It’s vital to have professional building inspectors when buying or selling a home to check for structural damage. Whether it’s a residential or a commercial property, your independent building inspector can find all the issues through the property inspections.
Some signs of structural damage are more common than others which you’ll learn more when you continue reading.
In this post, I’ll show you the ten signs of structural damage during building inspections. Learning what to look for and where to look can help you prevent minor repairs into major ones.
Signs of Structural Damage During Property Inspections
1. Floor Problems
A floor is the foundation of every building. They can be made out of marble, timber, granite, bamboo, cork, tiles, carpet, and more. There are many floor types, and they can add atmosphere to any interior.
However, even some of the best looking floors can hide some issues that might not be obvious to the untrained eye. Being aware of flooring issues is essential when maintaining a property or looking to purchase a home. Without checking the flooring, then structural damage could happen.
Many flooring problems can be eliminated before they even start. But because some didn’t realize this at first, it’s better to conduct home and building inspections done by a professional to save a lot of trouble and money.
2. Roof Damage
Roof issues aren’t easily spotted at first glance unless there’s an evident leak. A check by the untrained eye can easily miss some of the signs of structural damage. Many defects occur in the attic or beneath the surface, where they remain hidden until the damage is already done.
What makes roof damage even worse is that it doesn’t get better with time. Ignoring maintenance problems can create more deep-seated building concerns. Close-up home and building inspections by a professional will often tell you about that problem before it gets worse.
Most industry professionals recommend inspecting twice each year, after the hottest weather and after the coldest weather. Weather events such as high winds could trigger a thorough review.
The purpose of having it inspected is to discover the minor problems before they become a significant headache. The art of roof inspection is indicative of a well-managed building.
3. Deck Failure
Decks appear simple to build. Many people don’t realize that decks are structures needed to be designed to resist specific stresses. A deck should be sturdy enough to support the weight of people and objects. It must be able to withstand lateral and uplift loads as a result of wind or seismic activity.
Moreover, the deck stairs must be safe, and handrails should be graspable. Lastly, deck rails should be safe for children by having appropriate infill spacing.
Any structural damage found on decks could lead to injury, including rail failure or total deck collapse. There is no international system that can detect deck failures, and each is treated as an isolated event rather than a systemic problem.
Some interesting facts about deck failure include more decks collapse in the summer, and 90% of deck collapses due to the separation of the house and the deck ledger board. This allows the deck to swing away from home.
While these facts focus on a single-level residential and commercial wood decks, recommendations stated here could help improve the accuracy of judgments. Still, proper deck on building inspections rely heavily on a professional building inspector.
4. Broken Windows
Besides ensuring that windows are clean both inside and outside, all window hardware should be intact and can operate properly. Building inspectors also check these things for a risk of structural damage.
Windows should freely move up and down, and all the weather stripping should be in good condition. If the windows are worn, decayed, or not moving freely, it would be noted on the home inspection report.
If you are selling your property, and these signs of structural damages are seen, there’s a chance that the property will lower the cost or that buyers might decline to proceed to purchase the property. In this case, your best bet is to make sure all cracked windows and broken seal windows should be replaced.
5. Bathroom Issues
Bathrooms are a big selling point when it comes to home buying. However, these are also an area of the home that can have many issues because of plumbing and moisture. Some of the bathroom issues found in the building inspections include leaky pipes. Leaking pipes can cause water damage, high water bills, and mould problems. If the pipes leak and the water sits on the floor, it can cause your floor to warp.
Another issue is the poor ventilation. This stains the panels, forms mould, and cause an odour to form over time.
Building inspectors also see the window leaks in the bathroom. This can be a problem if it is cold outside as your furnace needs to work harder while raising your home’s cost. Moreover, window leaks in your bathroom would also allow water to enter when it rains.
Proper drainage is vital to keeping a healthy structure and foundation. When water leaks at the base of a building from clogged downpipes and gutters, it can seep into the foundation and create moisture problems.
Sloping grade back toward the home can cause water ponding. If these moisture problems exist, it can eventually cause damage to subflooring, joists, and walls. Extreme cases can lead to termites, wood rot, and other costly issues.
However, expensive repairs for patio, pool, and the building foundation damage caused by poor drainage can be prevented. Many of the problems buildings can have are caused or aggravated by water. All this can damage buildings.
Engineers design structures to reduce the potentially damaging forces of water. However, owners must maintain their or buildings, landscaping, and drainage for the same reason.
Water that collects under buildings is a common structural damage for many. But with the help of professional building inspectors, they can identify the issues and make recommendations on the most cost-effective ways to solve the draining issues.
7. Plumbing Issues
A building may develop plumbing issues from several causes. Joints and seals can crack or erode over time from several causes. Clogged septic tanks or inlets and shifting soil are all causes of plumbing issues.
A DIY movement is one of the popular new trends in residential and commercial property improvement. Many are taking matters into their own hands in terms of repairs, renovations, and upgrades. While DIY can work in some areas, plumbing is not considered one of them.
Plumbing requires a vast knowledge of codes and legal building requirements. As a result, plumbing work can be a significant issue when there are home and building inspections.
Keeping your building’s plumbing in working order requires maintenance care and precautions, especially waste lines. Another common cause of plumbing issues is old fixtures.
So, if you are that person who wants to sell your property and has completed DIY renovations on your home which included plumbing, obtaining a professional building inspection report is a wise move. You can find and address any problematic repairs or workmanship before your home goes on the market.
If your prospective buyer sees that your plumbing works fail, then he might completely derail on your property.
8. Faulty Ventilation
Ventilation is necessary for buildings to remove stale air and replace it with fresh air. Proper ventilation helps to moderate internal temperatures, reduces the moisture accumulation, odours, and other gases that can build up during the occupied periods, and creates air movement which improves the comfort of occupants.
As stated, you now understand how ventilation is essential in every building. One of the signs of structural damage in a healthy home or building is moisture.
Inadequate ventilation can affect proper airflow, leading to condensation issues. In fact, over usage of insulation in new buildings is a common cause of moisture issues. This results in mould and mildew, which can lead to wood rot, water damage, fungus, and more.
When conducting property inspections, the inspector can identify the rates of ventilation in terms of air change rates (the number of times that the air volume in space is changed per hour or litres per second.
The ventilation rate will be defined by the size and type of space and the way it’s occupied (for example, the number of occupants, sources of heat moisture, odour, and contaminants).
9. Electrical Problems
Engaging the services of a home inspector who is also licensed to see electrical problems is a smart practice of a property owner and a prospective buyer.
One of the signs of structural damage being seen during the home and building inspections is the improperly wired switches. This happens when people do their own wiring or hire somebody who has rudimentary electrical skills when wiring an outlet or a switch. When hot and neutral wires get flipped around, a shock hazard can occur.
Another major issue is missing or faulty GFI outlets. GFU (ground fault interrupter) outlets are required wherever an electrical outlet is near to the source of water like the bathroom area.
The indicator of GFI failure is when it frequently trips resulting in power loss to localised electrical components. In that case, GFI replacement is a quick solution and essential to protect you from the possibility of electrocution.
It’s also common to find the improperly buried wire. A wire that runs underground must be correctly installed to protect from the elements, rodents, and accidental breakage.
Lastly, missing smoke alarms is what most owners forget to place on homes and buildings. Smoke alarms are essential and must be located outside of each room.
10. Other Structural Damage
If you have plans of selling your property, you will need to present a standard real estate contract that contains a clause where the sale is subject to a Standard or Structural Building Inspection.
A structural damage means that there’s a fault from the intended structural performance of a building element. Another major structural damage is a defect of sufficient magnitude where rectification has to be carried out to avoid unsafe conditions, utility loss, and deterioration of the property.
Poor building practices or aged buildings can cause structural damage. While it may be normal wear and tear, any structural damage can be soured out from the presence of any of the issues mentioned here.
Older structures in need of repair or even newer buildings, building practices are subject to structural damage. These may include plastering and non-structural wall cracks, faulty windows and doors, damage to flooring, non-structural damp issues, electrical or gas issues, bathroom and kitchen damage, plumbing issues, damaged roof tiles and gutters to name a few.