Understanding Detached Structures Inspection

Home inspections are crucial for assessing the condition of a property before purchase. While the primary focus is often on the main residence, detached structures such as garages, sheds, guest houses, and workshops also play a significant role. These structures, despite being separate from the primary dwelling, require a thorough inspection to ensure they are safe, functional, and in good condition.

Why Detached Structures Matter

Detached structures are often overlooked during property evaluations. However, these outbuildings can add significant value to a property, providing extra storage, workspace, or living quarters. Ensuring their integrity is essential, as they can impact overall property value and safety. Additionally, repair costs for these structures can be substantial if issues are not identified early.

Components of Detached Structures Inspection

A comprehensive inspection of detached structures involves multiple components:

1. Structural Integrity

Inspectors examine the foundation, framing, and overall construction of the structure. They look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, sagging, or misalignment, which could indicate more significant structural issues.

2. Roofing

The roof’s condition is scrutinized for signs of damage or potential leaks. Shingles, tiles, and other roofing materials are assessed for wear, and flashing and gutters are checked to ensure effective water drainage.

3. Exterior and Siding

Inspectors evaluate the condition of the exterior walls and siding for signs of rot, mold, or pest infestation. This includes looking at the condition of windows, doors, and any other exterior features.

4. Electrical Systems

If the detached structure has an electrical system, it will be thoroughly inspected. This involves checking wiring, outlets, switches, and light fixtures for code compliance and functionality, ensuring there are no potential fire hazards.

5. Plumbing Systems

For structures with plumbing, inspectors assess pipes, fixtures, and water heaters for leaks, corrosion, and proper function. This ensures that all water-using systems are in working order and free of potential issues.

6. HVAC Systems

If the detached structure includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, these will be evaluated for efficiency and safety. Inspectors check for proper installation and maintenance, looking for signs of wear or needed repairs.

7. Interior Condition

The interior of the detached structure is inspected for signs of wear, damage, or potential hazards. This includes floors, walls, ceilings, and any installed fixtures or appliances.

Common Issues Found in Detached Structures

Several common issues can arise in detached structures:

  • Water Damage: Leaks from roofs or poor drainage can lead to water damage, which can cause structural issues and mold growth.
  • Pest Infestation: Sheds and garages are often vulnerable to pests, which can damage the structure and create health hazards.
  • Electrical Problems: Outdated or faulty wiring can pose significant fire risks and impact the functionality of the structure’s electrical systems.
  • Foundation Issues: Cracks or shifts in the foundation can lead to structural instability.
  • Roof Deterioration: Over time, roofing materials can degrade, leading to leaks and other issues.

Importance of Professional Inspections

While some homeowners may feel capable of inspecting these structures themselves, a professional inspection ensures a comprehensive evaluation. Trained inspectors have the knowledge and experience to identify potential problems that may not be apparent to the untrained eye. Additionally, their reports are often required for real estate transactions and insurance purposes.


Detached structures play a critical role in the overall functionality and value of a property. Conducting thorough inspections of these structures is essential to identify any potential issues early on. By addressing these concerns, homeowners can maintain their properties’ safety and value, ensuring long-term satisfaction and investment protection.

Spokane Home Inspection