Home Structural Deficiencies To Look Out For

March 9, 2020

Home structural inspections are part of the prepurchase inspection process and help protect you from buying a home with major repair requirements. Obvious defects are visible to the naked eye and easily noticed by the average homeowner or potential buyer. What's more concerning are latent deficiencies that most people with an untrained eye may miss. Latent defects in a home usually can't be spotted without some expertise in construction and architecture, which is why certified home inspectors receive appropriate training to evaluate various components and look out for home structural deficiencies that could cause costly problems down the road.

Roof Issues

The roof is one of the most important components because it's a primary source of protection for a home. Damaged roofing materials are often obvious even to a layperson, but it's easy to miss more subtle problems. Major issues with the roof structure may be indicated by uneven or sagging rooflines; some potential causes include incorrectly sized framing timbers, overloaded supporting members, removal of load-bearing walls, or termite damage.

Gaping Walls

Gaps between internal and external walls may or may not be readily noticeable and have several potential causes. A foundation that has settled over time can affect the entire home and often results in exposed gaps between walls or the wall and ceiling and/or floor. A sinking foundation may require underpinning to support the weight of the structure and lift the foundation back into its original position. Gaps can also be caused by sagging floor joists from support pillars being placed too far apart or being damaged by termites.

Crack Concerns

Cracks are typically obvious, but it's often difficult to determine whether they indicate structural defects. A home structural inspection report most likely notes cracks you should keep an eye on. It will also indicate whether cracks should be addressed right away, especially if they're accompanied by uneven floors or sagging ceilings or present in a step pattern above doorways, signaling a more serious problem.

Door And Window Issues

Surprisingly, doors and windows can provide the biggest indication that there's a major structural problem with a home. Doors that won't close properly and windows that get stuck in the frame may provide a significant clue that the foundation beneath the home has shifted and requires professional assessment. However, wood expands and contracts as weather changes, so, for this reason, windows and doors may simply be rubbing against the jamb.

Floor Flaws

Depending on the severity, uneven floors may or may not require immediate attention. Uneven floors may also be a sign of a settling foundation, but other causes include improper construction, inadequate subfloor supports, cracked floor joists, and termite damage. Surface stains and other signs of deterioration in your subfloor may also be an indication of insufficient ventilation and/or drainage beneath the home that should be addressed before rotting occurs.

Termite Damage

Termites are a significant cause of home structural deficiencies over time. Signs of termite infestations are often overlooked until severe damage has already occurred, and expensive repairs become necessary. Detecting termite damage can be difficult because many of the signs are reminiscent of other issues. Homeowners often mistake sagging ceilings, gaping walls, and cracks in walls and ceilings as a minor settling when these issues are being caused by termites. Damage may also be similar to water damage with signs that include swollen floors and ceilings and buckling wood accompanied by a smell similar to mold or mildew.

Each termite species damage homes in different ways and leave different signs. Drywood termites leave piles of wood powder where they burrow and cause wood near their tunnels to blister. Dampwood termites leave behind fecal pellets and cause soft spots in wood. Subterranean termites, which are more common, build mud tubes that may be noticeable on foundation slabs or walls, floor joists, and piers in crawl spaces. They also leave behind termite wings from swarmers and cause hollow spots in wood.

New Jersey's Top Home Inspectors

You can count on our experienced team at All Jersey Home Inspection in South Plainfield, New Jersey, to provide the comprehensive home inspection you need to detect home structural deficiencies. We're fully licensed and insured, and we provide an unbiased analysis of every home we inspect. All our inspectors are fully trained and experienced to evaluate the overall condition of a home's structural integrity, so you're not stuck with some unfortunate surprises. Contact us today at 908-917-0194 to schedule your professional home inspection.