How do I know if I have structural damage to my home?
Much structural damage is evident to the naked eye if you know what to look for, even if you are not a professional. Start with your own visual inspection. You are looking for any signs that the integrity of your home’s structure has been compromised. The critical components of your home’s structure are the roof and the bearing walls that hold your home together. Some obvious signs would be a roof that is sagging or windows and doors that seem tilted or unable to close or open.
The damage sometimes results from a single incident like a storm or flood. Other times, the damage is more insidious and develops over time from slower leaks of water inside walls. If you suspect damage, it is always wise to consult with a professional who can possibly help prevent additional damage.
What are some common signs of structural damage?
- Keep an eye out for some of these other signs of structural damage:
- Doors and windows that no longer open easily
- Signs of moisture anywhere in the house – walls, ceilings, Sagging or stained ceilings
- Cracks either in the wood or in the foundation Any wires, pipes or lines that seem to be damaged.
- Any wires, pipes or lines that seem to be damaged.
- Water seeping out of outlets, under walls or anywhere else.
- Signs of wet insulation
Any of these signs usually indicate a larger underlying problem. They will not always follow an event such as high winds, flooding a storm, so always be vigilant.
How do I inspect my home for damage?
Start with the visual inspection we mentioned above. Stand back and look for any sagging in your roof. Open and close all windows and doors and check for any sagging in your floors. “Look, listen and smell” as you walk through your entire house from top to bottom.
Look for any signs of moisture on walls, ceiling, or floors that could include stains, rust, or even standing water. Move furniture from the walls and look carefully for any signs of water. Look up to the ceiling for sagging or staining. Listen carefully for the sounds of any dripping water, particularly in the attic, under sinks, and in the basement.
Smell for any dampness that may be hidden. If you do not see obvious signs of damage, that does not mean you are in the clear. You should always consider calling a professional when there is reason to think there may be underlying issues, particularly following flooding, high winds, or other events. Sometimes buildings do settle. But better to be safe than sorry.
Who do I call to inspect for structural damage?
You can start with a licensed contractor who has experience in structural damage if you are certain that damage is minimal and contained. Otherwise, go to a licensed structural engineer who can easily determine what is the result of normal aging vs. What is evidence of more serious structural problems. A structural engineer will assess all structures and systems including the roof, walls, framing, crawl space, foundation, exterior walls and more.
How do I find the right professional to repair my house?
This is going to depend upon the type of damage and the severity. Once you and a home inspector have determined the extent of the damage, you can determine next steps. You may want to reach out to a civil engineering consultant to help address structural concerns and determine the appropriate remediation and professional required. These may range from building contractors, roofers, and more.
When can I repair structural damage myself?
Unless you are an experienced contractor or licensed technician we always recommend hiring a professional. Aside from not being qualified for the job, there are other issues to consider such as building permits, code requirements, and how your work may impact other parts of your structure. Hiring a professional will make sure your repairs are made to code, and to safeguard your home in the future.