University of Missouri Extension

GH5984, Reviewed January 1999

Home Repair Inspection and Specifications

Atiya Mahmood
Extension State Specialist
Rebecca Blocker
Extension Regional Specialist
Randall Griffith
Rural Housing Specialist, USDA, Rural Development

This guide can help you identify basic repair and maintenance problems in your house or a prospective house. It is not exhaustive, but gives you preliminary inspection information and basic suggestions for home repairs that are part of good home maintenance. If this preliminary inspection shows potential problems, you should consider hiring a professional inspector to do a detailed house inspection.

Figure 1
Construction terms.


  1. Flue liner
  2. Chimney cap
  3. Chimney
  4. Chimney flashing


  1. Roofing
  2. Ridge board
  3. Ridge vent
  4. Roof sheathing
  5. Rafters
  6. Collar beam
  7. Gutter
  8. Downspouts
  9. Flat or built-up roof


  1. Soffit
  2. Corner post
  3. Beveled siding or clapboards
  4. Bearing wall
  5. Sheathing
  6. Studs
  7. Wall insulation
  8. Drywall
  9. Plates

Floors and ceilings

  1. Ceiling insulation
  2. Joists
  3. Girder
  4. Bridging
  5. Finish flooring
  6. Subflooring

Windows and doors

  1. Window sash
  2. Window frame
  3. Header or lintel
  4. Window casing


  1. Post
  2. Plinthblock
  3. Basement floor slap
  4. Area or window well
  5. Backfill
  6. Gravel fill
  7. Foundation wall
  8. Footing drain tile
  9. Footing
  10. Sill plate
  11. Finished grade line
  12. Crawl space
  13. Basement window
Illustration reprinted with permission of John Merrill, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension publication B3412, Home Inspection Guide.

A checklist on the next page can help you determine what repairs are needed. The following specifications can guide you as you contract to have work done.

Changes made as specified will help the house meet Department of Economic Development and Rural Development guidelines.

Suggested specifications for contracting for home repair

Re-siding a house

Installation of new roof

Repair of electrical system

Repair of existing plumbing supply lines

Repair of existing plumbing drain, waste and vent lines

Installation of attic insulation

Insulation of crawl space


Regrading site

Installation of new heating system

Painting house surfaces

For pre-1978 houses, there should be an assessment of the lead content in the paint. Please contact the Department of Health at 573-751-6400 for recommended procedures and a list of certified contractors.
Construction terms.

Table 1
Inspection checklist for home repair

Foundations and basements Spring Fall Annual
Inspect for signs of termites and for wood decay.     X
Check grading to assure that water will drain away from house; check closeness of trees to foundation for problems from roots.     X
Check basement and crawl space for dampness and leakage following wet weather.     X
Check driveways and walks for cracks, settling and soil erosion.     X
Clean area wells, window sills and storm drains.     X

Doors and windows




Check doors, windows and trim for finish failure or rotted wood. X    
Check for broken glass, damaged screens. Clean screens. X    
Check glazed openings for loose putty. X    
Check hardware and lubricate moving parts.   X  
Check weatherstripping for damage and tightness of fit. Check joints and caulk. X    
Check caulking at doors, windows, and all openings and joints between different materials (such as brick). X    
Exterior walls Spring Fall Annual
Check masonry for cracks and loose joints. X    
Check painted surfaces for paint failure (pre-1978 homes with cracked or peeling paint on window sills, walls or trim should be referred to Dept. of Health for list of lead inspectors). X    
Check siding and trim for damage and decay. X    
Check trim for tightness of fit at joints and caulk. X X  
Roof Spring Fall Annual
Check for damaged or loose shingles, blisters, roofing sponginess, etc. X    
Check underside of roof where accessible for water stains or dampness. X    
Check for damage or if paint is needed on gutters, downspouts, hangers, strainers and splash blocks. X X  
Clean gutter strainers, gutters, downspouts, splash blocks. X X  
Evaluate roof for future replacement.     X
Check fascias and soffits for paint failure and decay. Assure that vents are open and properly vented. X    
Check masonry chimneys for cracks (inside and outside) and for obstructions.   X  
Interior Surfaces Spring Fall Annual
Check all painted and natural finished surfaces for dirt, finish failure, and for needed repairs (pre-1978 homes with cracked or peeling paint on window sills, walls or trim should be referred to the Dept. of Health for a list of lead inspectors). X    
Check all joints in ceramic tile, laminated plastic and similar surfaces. Check caulking around sinks, bathtubs and showers. X X  
Floors Spring Fall Annual
Check for wear, damage, evenness and sponginess. Check particularly where one floor material joins another (e.g., wood to carpet).     X
Evaluate for replacement or refinish.     X
Check for handrails on stairs. Make sure they are properly attached.     X
Electrical system Spring Fall Annual
Check areas where wiring is exposed, and replace at first sign of damage. X X  
If fuses blow or breakers trip frequently, electrician should be contacted to determine cause and make necessary repairs. X X  
Check condition of cords and extension cords to all appliances. X X  
Check smoke detectors. X X  
Heating and cooling systems Spring Fall Annual
Have entire system (including gas lines) checked by qualified service person. X X  
Clean, service or replace filters, humidifiers and dehumidifiers. X X  
Unvented gas heaters need to have proper ventilation. Have a qualified service person check.     X
Remove window air conditioners in winter.   X  
Plumbing system Spring Fall Annual
Check faucets, hose bibbs, valve stools, sinks and water heater for leakage or corrosion. X X  
Have service person check septic system.     X
Check gas lines and make sure no material around water heater is blocking air flow. X X  
Check to see that water heater vent is not obstructed.     X
Insulation Spring Fall Annual
Ceiling insulation should be an R-30 or approximately 10 inches deep.     X
Check attic for proper ventilation at soffits and gable to assure air flow.     X
Wall insulation should be a minimum of R-13 or 3.5 in.     X
Floor insulation should be a minimum of R-13 or 3.5 in.     X
Adapted from Home Maintenance Checklist in Maintaining the Home, Council Notes, 14 (3), Building Research Council, University of Illinois, 1995.


This MU Extension publication is made possible by funding and cooperation of the Missouri Rural Opportunities Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development. These sponsoring organizations do not accept responsibility of anything that happens on/to a property if these recommendations are followed. They are provided for guidance only and do not provide any guarantees.
GH5984 Home Repair Inspection and Specifications | University of Missouri Extension

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