Taking care of your home is crucial for keeping your maintenance expenses low and lengthening its lifespan. Whether you’re on the market for a new home or you’ve noticed something strange in the structure of your current one, it’s crucial to be on the lookout for structural damage. While the problems may seem small, they’ll quickly snowball into significant, dangerous issues that may lead to sky-high repair bills.
Structural damage can manifest itself in different ways that may seem unassuming, so it’s best to commission a house inspection regularly to ensure the property is in good shape. Here are six signs your home has structural damage:
1. Soil Coming Away from the House
It’s normal for soil to shrink or expand when temperatures fluctuate. However, if dirt is coming away from your house in large chunks, it may mean that your home’s foundation was improperly laid. You’ll also want to inspect your patio, porch, and deck areas too for soil pulling away. If you aren’t sure of the extent of the damage, don’t be afraid to consult a structural engineer.
2. Chimney Cracks
Luckily, it’s relatively easy to spot chimney cracks or cracks in your mortar when outside your home. Cracks are a sign that your home is shifting in place and exerting extra pressure on your bricks, which can cause them to crumble and collapse. The moment you spot cracks in your chimney, be sure to call a structural engineer to inspect and address the problem.
3. Cracks or Bulges on Walls and Ceilings
It’s important to note that not every crack means structural damage, but it’s still crucial to pay extra attention to them. However, small cracks can turn into something more significant. When you spot large cracks and a sagging ceiling, it’s a sure sign that you have a severe problem on your hands, so do not hesitate to call a structural engineer to assess the damage.
4. Uneven Gaps in Windows and Doors
Your windows and doors are more susceptible to pressure due to the holes cut to accommodate them. The areas around these structures will exhibit signs of structural damage before other areas of your walls, like uneven gaps, doors or windows that won’t open, close, or lock properly, or those that start separating from the wall.
5. Cracked, Sagged, or Sloped Floors
When your home’s foundation shifts, your floor will show signs of cracking, sagging, or sloping. The more intense the movement, the more distinct these signs will be. If you start noticing tiny cracks, slopes or sagging, you’ll have ample opportunity to prevent the problem from worsening by conducting a house inspection and addressing the root of the problem right away.
6. Crumbling Brick or Concrete
Lastly, although an uncommon scenario, concrete and masonry that have been exposed to high moisture or chemicals often begin to erode. This occurs due to a chemical reaction that dissolves the bond of the material, resulting in the crumbling of the concrete. This kind of erosion usually occurs in the lower areas of brickwork underneath the waterproofing membrane in your home.
It’s easy to worry when you find signs of structural damage at home, but the sooner you catch it, the easier it is to remedy. By watching out for these warning signs, you can resolve the issue right away and ensure you have a structurally sound home.
AEI Inspections is a team of structural engineers in Tulsa specializing in house inspections. With over 30 years of experience, we have the knowledge and background needed to identify structural issues and perform troubleshooting of all residential home components and systems. Contact us today to schedule an inspection!