Structural Integrity

Structural Integrity

PhotoFew things can lower the value of a house like foundation problems. Whether you're a homeowner or a homebuyer, learn how to spot current or potential problems by looking out for the following signs.

Inside the house:

    • Floors slope or have depressions, humps, or soft, spongy spots; tiles are raised or cracked; hardwood is warped.



    • Wallpaper is torn, wrinkled, or curling.



    • Cabinetry won't stay shut and/or has separated from walls or ceilings.



    • Doors or windows don't open and close properly, and/or have gaps between them and the framing; frames are askew.



    • Cracks in sheetrock, walls (particularly at joints), ceilings, the basement, moldings; in and around fireplaces; and at the corners of window and door frames.



    • A lot of nails popping out of sheetrock or corner frames.



  • Bowed basement walls.


Outside the house:

    • There are cracks in the brick veneer or mortar, most commonly found in a zigzag or "step" pattern that follows mortar.



    • The brick veneer is pulling away from window or door frames, leaving a gap.



    • Fascia boards are separating; this is especially common at the corners of the house.



    • The roofline is uneven.



    • The chimney is cracked and/or tilted.



    • Visible cracks in the foundation. Hairline cracks are normal and unlikely to be problematic; larger cracks, which can let water in, are cause for concern.



  • Gaps between garage doors and the ground.


If you see any such signs around your current house, don't hesitate to contact a professional – left unaddressed, small problems can become big ones. If you're considering buying a home that exhibits any of these signs, be sure to have it inspected so you have a clear understanding of its condition.


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