Home improvement stores are great because they allow even the most inexperienced of homeowners to make their own repairs. Likewise, home improvement stores can be horrible because they allow even the most inexperienced of homeowners to make their own repairs.
Home inspectors are taught that water and moisture are the number one enemy to homes. Experienced home inspectors know that this isn’t true; homeowners are the number one enemy to their home. Inspection after inspection, we find defects that are the result of the homeowner attempting a repair.
Some of the blame can be shifted to the home improvement stores for selling inappropriate materials to homeowners. Here are five things you need to stop buying from your local home improvement or hardware store right now.
1. Double keyed deadbolts.
Although these are advertised to be used when added security is desired, they are a real safety hazard. We haven’t thought of any practical use for these double-keyed deadbolts, also known as double cylinder deadbolts. There are other ways to protect to your family, while keeping them safe.
2. Screened dryer vents.
It worries us that these are still being sold. Lint is flammable and when screens are installed on the dryer vent, it creates a hazard. Building codes are clear on the issue, and no screens are allowed on the dryer vent termination. If you have one on your home, have a qualified contractor replace it immediately.
3. Plastic dryer vents.
Dryer vent safety is not something we take lightly. The CPSC estimates that over 15,000 dryer fires are started every year. A plastic dryer vent will quickly melt and allow the flame to spread.
Although metal dryer vents can’t stop the fire from spreading, they do allow more time to detect, vacate the home and have the fire extinguished. The plastic dryer vents serve no purpose in a home. Some argue they applicable for bathroom vents or other mechanical ventilation systems. We believe you are better off spending the extra money for more durable materials.
4. Splash blocks.
These plastic decorative items are advertised as being able to disperse water at the bottom of the downspout to limit erosion and protect your foundation. Most experts recommend dispersing water four to eight feet away from the foundation to protect it. Some argue that 10 feet is the bare minimum.
Either way, this two-foot molded plastic is not going to do the job. Personally, I recommend dry wells or other means of dispersing the water. A qualified contractor can offer different methods and costs. Anything is better than a few splash blocks.
5. Corrugated plumbing.
When you are stumped with a tough plumbing problem, you may be tempted to purchase some flexible, corrugated, accordion like plumbing materials. Don’t do it.
This type of plumbing is not approved for your home’s drainage system. In fact, we are not sure where you would actually install this type of drain material. To make matters worse, most homeowners install it in a way that does not create a proper trap.
Traps prevent sewer gasses from entering your home, so installing this type of plumbing can be a real safety concern. Call a plumber who can do it correctly.
If you need a home inspection in Richmond, or are interested in more articles like this, please visit as at