• RSS feed

    • Home Page

    • Here at Home Renew all you can learn from a professional with 30 years of experience renovating homes how to do projects around the house.
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blogroll

A house would not be a house without a structure. Structural components of most homes include such elements as foundation, beams, floor joists, wall framing, and roof rafters. If you can visualize these components as the skeletal system of a house, then you have a better understanding of their importance.

When purchasing a home that has undergone a remodeling process, it’s easy to miss structural problems during the initial walk through if you don’t know what to look for. Though serious structural problems in houses are not very common, when they occur they can be difficult & costly to repair. Because home improvement projects can either hide or disguise these problems, it’s imperative to know what to look for and know the difference between quality work and shoddy work.

Here are five tips to quickly recognize serious structural problems. These tips won’t turn you into a home inspector, but they will help you recognize some of the common indicators of structural concerns. If you see any of these problems, a structural engineer should be called out to investigate further and provide a professional opinion.

Home Inspection TipsTip 1 – Don’t miss The Obvious
Take a good look at the home from across the street. Is the house obviously tilting or leaning? Does the roof have a sway back or peculiar ridge or is one edge of the home separating?

Tip 2 – Basement Foundation Crack
Home Inspection TipsStart at the bottom with the foundation, if it is good that speaks well for the rest of the house. If the foundation has problems you are sure to find more in the rest of the structure. A well-constructed home should rest on a foundation that is straight and level. Look for significant cracks both inside and outside on the foundation, particularly near corners, around windows, and any cracks that run the full length vertically or a considerable length horizontally. Whatever their construction, (concrete, brick, concrete blocks, etc.), foundation walls crack because of lateral force, settling, heaving or uneven loads (more weight than designed on a specific section of the foundation), of the foundation walls. Natural forces such as earth quakes can also be a contributor in earthquake regions.

Tip 3 – Exterior Walls & Entries
Home Inspection TipsLook for areas of wall separation greater than ½” in size. If the house has brick exterior walls, look for cracks in the brick. Check the Chimney as well. If the chimney runs up the outside wall of the house, is it separating from the home?

Tip 4 – Doors & Windows
Do doors and windows open freely? Look to see if they are square. Check for cracks around the edges of windows and doors and for sagging lintels on brick homes.

Tip 5 –Floors & Walls
Are there drywall cracks greater than ¼” in size? Are the floors uneven or sloped especially near corners? Older homes can be especially bad for this.

Even though structural problems in homes are usually more economic risks than safety issues, some of these risks can be substantial and should be addressed especially in earthquake areas.

Home inspectors, architects and engineers can investigate these possible “signs of trouble”, understand their causes and determine if it’s a real area of concern. Most home owners on the other hand don’t know which signs indicate real trouble or when a crack is just a crack.

Any of the problems talked about above may indicate a structural issue that should be inspected or reviewed by a professional. If you aren’t sure about something you see, have a professional look at it. The cost of an inspection will be well worth the peace of mind in knowing the extent of the concern.

Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “Home Inspection Tips re: Structural Problems”

Really enjoyed reading your blog post. I will have to bookmark your site for later.