By Mitch Kuffa
Kitchens are the most complex area in your house (along with bathrooms). Often, they have many “hidden” shortcomings or concerns. Here are some of the things we inspectors look for in this area.
- Are all of the cabinets SCREWED (not nailed) securely to the walls and/or ceilings? This is especially important on upper wall cabinets or those hanging over a peninsula or an island (where they are only secured to the ceiling). Open the doors and look inside for screw heads. Grab any suspect cabinet and gently tug on it to see if there is any movement. Many times the screws only attach to the drywall/plaster and can break away easily.
- What is the condition of the countertops? Are they secure to the cabinets (lift up gently at corners)? Are they sealed where they meet the walls or backsplashes so as to discourage water from running behind it? Are there any large burns, scratches, chips or gouges? If the countertops are plastic laminate check the counter “lip” hanging over a built-in dishwasher which is often negatively impacted by years of steam rolling out of the dishwasher door.
- Are there at least 2 functional electrical outlets? Besides the one behind the refrigerator, there should be an electrical outlet at every individual countertop area. Are the plugs and switches secure, not worn and have proper cover plates? Kitchens today require a ground fault interrupter outlet (GFI) within 3 ft. of the sink.
- What condition are the appliances in? Does everything work properly? Check the range burners. Is the hood fan all greased up?
- Run the water for a few minutes. Are there any leaks under the sink? Is there adequate water pressure? Does the water drain normally? Does the disposal work?
- How does the finish on the floor look? Are there any gouges or tears? Are all the seams tight with no separation or gaps? Look at the perimeter edges to see if they are tight, secure and have no gaps where they meet the walls and cabinets. If possible, look under the range and refrigerator (many times these areas are damaged, burned or have missing pieces).
- Check all the cabinet doors and drawers for proper function. Are the hinges tight?
- What condition is the sink in? Is it caulked around the perimeter? Are there any chips or scratches? Is there a drain stopper or strainer available?
- Does the area overall have enough working light (over the sink, over the range, etc.)?
- Is the range gas or electric and is the connection to that utility secured to the wall or floor, clean (free of dust, debris, grease, etc.) and covered?
In the next article, we will inspect your BATHROOM.
Mitchell J. Kuffa Jr. has been in the construction industry since 1967. In that time, he was worked as a construction superintendent, general superintendent and construction manager for several large developers in the state of Michigan.
He has been a licensed Michigan residential builder since 1977, was an incorporated general contractor for 11 years and has built and/or run the construction of approx. 3,500 residential houses, apartments, commercial structures and/or light industrial buildings.
In 1981 he started the first private home inspection agency in Michigan and to date has personally performed approx. 16,000 inspections for a fee.
Since 1981, Mr. Kuffa, inspects properties and acts as a construction consultant for the Michigan Department of Mental Health (group homes), UAW Legal Services, numerous lenders, several non-profit organizations and for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Kuffa is a federal housing fee inspector and FHA 203K mortgage loan consultant, works with several attorney’s as an “expert witness”, has been appointed by the Michigan circuit court system to act as a Receiver in several cases concerning construction litigation and teaches a series of construction classes (for misc. school districts, community colleges. Michigan state housing authority, etc.).
Mr. Kuffa has been a member of the National Association of Home Inspectors, in good standing, since 1983.
To learn more about INSPECTIONS by Mitch Kuffa, click here.