Residential Home Inspection

Why Get a Home Inspection

Our job as home inspectors is to provide our clients with an unbiased opinion of a house.  We are not building code inspectors or enforcers, even though most Home Inspectors know a lot about local building code.   A home inspection will cost you a little bit of time and money, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did it.  The inspection can help reveal problems that you may be able to get the current owners to fix before you move in.  The home inspection can also help prevent you from inadvertently buying a money pit.


Of home sales involve an home inspection


Of mortgage lenders recommend getting a home inspection

A Typical Home Inspection Will Cover


Garage, Driveway & Walkways

One of the first things we look at during a home inspection is the condition of the driveway and walkways. We check to make sure these surfaces are level, secure, and free of tripping hazards. We look at the driveways to see if they are cracked, and when we see cracks, we look for signs of significant settlement.

We then look at the garage and the garage door. We check the garage door opener to ensure it was correctly installed and the safety features are working as expected. One of the most common issues I have found while doing home inspections in Knoxville is that the photo eyes are mounted in the garage ceiling rather than at the bottom of the garage door. By putting the photo eyes in the ceiling the safety feature is eliminated that auto reverses the garage door.


Exterior Conditions & Surfaces/Grading

During the inspection of the exterior of the house, we look at the vegetation around the house. Are the bushes too close to the house? They can hold excess moisture to the house and siding, causing damage. Are vines growing on the side of a brick house? While it might be pretty, the root of the vines destroys bricks and mortar. These are all things we check during an inspection.

During this portion of the home inspection, we also look at the siding to make sure it is in good condition. We check to see if the wood siding needs paint. We also inspect the condition of eves, soffit, and facia.

We inspect the deck, exterior stairways, and porches. Decks are a huge issue in the Knoxville, Oak Ridge, Clinton, and Maryville areas and nationally. The American wood council estimates that over 50% of decks in the US need repair or complete replacement. Some of the key things we inspect for are ledger boards, joist hangers and baluster spacing. Is the ledger board properly attached to the house? Do the deck joists have joist hangers? Is the spacing correct between the intermediate balusters, spindles, and rails? All these items have a direct impact on the safety and stability of the deck or porch.


Roof, Attic, Insulation & Ventilation

The roof, attic, insulation, and ventilation systems inspection are one of the most critical parts of the home inspection. The roof inspection includes the roof covering, the plumbing vents that go through the roof surface, and the guttering system. These are the home defense systems against water when it rains. The roof stops the water from entering the house. The plumbing vent boot or flashing helps keep water from entering around the pipe vent, and the gutters move the water away from the house.

The attic is essential in that it supports the roof sheeting and roof covering. These components are key in maintaining the roof’s pitch to keep water rolling off of it. They also keep the heavy roof sheeting and roof covering from collapsing in on the house.

The ventilation is key to helping the roof covering last its full life expectancy. Did you know that an improperly ventilated attic can shorten the life expectancy of a shingle by as much as 50%? That would mean you will only get ten years so of usable life from a 20-year shingle and only 15 years of functional life from a 30-year shingle. Proper ventilation is key to getting the maximum life out of your shingle. In most houses in the Knoxville area, attic ventilation is in the form of soffit vents and ridge vents. These protected openings let the air in the attic exchange.
The hot air goes out the ridge vent, while the cool air comes in the soffit vents. Did you know that your attic should be about the same temperature as the air temperature outside the house?

The function of insulation is to protect the house’s interior from the external hot and cold air. Keeping the wall, ceiling, and floor from warming or cooling as the summer temperature increases and winter temperature decreases will help the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems. If these items are not warming or cooling, your heating and cooling systems don’t need to run as often.


Foundations, Slabs & Floors

During this portion of the Home Inspection, we are looking at what type of foundation that the house is built on. Is the house a slab foundation, or does it have a block foundation with columns? We then look for significant cracks that show signs of settlement. One of the most common foundation issues is cracking and settlement caused by water. Water is a home’s number one enemy.



During this portion of the Home Inspection, we are looking at the basement. We need to ensure the basement stairs have handrails and the balusters are properly spaced. We also look at the floor joists to make sure they are properly sized and spaced. If the house has a crawlspace, we check to make sure it is encapsulated or vented. We also check the sump pump in crawl spaces or the basement to ensure it is working.


Plumbing Systems

During the plumbing portion of the Home Inspection, we are looking at the water supply lines and the waste drains. One common issue we see while inspecting older homes in the Knoxville, Oak Ridge and Clinton areas are S-Traps rather than P-Traps as part of the sewer drainage system. The S-Trap can allow too much water to be pulled out of the trap. When there is not enough water remaining in the bottom of the trap, sewer gas flows back into the house. We also check sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets to ensure they are working as expected.


Electrical Systems

During the electrical portion of the home inspection, we are checking the service entrance cable, service mast, weather head, and drip loops, if the home has an overhead service entrance. We check the meter base to ensure it is securely mounted. When we get to the service panel, we check for proper grounding and bonding. We note where the main disconnect for the service is located. We also review and document the wiring type and ensure the breaker are wired correctly. We also test GFCI and AFCI breakers.


Heating & Cooling Systems

During this portion of the home inspection, we look at the home heating and cooling systems. Does the home have a heat pump system, packaged gas furnace system, packaged heat pump system or gas furnace with a separate condensing unit? All these heating and cooling systems are common in the Knoxville, Oak Ridge, and Maryville areas of Tennessee. At Bent Nail, we are able to inspect all these systems to make sure they are operational.

We also validate the heating and cooling system’s age to help you predict the remaining functional life of these systems. Also, as part of the heat and cooling inspection, we check the condensate drains, ductwork, and return filters noting their location and sizes.


Interior – Walls, Ceilings, Doors & Windows

During this portion of the home inspection, we are looking inside the house. We are checking key things such as do the doors open, close and latch without dragging or catching on the carpet or flooring. Any of these will damage the flooring. We check to make sure the flooring is level. We check the condition of the walls and ceiling. We are not looking for paint coloring, scuffs, or marks on the wall. We are looking for significant issues such as holes in the wall. We also look at the windows during the home inspection. We want to make sure the bedroom windows open without exceeding the proper amount of force. We want to make certain these windows are the correct size and the correct height from the floor. Bedroom windows are considered an egress during a fire or other emergency, so making sure they work properly is essential during a home inspection.

During the interior part of the Home Inspection, we check the receptacles and light switches to make sure they are working properly. We also check to ensure that all bathroom, kitchen countertop, and kitchen island have functional GFCI receptacles.



During this portion of the Home Inspection, we make sure all the appliances are working as they should be. As part of this inspection, we check dishwashers, stoves, cooktops, garbage disposal, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, and any other type of household appliance. The number of built-in microwaves that I have found that either do not have power or work always amazed me. At Bent Nail, we want you to know the condition of all the appliances in the house.

Why choose the Bent Nail team for your Home Inspection

Bent Nail’s home inspection system has been designed to ensure we provide you a thorough, easy to understand overview of the conditions of the home you are about to purchase.  Buying a home is not something you do every day, and we provide the information that you need for peace of mind.

  • The Bent Nail team is certified through the State of Tennessee, the National Home Inspector Examination, and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).  The Bent Nail home inspection process exceeds the ASHI standards of practice for Home Inspection.
  • We provide you a link to our website where you can review your report and download a PDF copy of the home inspection report.  We can also provide your Realtor access to this report at your request.
  • We tag all the crucial valves in the home such as: “Main Water Shut Off,” “Hot Water Shut Off,” “Water Heater Fuel Shut Off,” “Furnace Fuel Shut Off” and the “Water Sprinkler System Shut Off.”
  • We point out major, minor, and safety deficiencies to give you a complete picture of your new home’s condition.
  • We identify any of the home’s major expenditures coming up so you can budget these potential expenses down the road.
  • We identify any potential safety hazards present in the home.
  • We give you an education of the home, such as how components operate throughout the home.
  • We review and explain the whole home inspection report on-site to assure full and complete understanding.

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