors secure? What about the workings of locks, knobs, handles, and hinges? Does a sliding door track properly? What’s the condition of the frames and sills? What’s the condition of any flashing? How about glass on or in the doors? There are many kinds of windows as well. Window frames may be made of plastic, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic-clad wood, and wood clad with steel or aluminum. Types of windows include double hung, single hung, casement, horizontal sliding, projected out or awning, projected in, and fixed. There are also jalousies, which are glass louvers on an aluminum or steel frame.
Sound confusing? Regardless of the windows in the home to be inspected, there are general things your inspector will check for, such as the condition of their frames, sills and sashes, and their overall operation and fit. He’ll carefully examine the glazing compound or putty around glass panels in older sashes. This is often the most vulnerable part of the window and repair can be time consuming. He’ll also look at glazing tapes or strips around glass panels in steel or aluminum sashes. Has sealant hardened? How is the fit? Have weep holes been blocked by putty, paint or dirt? This can be easily cleaned up. Is there flashing where it should be? Are windows secure? Do locks or other hardware work as they should? This is especially important for windows close to the ground or accessible by flat roofs.
In areas vulnerable to hurricanes, your inspector will check to see whether glass doors and windows that aren’t protected by shutters are able to withstand the impact of any flying debris. Can plywood panels be properly installed for greater protection in the event of a hurricane? Doors with glazing, such as storm doors, sliding glass patio doors, and any glazing next to these doors, should have safety glazing. That is, it should be fully tempered, wire, or laminated glass or an approved plastic material. As for storm windows and doors, your inspector will check them for their condition, fit and effectiveness. Are they weather tight? Have any weep holes been blocked? Your inspector will also look at that all important weather stripping on windows and doors. Weather stripping can be made from metal, foam or plastic. How well does it fit? Are there bends or dents in metal stripping? Does foam or plastic stripping have cracks? Is it brittle or is it resilient? Is it securely held in place?
Window shutters may be either decorative or functional. Decorative shutters will be checked for their condition and to see that they’re well attached where they should be. Functional shutters will be checked for condition, fit and operability. Are they serving their intended purpose, such as light control, privacy, or protection against bad weather? For hurricane regions, shutters need to be certified by the manufacturer for hurricane use. Do they provide protection against flying debris? Awnings are used above windows or doors to protect against the sun or weather, or they maybe for decoration. They may be made from metal, plastic or fabric on a frame made from metal or plastic. Some are fixed in place, while others can be moved or folded. Your inspector will check their condition and whether awnings are attached properly. Do foldable awnings work as they should? There’s more than you’d expect when it comes to adequately inspecting doors and windows, but a qualified home inspector will give you the report you need concerning these vital parts of the home you’re buying or selling.