How to Inspect Floors Before Buying a Home

Chances are that if you own your home, it’s nearing a midlife crisis. While many homeowners dream of moving into a brand-new property, the reality is that as recently as 2017, the average owner-occupied house in America is 37 years old. Thousands of first-time homebuyers are settling into homes loaded with vintage charm – and maintenance issues.

Splurging on a pre-purchase inspection is always a good idea when you buy a home because spending a little bit of money today can save you from spending truckloads of money on repairs later. But before you call an inspector, you can identify several common issues by checking the flooring with your real estate agent. If you’re a renter, we recommend inspecting these areas with your landlord and keeping a written record of any damage you encounter before signing a lease. Keep reading for our tips on how to inspect the flooring before moving into a new home or apartment.

1. Check for water damage

Dark, discolored blotches on the floorboards is a sure sign of water damage, which could mean there are problems with the walls, roof, foundation, or landscaping around the property. If your home has carpet or another type of floor covering, you can assess moisture damage from below (with the homeowner or real estate agent’s permission) by entering the basement and checking the underside of floorboards near any exposed plumbing for stains.

2. Inspect trim

Check the running boards and trim in each room. Is anything missing? Are there any loose boards? Nails poking out? This is mainly cosmetic, but the attention-to-detail (of lack thereof) here might give you a clue as to the overall construction quality of the house.

3. Listen closely…and bounce!

Take a trip through the house specifically to feel how “bouncy” the floor is. Listen closely for any excessive squeaks. An overly springy floor or one with a floorboard that squeaks so loud you need to walk around it is a floor that likely has problems with the foundation or subfloor.

4. A Bug’s Life

Unless you have a pet who calls them dinner, most of us would prefer not to have any bugs in the house. Especially termites. These wood-eating insects destroy in their path, especially hardwood flooring and plywood subfloors, so watch your step. As you’re “bouncing” through the house, use your feet to feel for soft spots where termites have weakened the floors. Also, you can follow your nose and keep alert for the damp and musty smell of wood rot to isolate any issues.

5. If you don’t know, ask!

You can learn a lot about the materials and methods used to build the home by simply asking the homeowner or realtor. Knowing when certain repairs were done and if they were DIY jobs or performed by a professional contactor can help you understand the home’s maintenance history and buy with confidence.

Are you doing repairs because you’re buying or selling a home? Let Dan’s Wholesale Carpet & Flooring give you a hand with everyday wholesale pricing on the flooring materials, countertops, kitchen and bath cabinetry, lighting fixtures, and more from any of our four northeast Ohio locations or from the comfort of your own home with our in-home shopping appointments. Give us a call today or click the “free consultation” button!