Structural distress in a house is often subtle. You will miss it easily if you are not sure what you are looking for, but if a home inspector indicates you the same distress, you will think how did you miss or overlooked them. Following are some signs and suggestions to look for when you are going to purchase a house:
- You should start looking from across the street. You can notice the big-scale defects from a distance easily than from near the wall. You can recognize the damage and determine to what extent the damage is from across the street.
- Then start walking around the exterior of the house. While walking, you should stop at every corner and keeping your face a few inches away from the wall look at the length of the wall. If there are any bowing of the wall inward or outward, you can spot easily.
- From the corners of doors and windows, look for cracks that are bigger on one end and narrow at the other end. Look closely for the cracks that have been recently repaired, but they are opening up. Don’t hurry, take your time and watch up and down.
- You need to look for the building parts that are moving apart. For example, the place where the chimney is connected to the exterior wall, the place where the perpendicular wall meets, or external landings or decks gets connected to the house.
- Check the doors and windows. They should open and close freely. In window panels are cracked, it might be due to movement in a wall or structural stress. You should check if there’s any interior doorway is missing.
- When you walk around, feel the ground under your feet. You will know when any soft spot comes below your feet or any sloping area. Make the background music or sound of television or radio off when you walk about the house. This is because when you walk and step on a soft floor tile or a crack on the floorboards.
- Check if the cracking is inside and outside too, or there’s any structural fault, you might need underpinning of the foundation of your structure. You can determine the seriousness of the problem you are noticing.
After you have examined the house, now you should consult with a professional home inspector or engineer with the areas you think that they might be serious lurking problem in the structure.