Owning a home involves a lot of work and upkeep, from yard maintenance and landscaping to gutter cleaning and pest prevention. One commonly overlooked point of concern is structural integrity. The foundation and frame are responsible for supporting the weight of the building and its components. It is important to monitor the soundness of the structure of your house. Here are a few common signs of structural problems in the home.
Cracks are Signs of Structural Problems
One of the first signs of structural problems in a home is visible exterior cracks. Examine the foundation and stonework. Cracks often resemble vines or stair steps and can be thin and barely noticeable or wider and extensive. In many cases, wider cracks indicate more severe issues. It is also common to find cracking on only one side of the house, suggesting abnormal settling of the building.
Gaps Around Door Frames
Another sign of structural damage is the formation of gaps around the home’s door and window frames. Generally, gaps will occur on one side. Similar to stonework cracking, these gaps may mean your home is settling more dramatically in one area. Small gaps can be an early indication of structural issues, while large, sudden gaps are signs of more severe structural problems.
Issues With the Chimney can Indicate a Structural Problem
If your home has a chimney, it should be inspected. Checking the chimney periodically will help you discover potential structural issues. Look for cracks and a separation between the chimney and the home. An unstable chimney can be one of the early indicators of problems.
Interior Signs of Structural Problems
In addition to regular exterior inspections, there are interior indicators of structural problems. Windows and doors that do not open or close easily may be due to unusual settling. Check around door and window frames for cracks in the drywall. Interior walls may also begin to warp. Although initially less noticeable, these are also signs of structural problems. Other indications include uneven floors, slanting doorways, and cracks in the basement walls.
Structural problems are not easily remedied without the assistance of a professional. Simply covering or sealing cracks does not stabilize your home. It is essential to deal with these issues as early as possible. As the problem worsens, the repairs become more invasive and costly.