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Common Home Issues

When it comes to real estate, homebuyers and sellers frequently have the same areas of concern. In this section, we address these topics and offer suggestions on how to handle them in the guide below. If you have further questions, please call our office at (615) 573-4468


Radon is a dangerous gas. It’s the leading cause of death from lung cancer for non-smokers. As it seeps into homes from the ground through cracks in the foundation and other locations, gas becomes trapped inside. With no way to escape, the gas can build to dangerous levels. Since it is invisible, odorless, and tasteless, the only way to know for certain if your home is affected is to schedule a radon test.

The EPA recommends that all homes be tested for radon gas. At NHI we conduct a 48-hour test using a continuous monitor. After two days, we retrieve the monitor and quickly send the results to you.

Mold can affect homes in two ways: 1) through mold spores in the air and 2) on surfaces in the home. It can also grow due to excess water inside the home. Identifying the type of mold and the levels of mold in your home is important to successfully treat and eradicate it.

Lab analysis is required to determine if a mold is toxic. NHI’s inspectors conduct thorough mold testing and then send the samples to a lab to be analyzed.

Some types of mold can be cleaned up relatively easily, but others require the services of an industrial hygienist. NHI can help you locate a mold remediator if necessary.

Like many other states, Tennessee has issues with subterranean termites. When purchasing a home, even if a home has been treated and/or has a termite warranty, it’s always a good idea to have a third party available to inspect a home for termites. NHI offers termite inspections that can be conveniently scheduled at the same time as a home inspection.

Rodents and other pests access homes through holes around the foundation and through gaps at the roof line where shingles overlap. They pose a health risk and can damage homes in the following ways:

  • Damage to insulation, duct piping, and electrical wiring.
  • Urine and feces droppings throughout the home.
  • Allergies and other health concerns.

According to the EPA, if your home was built before 1978, it may contain lead-based paint.

  • 87% before 1940
  • 69% between 1940 – 1960
  • 24% between 1960 – 1978


You have most likely heard of the danger lead-based paint poses. Inhaling or ingesting its dust particles causes dangerous health problems particularly to children, but also to adults. Over time lead paint deteriorates, with pieces chipping off and being ground into fine, easily inhaled dust particles.

The CDC ranks lead poisoning as the No. 1 threat facing small children today. Pay close attention to windowsills, doors, and other areas of friction. The law requires that sellers and landlords must disclose known lead-based paint hazards in a home they are renting or selling.

Polybutylene piping was once thought to be the answer to plumbing systems in new-home installations between 1979 – 1995. The piping was cheaper and easier to install, resulting in contractors using these pipes both indoors and out. Time, however, proved this theory wrong.

After 10 to 15 years, polybutylene piping often becomes brittle and subject to sudden failure as it reacts with oxidants in the public water supply. It’s very hard to detect the condition of the pipes because they deteriorate from the inside out. The deadline to file a claim for polybutylene piping in a home that has leaked has now expired.

Louisiana Pacific Siding met a similar fate as that of polybutylene piping. This siding was developed from wood chips and resins, including wafer board and OSB. It was thought to be environmentally friendly and had the added benefits of being cheaper and easier to work with. Unfortunately, improper manufacturing caused the siding to retain water, resulting in shrinking, cracking, and molding.

A distinctive identification feature helps our inspectors to tell if you have this siding on your home: the letters L and an upside-down P in the knothole. Our inspectors can verify if your home has this siding. The deadline to join a class-action lawsuit passed on January 1, 2003.

Masonite is a siding production company, but the word Masonite is commonly used as a generic term, even though it doesn’t encompass all hardboard siding. It can be identified by a series of markings printed on the backside of a piece of siding.

A class-action lawsuit (since expired) was filed against the manufacturers due to the many problems with this siding:

  • Buckling
  • Penetrating nail heads
  • Swelling
  • Fungus growth
  • Wax bleeding


The deadline to file a claim in the Masonite class action suit has passed.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that can be identified only under a microscope. Despite legislation regulating its use, it is still used in a variety of products for fire resistance, flexibility, and strength.

Asbestos is dangerous because its fibers remain in the air for a long time. They are effortlessly inhaled or ingested, where they then easily penetrate body tissues. Fibers remain in the body for several years, causing asbestos-related disease that can take up to 30 years to appear. Diseases include asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other related problems.

If a home has asbestos, what should you do? If the asbestos is in good condition, it should be left alone, but you should always consult a professional. Removal is complex and hazardous and should only be conducted by a professional.