Patios have become an extremely popular home addition, and these prominent features are often sought by new buyers. Their unique combination of relatively cheap costs, long-lasting materials and high usability are a perfect accompaniment to any yard. However, patios that are older or poorly constructed can have some issues that might require significant repairs. Here are some things professional inspectors would check for in a patio.
Cracks and Damage
One of the first things to stand out in concrete patios will be cracking and related damage. Some of this may be attributable to impacts from dropping heavy items. More nefarious are cracks that signal broader issues with the foundation. Some cracking is inevitable, but there is a big difference between thin surface cracks caused by shrinkage and large ones caused by heaving or settling. The former can be easily repaired, but the latter indicate foundational problems.
Other things to watch out for are various types of pests. Most commonly, these will be insects or bugs, but you should also watch for signs of burrowing animals like gophers, groundhogs and skunks. Aside from being a potential nuisance or danger to humans, their burrows can weaken your patio foundation. When inspecting for insects, you need to look at more than just the ground. Your furniture may be a source of infestation, depending on the material. Wooden furniture may attract termites or carpenter ants, and cushions can become home to mites. Lastly a deck in a shady area with tall grasses and plants near a wooded area may be prone to ticks.
Poor Drainage and Standing Water
Ever high on the list of homeowner problems is water damage. In this case, it could be caused by poor drainage around the patio. An inspector will first check for visible standing water and test the surrounding ground. Squishy and soggy ground indicates insufficient drainage and heavy water content that may cause soil issues to affect the foundation. Large cracks are a problematic sign that either water is seeping in and causing them from above — especially when it freezes below the surface of the concrete — or that the drainage is so poor the soil is not solid enough to support the patio.
Patios are a great addition to any home. They provide a beautiful and practical space for grilling, relaxing, or hanging out. If you are installing a patio or looking to purchase a home with one, the issues mentioned here are some of the main things to keep in mind. A well-built patio can last many long years, but a poorly built patio may need frequent maintenance or even a total rebuild.
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