A Guide to Home and Wood Inspections in FloridaI

Home Inspectors


Florida’s warm, humid climate and coastal location make home inspections particularly crucial when buying property in the Sunshine State. A thorough inspection can uncover moisture issues, wood decay, termite damage, roof problems, and more that are common in Florida homes.

Understanding what certified home and wood inspectors look for can help buyers make smarter purchases. Here is an overview of key aspects covered in Florida home inspections.

Structural Inspection

The home’s foundation, framing, and structural elements need careful checking in Florida’s damp environment. Inspectors will examine:

  • Signs of cracking, shifting, or settling in the foundation, floors, and walls that could indicate instability.
  • Levels and clearance between doors, windows, and frames which can reveal foundation issues if out of square.
  • Exterior masonry for cracking or spalling which allows water intrusion.
  • Attic framing and roof structure for sagging, modifications, or questionable repairs.
  • Presence of shear walls and hurricane clips for wind resistance.
  • Adequate ventilation to prevent moisture buildup and decay.

Roof Inspection

With heavy rainfall and storms, roof issues are common in Florida. Inspectors will:

  • Evaluate roof age, condition, and remaining life expectancy.
  • Check for lifting, curling, cracks, or deterioration in shingles.
  • Look for missing, damaged, or improperly installed shingles.
  • Inspect flashings around roof penetrations for leakage potential.
  • Ensure drip edge is present to avoid rot and moisture entry.
  • Check roof drainage and downspouts are properly directing water away from the home.
  • Examine attic framing, sheathing, and insulation for water stains.

Exterior Inspection

Florida’s humidity readily penetrates vulnerable exterior surfaces. Inspectors will look for:

  • Proper grading to prevent flooding and water pooling against the home.
  • Cracks or deterioration in exterior cladding, trim, and siding.
  • Peeling exterior paint indicating moisture is present.
  • Mold, mildew, or algae growth on surfaces.
  • Weathered caulking or gaps allowing water entry.
  • Rust on railings or fixtures indicating excess moisture.

Wood and Termite Inspection

Wood decay is commonplace in Florida if not properly protected. Inspectors check:

  • All exposed wood for signs of rot, mold, cracking, or insect damage.
  • Attics, crawl spaces, and basements for damp conditions conducive to decay.
  • Leaking plumbing, gutters, or flashing that can cause wood rot.
  • Mud tubes on foundation indicating termites.
  • Small pinholes in wood trim or framing created by powderpost beetles.
  • Sagging rafters, floor joints, or deck boards often caused by carpenter ants or termites.

Windows and Doors

Windows and doors endure brutal weathering in Florida. Inspectors will:

  • Check for adequate flashing above windows and exterior doors to prevent leakage.
  • Ensure weatherstripping forms a tight seal when closed.
  • Confirm proper operation of all locks, hinges, and mechanisms.
  • Look for cloudy glazing in insulated glass indicating seal failure.
  • Check that egress windows meet code requirements for fire safety.

Electrical System

With heavy A/C usage, inspecting electrical load capacity is imperative.

  • All wiring will be checked for deterioration, improper splicing, loose connections, or overheating signs.
  • Grounding, arc faults, GFCI protection, and other safety devices will be confirmed.
  • Electrical panel and wires will be evaluated for adequate amperage rating.
  • Conduit connections and indoor/outdoor wiring will be scrutinized for waterproofing.

Air Conditioning

ACs work overtime in Florida and require vigilance. Inspectors will:

  • Confirm condenser/coil match for optimal efficiency.
  • Check refrigerant levels and pressure.
  • Ensure condensate drains properly to avoid water damage.
  • Inspect ductwork throughout home for leaks.
  • Verify unit tonnage is appropriately sized for the home.
  • Look for rust or corrosion indicating leaks.


With an abundance of water, plumbing issues are prevalent. Inspectors look for:

  • Supply line leaks.
  • Malfunctioning fixtures, valves, and pressure regulators.
  • Clogged drains or improper drain slope.
  • Corrosion and mineral buildup on pipes and fixtures.
  • Improper materials that permit leaks like polybutylene piping.
  • Water heater defects including rust, mineral buildup, and sediment.

While inspectors can identify visible issues, hidden decay and termite damage often require further evaluation by a licensed contractor. Florida home buyers should strongly consider both a home and wood inspection before purchase. Knowing the home’s true condition ahead of time prevents expensive surprises after closing.

Why a Licensed Inspector Matters

Florida law requires home inspectors to be licensed by the state. Choosing a licensed inspector is important because they:

  • Completed pre-licensing training and testing on all home systems and components.
  • Must participate in continuing education to stay current on inspection methodology and standards.
  • Are knowledgeable about Florida construction methods and regional issues.
  • Follow established standards and a code of ethics to ensure a thorough, unbiased inspection.
  • Carry errors and omissions insurance to cover themselves professionally.
  • Are regulated by the state to ensure competency and accountability.

Using a friend or unlicensed handyman to “inspect” a home leaves you vulnerable to missing major defects only a trained eye would catch.

Questions to Ask a Home Inspector

Smart questions to ask when interviewing potential Jacksonville Home Inspectors  include:

  • How long have you been licensed in Florida? Look for 5+ years of local expertise.
  • How many inspections have you completed on homes like mine in this area? Check their experience with similar properties.
  • What equipment do you use during inspections? Ask about moisture meters, outlet testers, infrared cameras, etc.
  • What professional organizations do you belong to? Membership indicates commitment to continuing education.
  • May I see a sample inspection report? Reports should be thorough, clear, and include photos.
  • Do you recommend further evaluation from specialists on any issues found? Some defects require extra assessment.
  • Will you be conducting the inspection yourself? Don’t settle for an assistant doing the inspection.

Red Flags

Watch for these concerning practices when selecting a home inspector:

  • No state license or unwilling to provide license number
  • Vague about what systems they examine
  • Rush through inspection in under two hours
  • Can’t provide sample reports from past inspections
  • Lack of modern equipment for thorough assessment
  • Poor reviews mentioning critical issues missed
  • Low fees compared to other licensed inspectors

Paying a fair rate for a licensed inspector with regional expertise provides peace of mind that problems won’t be overlooked when buying a Florida home. Don’t let small upfront savings result in huge expenses later on. A pre-purchase home and wood inspection in Florida may cost more upfront, but it can save thousands by avoiding homes with hidden moisture damage, termite infestations, decay, and other costly repairs. Don’t trust such an important investment to just a visual assessment. Paying for professional inspections provides invaluable information and can prevent homeowners from overpaying on defective properties. For both safety and wise spending, specialized home and wood inspections are a smart investment for Florida



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