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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.





Mike

Engineer Mike




 

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