5 Ways to Spot Structural Damage in Your Home

Structural Damage

Is your cabinet door not closing? Does your cabinet door move on its own? 

A ghost may have invaded your home, but the most likely culprit is structural damage. Structural problems can make home fixtures open and close improperly. 

Other signs of structural damage to a house include internal and external cracking, uneven floors, and leaking roofs. In some cases, you can fix the problem yourself (i.e. repairing smaller cracks). For more extreme cases, rely on a structural specialist.

This article will give you five notable signs of structural issues. Let’s explore. 

  1. External Cracking 

If you notice cracks forming within the brickwork or stonework, you could have a settling problem. If the home settles on one side more than the other, the structure will undergo tremendous pressure.

  • Example: Structural pressure will cause your windows to crack. The crack may run from the window’s edge to the other edge.

Settling cracks will also manifest in the form of zig-zag cracks going upward. They can also be horizontal or vertical cracks. 

Check for cracks around your chimney as well. Chimney cracks also signal settling and foundation irregularities.

Moreover, determine if the chimney is moving away from your home. A shifting chimney reveals a foundation issue, and it means the chimney isn’t on a stable footing.

  • Note: You may also have an issue if your concrete driveway or sidewalk begins to shift away from the other slabs. This is another settling problem. The dirt under the concrete is withering away. 

Many homeowners mistakenly think that shifting sidewalk slabs won’t affect the home’s foundation. The damage may occur away from your home, but soil disruptions can spread to your home’s foundation soon.  

  1. Internal Cracking 

Inspect the drywall for signs of cracking. Structural damage can cause cracking within the inside walls.

More specifically, cracks within wall lintels convey a potential structural collapse within the area. If you find lintel cracks, it could stem from two issues:

  1. Rotting due to moisture damage
  2. Disturbances from structural shifting

With that, not all cracks are serious. You can seal small cracks with plaster. If you notice widening cracks, however, it could be a foundation problem. You can determine the seriousness of the cracks with the following steps:

  1. With a pencil, mark a line at the end of the crack
  2. Write down the date you marked the crack
  3. Watch the crack over time to see if it grows wider 

Overall, cracks less than 5 mm are minor.

  1. Lopsided Floors

Uneven floors indicate a settling quandary. This means the house isn’t settling evenly.

As one side shifts more than the other side, the floors will reflect the lopsidedness. In particular, you may notice the floor sags in the center of the house. 

If you have wooden joists or floor beams, they’ll bend as the pressure increases. The bending causes uneven floors. For masonry foundations, the foundation will break apart.

Moisture beneath a crawl space is another issue. Moisture causes the wood to rot, leading to collapsed beams. 

Uneven floors can also be a safety issue. Someone could stumble over the floor. Further, objects can fall and break. You could also hurt yourself if glass or porcelain breaks on the floor. 

  1. Sticking Fixtures

Does it take more effort to open a window or a door? Structural problems can cause sticking doors and windows.

For example, one side of the door can settle unevenly. When this occurs, a wall or celing can accroach on the door.  

Therefore, the door will be increasingly hard to open. You may also have a hard time latching the door, or it may get stuck. The same can happen to windows. 

Sticking windows may also arise when moisture is involved. Excess moisture around your window can cause your window to stick, especially wooden windows. The moisture can cause the wood to swell, making it harder to move the window frame. 

Your home may also suffer from excessive humidity caused by insufficient waterproofing. 

Additionally, structural dilemmas will cause cabinet complications. As cabinets tilt away from your walls, they become harder to close.

  1. Roof Damage

In severe cases, the moisture could stem from roofing leaks. If you want to know how to find a roof leak, look for the following signs:

  • Moisture accumulations in the ceilings
  • Leaking water from the ceilings
  • Damaged shingles

Foundation issues can also cause your roof to sink. Settling or foundation problems can undo the framing of your house, causing roof disrepair. To assess your home, stand back from afar, and assess the roof’s evenness.

Check the roof ridge to see if there’s any sagging. Additionally, structural problems can lead to a leaking roof. Roof damage can also cause your walls to crack.

Another sign of a leaking roof is high energy bills. Roof damage can cause holes to form in your roof. When that happens, warm or cold air escapes from your home, increasing your energy costs.

Also, roof holes force your AC or heater to work overtime, leading to breakdowns. 

What Should I Do If My Home Has Structural Damage?

If you have major structural damage, contact a foundation repair specialist immediately. They have the necessary tools and equipment to address the problem.

In addition to foundation or settling aberrations, you may have moisture that leads to rotting wood or mold contamination. Structural degradation can be costly if you don’t address the issue right away. 

If you’re thinking, “my house needs a makeover,” read more on our blog to gain insight into other home-based topics. 

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