Are you looking to buy a new home? Or perhaps you are planning to sell your current one? Before you make any moves, you need to give the property a thorough inspection.
You need to make sure that the house is free from serious structural damage and other issues.
There are over 135 million homes in the United States. Thirty million of them pose safety and health hazards. Moreover, six million of them suffer from structural problems.
Failing to address these problems can lead to costly complications.
But first, you need to learn how to identify them especially the ones that show very little external symptoms. So how do you do it?
Continue reading below as we teach you how to spot some of the most serious structural issues affecting your home.
Table of Contents
Inspection: Why It Matters
Before anything else, you need to understand the value of inspecting your home. Yes, you can spot structural damage on your own. But with the help of a professional inspector, you will know the best next steps to take.
Here are some of the serious effects of structural problems:
Soaring Repair Costs
If you leave these structural issues as they are, you can expect your repair costs to soar. The longer the issues affect your house, the faster they will spread to your home’s foundation. This will require more serious repairs that will cost you a fortune.
Reduces Curb Appeal
Damages to your home’s structural integrity will certainly reduce your property’s curb appeal. Some issues can alter the spaces and dimensions of your home. This will also reduce your property’s resale value in the future.
Experience Referred Symptoms
There is also a thing that they call “referred symptoms.” These are issues that have nothing to do with the core problem. However, they are mere results of it.
Some examples include cracks on walls and sagging floors, among others.
Structural Damage: How to Spot Them
Now let us proceed to the subject of spotting structural damage and other related issues. Let’s take a look at different examples and the signs you need to watch out for.
When was the last time you took a good look at your ceiling? Do you notice water stains extending across or running down the walls? This is a clear sign that you need roof repair.
In worse cases, this may also be one of the signs you need a new roof. Stains mean your roof is leaking. If you fail to address it, leaks can damage your ceiling and insulation.
It can also lead to rotting and the formation of molds that are serious health hazards.
Do you notice your floors sloping? This could mean that one of your floor’s joists is down. Joists are the ones that provide support for the floor.
Once they break or rot, they can alter the once level floor that you have. Since this involves your home’s structural support system, a structural engineer should give it a closer look.
Cracks on Windows
Another part of the house you need to inspect is your windows. If you notice any cracks appearing out of nowhere, it can be a sign of structural shifting. This shifting creates pressure that is too much for your windows to take.
Normally, these cracks start with a single one. Then it runs from one edge to another. If you see cracks on your other window panels, it is time to call a contractor for help.
Additionally, if you are having a hard opening and closing your windows, it is also a sign that structural shifting.
Next, you need to examine your walls. Do you notice any portion bulging, leaning, or bowing? This means the stability of your walls is decreasing.
Several factors cause wall instability. If you are near a busy road, the vibrations from vehicles can be a factor. Another is the load that you put on your home’s floors.
Apart from bulging, you must look for cracks on your walls. These cracks may appear horizontally or vertically.
If you have brick walls, check if they have cracks. Moreover, check if the bricks are already separating from one another. Generally, these separations appear where the wall and roof meet.
You should also check where two walls join together. If you see that there is a gap, it is a sign that your house is splitting apart.
Climb up your roof and give it a good look. See if you can find any sagging parts. Sagging roof means possible termite damage.
It can also mean that the supporting elements are starting to overload because of time. Or, there may be an incorrect sizing on the part of your framing timbers.
Check for signs of crumbling concrete in different parts of the house. Inspect the underside of your property to see if there are pieces of concrete lying on the ground.
Crumbling concrete is generally a result of exposure to chemicals or high moisture. These things cause chemical reactions that slowly disintegrate concrete.
Furthermore, when your home’s steel reinforcement absorbs salt, it results in corrosion. Corrosion causes the steel to expand. In turn, it breaks the bond that forges the steel and concrete.
Last but not least, check the paint on your walls. Do you see any peeling or blistering? If so, don’t remove the paint or apply a new coating just yet.
Peeling is a possible sign of leaking. When leaks occur, moisture can reach your walls. This causes the paint to peel and blister.
Hire a professional to inspect the wall. This will help you determine with certainty if the leaks are causing the paint to peel or if it is a case of a poor painting job.
Ensure the Safety and Beauty of Your Home
Spotting the different signs of structural damage is a must for every homeowner. Detecting the problems early can save you time and resources.
But problems with your home’s foundation are not the only threat. Other issues may affect not only your property but your family as well.
We encourage you to check out different articles about homes. We discuss home improvement topics and provide tips that will help ensure the safety and aesthetic value of your property.