patio at twilight

Inspecting Outside Spaces When Purchasing Fixer-Uppers

Driveways, decks, and patios are all susceptible to damage from the elements. When buying a fixer-upper home, it is imperative to have these sections of the home thoroughly inspected and included in your repair and renovation checklist.

One of the features you should carefully examine when acquiring a fixer-upper is its decks, patios, and other paved surfaces. Now, these outdoor features can be an amazing addition any home, acting as a functional pavement for moving objects, providing a relaxing and inviting outdoor space to hold intimate gatherings, or just act as a getaway for the family to enjoy the garden and backyard.

However, because of constant exposure to the elements, these surfaces eventually decay. When acquiring an older home, it is important to have these surfaces thoroughly assessed for the damage they may have incurred over the years, which needs to be accounted for in the costs of renovating the home.

Inspect the Deck

Decks are typically made of wood and are susceptible to rot. And because accidents tend to happen around unstable decks, it’s important to carefully identify and address any of its structural weaknesses before they become a problem.

Some of the places to check include the structural supports of the deck, which would include the joists, beams, and members close to the ground. Examine the parts closest to the ground and any that are close to downspouts and other sources of moisture.

Another place to check for damage is the ledger—the point of connection between the deck and the rest of the house. A poorly installed ledger may need to be waterproofed to prevent further water damage from entering the home.

Driveway Damage

Concrete may not come off as something that people think needs to be repaired. However, even concrete can become weakened by excess standing moisture. Excess moisture can cause concrete to become discolored and eventually weaken, while prolonged immersion to moisture may damaged any reinforcing bars within the concrete. A driveway with excess water damage may need to be repaved, and even one with only minor repairs can benefit from cementitious waterproofing to prevent the further onset of decay.

A key component to assessing the maintenance and repair needs of concrete pavement is by looking at the type and extent of the damage it sustained. Large cracks and buckling may indicate a need to re-pave entire segments of the driveway, while smaller ones may just need to be filled in and smoothed.

Areas of concrete decay are usually indicated by the presence of staining. The presence of serious damage such as scaling often results from excess standing water and may prompt the need for larger resurfacing jobs. Minor cracks in the concrete, meanwhile, may just warrant being filled in. Before pursuing any form of maintenance, you must carefully clean out that patch of concrete pavement with the appropriate tools; often, this will take more than soap and water to accomplish.

Aesthetic Issues

Outdoor Space

Most of the issues that you would probably encounter in hardscape are usually aesthetic in nature. At best, the paving may just look dingy and old, not too different from the rest of the house in a fixer-upper state. A few superficial cracks in the wooden deck may not be much of a big deal structurally.  Indeed, other messy parts of a brick or stone hardscape may add a touch of rustic character to your yard.

However, some damage cannot be easily ignored; too often, things like cracked deck boards could become serious structural issues down the line if left alone for too long. Inspect the true nature of the problem and take the necessary actions.