How to Inspect Your Home's Interior

Home maintenance can prevent problems before they begin -- learn what you should regularly check for signs of potenial issues.

Home Graphic

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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Related To:

  1. Interior
  2. Maintenance

Many parts of your home’s interior can be affected by the exterior problems. For example, a damp area on the inside can be a result of exterior issues that need addressing. When carrying out an interior inspection, always bear this in mind. Many other interior problems relate to aesthetics and safety. Poor paintwork won’t affect the structure of your house, but it will certainly detract from its look. Other issues, such as leaking faucets, require more urgent attention.

Since you cannot physically do everything at once, prioritize the most important tasks. Tackle problems related to safety first. For example, ensure that all smoke detectors function correctly. Be certain that you have regular servicing schedules for items such as boilers and any other gas- or oil-fired appliances. Aside from these more obvious items, appliances such as water softeners also require regular checking and in many cases periodic servicing. Also, if you have air-conditioning systems, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations on servicing. Remember that many problems will require professional help, particularly those involving gas. With all such items, servicing may not only ensure safe operation, they may also avoid costly breakdowns and repairs or replacement. Make schedules and budgets for improvements to decoration and/or permanent appliances and make sure you follow through on them. Also consider whether the improvements you make would be appreciated by anyone buying your property.

Keep a House File

It is a good idea to keep a record of checks, important phone numbers, service schedules, and general information about your home and its appliances, but organization is key. One good way to keep track is to have a house file where all such information is kept. People often buy notebooks with a plan to transfer all the important details into them, but a ring binder is an easier alternative since scraps of paper, schedules, and instructions can simply be clipped into place. At the very least, keep a drawer in your home that is the sole place for accumulating household maintenance, repair, and improvement information.

1. Smoke Detectors

Place units in open spaces. Make sure the batteries are working.

iStock-10990519_Changing-Battery-Smoke-Detector_s4x3

Man changes the battery in his smoke detector.

2. Windows

Check that they open and close freely.

front shutter three vote

3. Joists

Floorboard supports should be firm; check ceilings for sags or cracks. Floorboards should be checked for signs of rot or infestation.

install new beam

Figure F

4. Locks

Check these regularly for smooth and efficient operation.

Front Door Made of Locally Harvested White Oak

DIY Blog Cabin 2009 Front Door

5. Woodwork and Walls

Ensure that both structural and decorative woodwork is in sound condition. Walls and ceilings must be sound, with no cracks or holes. Drywall should be smooth for decorative purposes.

apply drywall tape and mud

6. Staircases

Safety is a priority. Creaking treads or risers should be attended to. Banisters must also be secure.

Drive New Glued Wedge Underneath Stairs

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

7. Cellars and Basements

Check these areas for signs of damp. Preventing damp is straightforward; treating it is more difficult. Concrete floors should be dry. If wet, you may need to waterproof. Moisture can be the result of a flood or lack of ventilation, and can lead to mold. Treat it immediately

Waterproof Wet Concrete Floors

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

8. Electrical

The circuit breaker box and appliances should be up to date and serviced as required. Cables and cords should be in good condition, with no signs of fraying or damaged sheathing.

Damaged or Frayed Cords or Cables Unacceptable

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

9. Pipes

Corroded pipes should be replaced. Check that pipes in roof spaces are insulated. Radiators should heat up correctly and have no cool spots, leaking valves, or broken thermostats.

Radiators Should Be Working Properly

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

10. Bathrooms

The shower should operate efficiently, and not drip or leak at joints. Toilets should flush easily. If not, replace the relevant valves. Faucets should operate efficiently and not leak at joints or drip.

Toilets Should Flush Easily

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

11. Rafters

Check these for general condition and insect infestation. Roof space insulation should be checked for general condition and depth.

Roof Space Insulation Should Be At Proper Depth

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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