What is the difference between a Major Repair and a Minor Repair?

Here at Mountain State Inspections LLC in Wheeling WV help guide our clients during the home inspection and put the home into prospective for all our clients.

The issues that really matter fall into four categories: 

  1. major defects, such as a structural failure;
  2. things that can lead to major defects, such as a small leak due to a defective roof flashing;
  3. things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home if not rectified immediately; and
  4. safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electrical panel.

Anything in these categories should be addressed as soon as possible. Often, a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4).

Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. It’s important to realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in your inspection report. No house is perfect. Keep things in perspective as you move into your new home.

Major home repairs may require professional expertise most of the time along with more money in materials as well as labor. Some areas require permits for homeowners to undertake a major renovation or repair. These permits and subsequent inspections are meant to ensure that the work meets minimum safety standards. Major home renovations and repairs also require professional expertise, such as skills in engineering, electrical work, plumbing, roofing, architecture, HVAC, and other industries. Many of these projects may be dangerous for homeowners to perform themselves due to lack of knowledge, inexperience, improper tools, and insufficient safety equipment.

Minor repairs constitute work that can sometimes be done to the home with a minimum of knowledge and basic tools that any homeowner is likely to have on hand. However, even a minor home repair or renovation can turn into a mess if the project is not done with care, safety, and attention to detail. Sometimes during the repair and after destructive invasive measures have happened, additional damage or concerns may arise changing a minor repair into a major repair.

Defects not apparent at the time of the home inspection can occur, resulting in additional costs. Please proceed cautiously with any home repair!

Examples of Major Home Repairs

At some point in its lifetime, every home will need one or more major repairs. The most common major repairs that homeowners will encounter include;

  • Mechanical failure of major component other than servicing
  • Immediate safety concerns
  • Roof replacement or repair
  • Electrical wiring problems
  • Plumbing issues other than replacing a fixture
  • Foundation problems
  • Water damage
  • Sewer line problems
  • Treatment for environmental issues: mold growth, radon gas, etc.

A typical roof lasts for 30 years and often costs $8,000 or more in materials and labor to replace. A major roof repair may cost $2,000 or more depending on the scope of the problem, such as the need to replace underlayment and flashing. Electrical wiring problems are a serious safety issue that requires the work of a licensed electrician. Professional electricians may charge $125 or more per hour for repairs and the rewiring of a home. Plumbing problems such as a burst pipe can lead to other problems like water damage and mold growth. Repairing a plumbing problem or sewer line problem costs an average of $125 per hour in labor costs plus the expenses of materials. Professional mold remediation or radon gas mitigation costs depend upon the extent of the problem, the square footage of the home and whether materials such as drywall will need to be replaced after the mitigation. Foundation repairs may require extensive jacking and piering or the installation of steel beams to hold up bowing or cracked walls. Homeowners can expect to pay an average of $1,000 per beam or pier that is installed. All these types of major home repairs involve work that requires specific expertise and knowledge.

Electricians and plumbers are licensed as are many general contractors, carpenters, and other professionals who work on home repairs and renovations. The fees charged by these professionals are meant to pay for the knowledge, experience, and attention to safety in every project.

Examples of Minor Home Repairs

When done properly, minor repairs and renovations usually cost less than $500 per project and can often be done by a handyman, general contractor, or even a homeowner who is experienced in using basic tools. Some examples of minor home repairs include;

    • Caulking windows and doors
    • Putting weatherstripping around a door frame
    • Unclogging a shower head
    • Repainting a room
    • Cleaning gutters
    • Replacing a toilet
    • Foam a loose shower-head
    • Re-grading around foundation
    • Caulking around tubs, showers, etc.
    • Adjusting and lubricating a window

Average costs for a handyman ranging from $35 to $80 per hour plus the cost of materials they buy. For small jobs, a handyman might have a minimum charge of $50 to $100.

I hope this information was helpful, until next time, be safe!