For this discussion, we will focus on garages and not carports since they are much more common in the Greater Cincinnati area where we perform our inspection services. A carport must be identified and inspected for the report but has fewer areas of concern as compared to a garage. During the home inspection, the garage must be identified as either “attached” or “detached”, where it is located adjacent to the house and the number of cars it can accommodate. If detached, the roof will also be inspected.
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Garage Inspection – The Floor
An inspector will check concrete garage floors for any cracking or settling and determine whether or not this is indicative of some type of structural issue. Do the floors slope toward the overhead door? This is important as spilled products or gasoline flow toward the outside and not collect in the garage.
Is there “Fire Separation” Between the Garage and the Living Space?
Another important aspect of the inspection is to note whether or not there is a fire barrier between the garage and the living space above. In older homes, the drive-under garage ceiling is the floor framing and insulation for the floor above it with no fire separation or burn-through barrier between the two. As building codes evolve, some type of fire protection may be mandated between these spaces.
Drywall has a burn-through rating that qualifies it as a fire-rated wall or ceiling. In some counties, the fire rating is accomplished with the installation of a sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems are usually not tested by the home inspector. However, an effort should be made to determine if the system is properly connected to the house water supply.
Garage Inspection – The Doors
The condition of the garage doors should be noted in the report. Are the door panels damaged? Does the door track properly? Are there tension springs for the door and are there any safety considerations for these springs? Are the auto-reverse devices installed properly and are they working? Are the door openers wired with an extension cord or plugged into a GFCI protected circuit? If the doors do not have openers, this should also be noted in the report.
Any Water Stains?
The garage space is also inspected for any water stains on the floor to determine if water is getting under the door or through cracks in the floor. It’s possible that water staining from above could signal other problems in the home. The report should also note when/if the garage is overloaded with stored material/possessions and cannot be viewed in its entirety.
Water Heaters? Furnaces in the Garage?
The last item to discuss is a safety issue. Some garages contain gas-fired water heaters and furnaces. If a vehicle were to bump into one of these devices, it could cause a serious problem. To prevent this, a properly installed and sized barrier can protect the gas appliances from accidental vehicle impact. Don’t forget those steel support posts that are responsible for holding up the main beam of the house. If struck by a vehicle, you’re talking major structural and repair costs. The post should be properly secured to both the beam and the concrete floor for safety purposes.
Home Inspector Series | View the rest of “A Home Inspectors Role” Series
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AA Home Inspection is a locally owned and operated, full-time inspection company serving the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. We have the experience to provide high-quality results. When it’s time to buy a new home, you need to be able to turn to an experienced inspection company you can trust. AA Home Inspection employs a full-time staff of qualified inspectors and office staff. Since 2000 we have completed over 11,5000 inspections and you can be assured that your home inspection report will give you an in-depth look at your new property.