A predrywall inspection is the most important inspection in the home building process. If you don’t do any other inspection, do this one. It is the last time that what is inside the walls can be seen. This inspection is done after all of the trades have finished their rough-ins. Wires have been pulled, water and sewer piping has been installed, ductwork is in place, and the framing is complete. Once the sheetrock is installed, none of this can be viewed. Your builder will probably tell you that they have a 3rd party inspector inspect the structure before the drywall goes up. Who does that inspector work for? If he constantly finds too many things, they will replace him. Some builders will give him a list of the only things that he is to inspect.

Your best bet is to hire an inspector who will work for you. You inspector will need to go in right before the insulation and drywall is installed.

Some of the items that are checked:

    • Are the sole plates treated for wood destroying insects?
    • Are the studs over-bored or over-notched?
    • Are the plates over-bored or over-notched?
    • Has proper wind bracing and braced wall lines been installed?
    • Are the headers properly sized for the span?
    • Are the headers properly supported?
    • Has fireblocking been installed at the required locations?
    • Are the Truss Joists properly bored?
    • Are the roof trusses properly braced?
    • Is the wall sheathing properly nailed.
    • Does the roof decking have edge support?
    • Is the roof and floor decking properly oriented?
    • Has the box fill capacity been exceeded at the electrical outlet boxes.
    • Is the electrical wiring properly secured?
    • Is the electrical wiring properly protected?
    • Are electrical receptacle outlet boxed in the required locations and with proper spacing?
    • Are plumbing and mechanical piping properly protected?
    • Is safety glass present at the required locations?
    • Are the window properly flashed?
    • Has self-adhering flashing been rolled?
    • Will the framing allow for R-30 insulation, or will R-38 be required?
    • Have baffles been installed at the soffit vents?
    • Are the HVAC ducts properly supported?
    • Are the A/C secondary drain lines terminated in a conspicuous location?
    • Is there proper clearance between flue pipes and combustible materials?
    • Do exhaust fans vent directly to the exterior?

Although your builder may use a third party inspector, you should have a predrywall inspection before any insulation or drywall is installed, and make sure that any corrections needed are done. Another set of eyes is always a good idea. For that, hire a home inspector.

Author Larry Wedige (TREC#6060) of LarryInspects Home Inspection Service in San Antonio Texas is licensed by the State of Texas as a Professional Real Estate Inspector and has over 18 years of home inspection experience and over 50 years of home building and remodeling experience. He has taught the home inspection curriculum at San Antonio College and exceeds the required hours of continuing education yearly. Some of the information here may not be applicable to your area. Review this information with your engineer or inspector for further details.