Grounds
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1 - Driveway
Concrete often cracks due to drying and shrinkage. Excessive cracks often create trip hazards and correction may require replacement of the concrete. Asphalt driveways need regular maintenance and resealing.

2 - Sidewalks
Walks can become damaged by tree roots and settlement. Excessive cracks can often be repaired by replacing sections of the sidewalk.

3 - Retaining Walls
These are used to stabilize steep banks which control soil movement. Water that is allowed to collect behind the wall can exert pressure causing the wall to move. Drainage provisions are often not evident with a visual evaluation. Sometimes efflorescence (a white powdery substance) is present on the wall due to no or blocked drainage. Retaining walls should appear straight or tilt slightly toward the earth they support. Walls that are cracked or leaning will need structural evaluation and repair.

4 - Patio
Patios are similar to driveways and sidewalks with respect to cracks and movement. If the patio is covered with carpet, it is recommended that the material be removed for evaluation. Patios should be installed to drain water away from the house.

5 - Patio Cover
Structures are built over decks, patios and porches to provide protection against the rain and shade from the sun. These structures are considered to be a structural element and require proper design and attachment. In most areas a permit is required for construction and it is recommended that you obtain all information available. If the cover is integral with the house roof, information will be provided in the roofing section of the report.

6 - Decks/Porches
Decks that are higher than 30" above the surrounding ground will need a guardrail that is at least 36" tall. New installations should not have any space in the railing that is larger than 4" in width. Handrails for steps to decks and porches should be easily gripped. Wood decks or porches should be supported by concrete footings and clearance of the wood to the soil is critical to avoid deterioration. If there is no access to the area below the deck or porch it is recommended that this area be opened for inspection. Many jurisdictions require a permit for decks and information should be obtained, if available. Decks or porches with waterproofed surfaces need regular maintenance and resealing approximately every three to five years to prevent cracking and deterioration. If carpet or other material covers the deck, we recommend removal for evaluation.

7 - Fences & Gates
Our evaluation of fences is limited to those areas which may directly have an effect on the condition of the house. Fences that are surrounding pools must be of sufficient height for safety. Each jurisdiction has safety height standards. Gates that enter pool areas must be self-closing and latching.
 
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