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  • Writer's pictureEngineer Mike

What to Do If Your Home is Having Structural Problems

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Visible damage to a home can be very stressful for the homeowner. If you think structural damage is happening to your home, step one is to hire a licensed structural engineer to document the conditions of your home. Unfortunately, having a construction professional, like a licensed contractor, evaluate your home is not helpful because they are not considered “expert witnesses” by courts.

An excellent place to find a structural engineer in your area is to get a referral from a construction defects attorney or a construction company specializing in repairing structures and sites. Also, talk to your neighbors to see if they have similar problems or recommendations.

The report prepared by the engineer should include, but not be limited to, the documentation, through notes and photos, of the following:


1. Damaged Drywall Around Windows

Drywall crack at window corner.
Drywall crack at window corner. These types of cracks tend to get worse over time.


2. Damaged Doors

Out-of-square doorframe.
Out-of-square doorframe causes a sticky door.


3. Damaged Drywall Around Doors

Diagonal drywall crack at corner of doorframe.
Drywall crack at corner of doorframe. These types of cracks typically get worse over time.



4. Damaged Interior Walls

Drywall crack adjacent to a wall opening.
Drywall crack adjacent to a wall opening.


5. Damaged Wood Trim and Tile

Damaged floor trim and tile.
Wood trim and tile damage due to floor movement.


6. Garage Slab-on-Grade Cracking and Movement

Diselevated and cracked garage concrete slab floor.
Cracked and diselevated garage slab-on-grade sections.



7. Damage on Garage Walls and Ceilings

Cracks and separation in drywall in garage.
Cracks and separation in drywall on garage ceiling.


8. Water Damage in Basement

Water damage and staining on basement floor.
Water seepage at the corner of basement.


9. Cracked Foundation Walls

Foundation wall crack.
Foundation wall crack on basement wall.



10. Cracked and Heaved Basement Slab-on-Grade Floor

Crack in basement slab-on-grade floor.
Crack in basement slab-on-grade floor.


11. Framing Damage

Rotated floor beam measured by a man holding an electronic level.
Rotated floor beam.


12. Movement of Basement Structural Floor

Structural floor and crawlspace below, with metal floor joists and black plastic crawlspace liner.r
Structural floor and crawlspace below.



13. Crawlspace Problems

Crawlspace with black plastic liner, insulated foundaton walls, and floor joists.
Moisture problems and broken sewer lines in crawlspaces are commonly caused by foundation movement.


14. Ductwork Problems

Furnace ductwork in basement.
Displacement of flexible duct connector indicating movement of the basement slab-on-grade floor.


15. Foundation Drain Sump Pit and Pump Problems

Foundation drain sump pit with water flowing from two pipes.
Common foundation drain system problems can include non-functioning pipes or excessive flows.



16. Grading and Drainage

Stones and cobbles between two buildings or houses.
Stones and cobbles can impede the proper flow of drainage.


17. Exterior

Crack in exterior stone on exterior of building or home.
Cracks in stone facades, siding, or stucco can indicate serious structural problems.


18. Porches and Stairs

Big crack in front porch and stairs.
Cracked front porch of a home.


I hope this information helps you to be able to implement a plan of action if you think your house has structural damage. Visit my photo collections page, which has examples of damage that can be due to construction defects.


Engineer Mike


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