The Importance of a Home Window Inspection (Including Doors!)

by | May 3, 2022

Through the course of a home window inspection, the interior windows and doors are operated while doing an area by area, room by room inspection of the structure. We find it to be a better use of time to test the windows and doors throughout the course of the inspection rather than making it a focus and going around the house with the sole purpose of checking just one of them.

Home Window Inspection: What We Look For

Window operation has a lot of individual factors to take into consideration. Age is the number one factor we have found that limits operation. The older the window is, the higher the possibility it will have poor operation. Old wood-framed windows had the ability to open at the bottom, but also at the top. These types of windows are referred to as “double-hung” windows. More often than not we find that the upper window function has been stopped due to painting the window frame and wood casement. Often we find the entire window has been painted in a way that effectively sealed the window from operation. The common reference for this is “painted shut”. The paint seal will have to be broken for the operation to continue, but just because they are free from the paint seal does not guarantee the operation will return to how they were when they were new. Wood-framed windows can have poor operation due to moisture exposure as well. Moisture is in the ambient air on both sides of these windows for almost the entire year.

Home Window Inspection: Understanding the History of Windows

As time and technology marched forward, new materials were discovered and put to use as window frames. Metal frames were used starting in the 1960s and then aluminum took over in the early 1970s. by the late 70s, the window manufacturers found that they could create a window frame that took two separate panes of glass, and this application could help save energy from leaving the structure so quickly. Once the double-paned window was invented, the industry turned their attention to comfort issues inside the house because the metal-framed windows were an excellent conductor of energy loss to the exterior. This is when vinyl (PVC) window frames entered the market. All the energy benefits of a double glass window and lower energy loss at the frames. The only problem with double-paned windows is that the seal between the glass can fail, and the vacuum inside sucks in the moist air outside when it finally breaks. This is how fog can form between glass panels. 

Why Inspecting Doors is Important

Interior door operation is reviewed by both viewing the door’s physical properties, as well as the individual door’s operation. The operation of a door tells the inspector quite a bit about the structure itself. Should the door rub or hit the door frame, the door itself should be evaluated at the hinges first to evaluate if the problem is at the hinge. If the screws are tight and not stripped, there is a chance the structure has settled and shifted. Other observations that could be made are: 

  • If the door cannot latch closed at the strike plate once the door is closed
  • Is the drywall above or around the door cracked?
  • Is the crack straight or is it diagonal when the door is closed?
  • Is it square in the frame?
  • Has the door been trimmed at the edges to allow it to set inside the frame without making contact?

The interior door operation tells a person quite a bit about the structural integrity of the home. As a potential buyer of a residential structure, it would be wise to test all the doors inside a house while you are walking through. This simple test could tell you a lot about the house and the structure as a whole. It takes the careful eye and experience of an inspector to know if the problem can be overcome easily, or if this is a purchase you may want to walk away from. 

home window inspection and door inspection

“It was an absolute joy to work with Chris. He did two inspections for us and his attention to detail was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. My husband and I are first-time home buyers and we are so grateful that he was part of our home buying experience. Both reports were received within 24 hours and left us feeling significantly more informed and prepared to make important decisions. I am genuinely excited to direct friends and family to Chris’ home inspection company in the future.” Sydney (Google Review)

Get a Home Window Inspection with Octopus Home Inspections

At Octopus Home Inspections, we are committed to upholding a strong code of ethics, including professionalism and integrity. Our home inspections are extremely thorough, fairly priced, detailed, and accurate. We strive to be a home inspection company that you can trust completely, knowing we have your safety and wellbeing in mind. If you’re looking for a home inspector you can trust in Portland, Oregon, contact us!