Extraordinary effort should be the execution of good planning
Results are typically valued above all else with good reason. Although the value of effort shouldn’t be over looked, at least in some situations. When it comes to the construction of houses, solid design and building practices carried out by skilled tradesman should result in a well built structure. When known design parameters are abandoned, detrimental conditions can develop.
I was reminded of the importance of design and execution on a recent inspection. One entire side of the house I was inspecting had a concrete patio. A great feature that went well with the contemporary design of the house. Examining the patio area, a few things became apparent. Immediately obvious was that the exterior wood cladding was in contact with the patio surface. A condition conducive to wood decay and termite infestation. To further add insult to injury, a downspout was expelling onto the patio in close proximity to the house.
Down in the crawl space, the aforementioned possible results of this poor practice where found to be in existence, termites and wood decay. Oddly the sill boards had been replaced with pressure treated wood, but the other lumber, some damaged, had not.
In a gap created by the wood decay from water penetrating through from the patio surface I could see concrete. Another oddity. If anything I would expect to see daylight. What this meant was that the patio had probably been built above the foundation. On the exterior at the front left corner of the house where the patio begins, the placement and construction of this patio could be seen to be exactly that, above the floor framing and foundation wall. The red line in the photo extends from the well exposed portion of the foundation wall at the front of the house, lining up with what appears to have been a retaining wall. The patio’s surface seen to the left is several inches above the line.
Whether the patio was put in at the time of original construction or sometime later is difficult to determine and is of little relative consequence. What is certain, the design and installation does not following sensible building practices. The repairs found in the crawlspace to the structural floor framing are simply a response to what is essentially a symptom, not a repair to the actual problem. Clearly the patio will need to be removed and the soil regarded in order to correct the issue, being the very definition of a major repair.
When considering the construction of the patio in the context of the home inspection in order to deliver an evaluation and advice to the home buyer, it is difficult to comprehend the design and execution of this accessory from a thoughtful building design perspective. Going above and beyond the foundation wall and floor framing is sub par effort.