What are The Signs of Structural Damage to a House?
Experiencing structural damage in a home can be a nightmare. From sloped floors to warped ceilings, gaps in-between walls, or even pest infestation. These are all issues that have to be addressed in a time-efficient manner to protect you and your family and also ensure your house retains its overall value. In such circumstances, it is always essential to schedule a comprehensive home inspection to fully assess the extent of the damage. More importantly, a home inspection by a certified Home Inspection Raleigh NC professional will bring to light the necessary repairs or upgrades your residential property needs. Here are some of the top signs of structural damage to a house.
Cracks in the foundation and masonry
Foundation cracking is one of the most common symptoms of structural damage to a home. Cracks on the foundation may develop, with the passage of time, due to material shrinkage or even seasonal freeze/thaw cycles. Also, trees or shrubs planted in close proximity to your foundation might significantly undermine its structural integrity. To this end, you ought to always pay close attention to the progression and severity of cracking in your foundation. You should as well minutely inspect it on a regular basis for crumbling or deterioration which is usually attributable to extended exposure to moisture. Cracks and fissures are a particularly prevalent issue with concrete foundations, brick exteriors, or masonry.
Always be on the lookout especially for horizontal cracking that is, by far, the most serious cause for concern. In most cases than not, this usually indicates moisture seepage in the foundation as it freezes and expands, and as it thaws and contracts. On each occasion this occurs, an area of your foundation will be weakened and ultimately break its sections.
Cracks on walls and around door/window frames
The exact condition of the area surrounding door frames and window sills may easily alert you of what is really happening under the walls. For instance, cracking in lintels may be an indication they are failing, an occurrence that can cause a collapse in that area. The main culprits behind such damage are rot attributable to moisture damage or even structural shifting. On the other hand, cracking around window sills could infer moisture present within the walls. Alternatively, diagonal cracking around the corners of door frames tends to happen on load-bearing walls. Since openings surrounding doors and windows are normally the weakest points on walls, cracks triggered by shifting walls very often commence there. Generally speaking, this could indicate the sinking of the footings which support your house.
Older homes or those constructed on high water tables can start to manifest signs of settlement in the foundation. Other notable causes of sagging or sloped floors include incorrectly installed footers or sub-floors, deteriorating support beams, or even moisture damage. Sloped floors may also be a sign the joists supporting them are rotten or broken which eventually gives rise to the settlement in that given area.
Dry mud tubes on the foundation
This is usually a sign that termites are devouring your walls and can stretch from the ground to the siding. Termites happen to be subterranean pests that love been covered as they move back and forth in their nests. To hide their movements, termites construct these given mud tubes on the exterior and interior of the foundation. In spite of their diminutive stature, these pests can also devour support beams, ceiling joists, and even walls studs. This, when not checked, will trigger extensive structural damage to a home, with the passage of time. A house infested by termites may ultimately become uninhabitable.
Ideally, roof cladding is meant to offer a service of no less than 3 decades before necessitating replacement. Should your house’s roof be leaky, but has not exceeded its lifespan, the issue can be attributable to wood frame movement, weather-induced damage, or insufficient maintenance. When left unimpeded, roof leaks will cause extensive damage to a home’s interior structures that can be very costly to repair. Conversely, sagging rooflines are often indicators of roof structure problems. Typically, this could be as a result of load-bearing walls which are removed, overloading of supporting members, wrong sizing of framing wood, or termite damage.
The underlying cause of crumbling concrete or brickwork tends to be exposed to excessive moisture or chemicals. Concrete can absorb salts and chlorides that trigger chemical reactions in the concrete. These reactions give rise to crystals that grow and expand, severing the bond between the material. Salts might as well react to steel reinforcement leading to its corrosion, and make it to expand up to 5 times its usual size. In houses, mortar erosion can manifest itself at the bottom parts of brickwork, beneath the damp coarse, or the waterproofing membrane. This occurrence normally indicates more serious issues that need to be resolved.
Doors and windows that stick out
When your doors or windows are out of square, this can be an indication that your home’s foundation is experiencing settlement. You may check if this is so by going outside and examining the exterior walls for sloping, curving, or leaning.