Detached garage

If your house has a detached garage, you need not be as concerned with the fire and health hazards mentioned with the attached garage. True, the area is still considered a potential fire hazard; however, since the structure is physically apart from the main building, a fire would not usually result in the loss of life. The main concern with this type of garage is its structural integrity.

Exterior

The exterior of the detached garage is checked the same way you inspect the main house. Walk around the outside of the building twice. The first time, look at the roof and gutters. Do any of the roof beams appear to be sagging? If so, additional bracing might be needed. Have a professional make this determination. Do not assume that the roof over the garage and the roof over the house are in the same condition. Although the roof covering on the main house might be in good condition, the covering of the garage roof might be badly worn and require replacement. (Inspecting roofs is discussed in chapter 2.) Are there gutters all around the base of the roofs? If not, make sure you check all wood siding and trim for rot. The rain runoff from the roof can promote rot. A wood-frame garage with a pitched roof should have gutters. If there are long overhanging eaves or the garage is masonry-constructed, gutters are not a necessary feature, although they are often desirable. If there are gutters and downspouts, see if they need repair. (These items are discussed in chapter 3.)

After looking at the roof and gutters, walk around the building once more. This time look at the walls, windows, and doors. If the exterior walls are covered with wood siding, does the base of the siding extend to the ground? It should end about 8 inches above the ground. If the siding is in contact with the ground, it should be checked for termites and rot. Pay particular attention to the rear wall. You might see a wall that is bowed. This is usually caused by a car that did not stop in time. The wall stopped the car, and in the process, the supporting studs were broken. If such is the case, the wall is in need of rehabilitation. Also, you might sometimes see a wall that is offset;

the bottom section of the wall extends about 3 feet beyond the upper section. This is done to accommodate longer cars than those for which the garage was constructed.

Finally, check the base of the wood framing and trim around the garage doors. This area is particularly vulnerable to rot and termite activity. (See FIG. 7-5.)

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