Many buyers and sellers who order inspection reports will find that the inspector has included mentions of windows, skylights, and window screens. Oftentimes these items are flagged in the report for further evaluation, repair, or replacement by a contractor or other qualified professional. But there are buyers and sellers who may wonder why something as minor as a cracked windowpane or torn screen, for example, warrants that kind of attention. They may question why is can arise as an inspection report issue that even has the potential to delay the closing of a home sale.
There are a number of issues that may be flagged in a written inspection report, whether it was ordered by a home owner to get better insight into their home’s condition before listing and selling it – or by a prospective buyer wanting similar information prior to closing.
Common ones include, for windows, cracked or missing panes. That’s a problem because obviously absent window glass lets the outdoor elements inside. But even a crack can be an issue because it represents a hazard. Run your hand across it and you can get cut, even if the crack is barely noticeable. Cracks also lead energy, and they can cause a windowpane to shatter due to force exerted through the window unit upon opening or closing. Shattered glass that happens unexpectedly can offer all kinds of hazards.
If the frame of the window – the part than encases it – is structurally unsound or if the locks and other hardware don’t work properly – or if the window is stuck or otherwise doesn’t function smoothly for opening and closing, those are issues worthy of repair.
That goes for the framework of skylights, too, as does the point that a cracked or broken glass on a skylight is both a safety hazard and an easy way for energy – like heating and air conditioning – to escape. The most common problem with skylights, though, is leaking, especially around their frame.
Skylights are basically an intentional hole in your roof that has been filled with a special type of window. Whenever your roof has a hole, it has to be filled in a way that makes it perfectly sealed and tight. So the inspector who notices that the skylight may be leaking will flag it, so that if needed you can have it properly caulked, sealed, or reinstalled.
With screens, the frames can become warped so that the screen doesn’t really fit the window gap, and that means the screen is ineffective. Flies can get in through that wobbly frame, for example, just as they can enter through a rip in the screen. So can other insects. That’s a big reason why window screens are actually designed to protect your health, and if they are flagged by an inspector as not fully functioning, they need to be attended to in order to ensure your health and safety.
What to Do Next
If any issues pertaining to windows, skylights, or screens are mentioned in the inspection report, take those seriously. When you have any questions or need clarification, just as the inspector. Then follow whatever recommendations they have outlined. Usually that involves having a window specialist or other professional evaluate the items and make appropriate suggestions for repairs or other solutions. Ask for bids from at least three contractors, unless it is an easy DIY task such as buying a window screen and installing it. Then compare the bids and take whatever action is necessary to remedy any potential problems.
If repairs or replacements are needed, have those taken care of and then the buyer and seller will want to negotiate the cost. The seller will usually do the repair prior to closing. In some circumstances they may also pay cash at closing or reduce the sales price to help accommodate the expense of the buyer doing the repair at a later date. At any rate, solicit 2-4 competing bids to figure out your actual costs. After repairs, upgrades, or replacements of windows, screens, or skylights it is always a good idea to have your inspector return for a follow-up visit to look over the work and give it a clean bill of health or make further recommendations as needed.