Our inspection process

Like most diagnostic processes, a home inspection with Scratch and Son starts from the top down then the outside to the inside.  

The Roof

We start on the roof then move down to the exterior walls on to the landscaping next to the home.  We look at the driveway leading to the house and the walkway to the front and rear doors. Inspection of the front porch or backyard deck happens then too.  If we are inspecting a home that has a detached garage or a outbuilding larger than 100 sq. ft, we inspect that. We look at many aspects of the homes “envelope” and always at how the water drains away from your building.  

The roof system is very important to a home.  It keeps the snow and rain out and protects the insulation systems.  Roofing material has changed over the years but the principles of shedding water or draining water are the same.  We look at how the roofing material is performing as well as what house components penetrate the roof and how they are performing.  For example you can have a brand new roof shingle that is high-end but, if the flashing around vents and stacks are in bad shape, the water still gets in.  As part of the inspection of the roof we will also look at the chimney or any other masonry connected to the HVAC system.

Electrical, plumping, HVAC, structure and insulation/ventilation

Inside a home, there are many systems to inspect and we do that room by room.  For example in the kitchen you have multiple components of house systems. Systems are, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, structure, interior and insulation / ventilation.   Components in the kitchen to those systems would be: faucets and drains for plumbing, electrical outlets and fixtures for electrical, the heating registers for HVAC, floor and walls for structure, countertops and cabinets for interiors and windows, doors and exhaust fans for insulation.  Each room will have multiple components of most systems.

Safety is paramount

We look at components of the house systems based on priorities.  First is safety. This looks at trip hazards, obstructions, fire safety and environmental concerns such as water contamination and mold. Then we look at electrical performance, water penetration, window and insulation performance.  How your house heats and cools and water heaters are looked at to ensure operation and to determine life expectancy.

As a client you don’t have to do much.  If you are the buyer, you are welcomed and encouraged to walk-through with the inspector (with the exception of going on the roof).  If you are getting your home inspected as the seller before listing, we encourage you to make as many areas accessible as possible.


There are limitations to inspections.  If the roof is too steep or covered in snow the inspector will not go on it.  We will try to discern the condition of the roofing system and components from the edge or eve of the roof and with binoculars.  If the attic is not accessible or is not enough space to fit the inspector (often found in flat roof buildings), we record the limitation and do our best to determine conditions visible from below.  This is Ottawa and the chances you will be buying your home in the winter months is high. Inspecting the landscaping, driveway and outdoor features may not be possible due to snow and ice. We will record this limitation and do what we can using Google Maps, Google Earth and listing information to give you an idea of what may be there.