You can live in a structural sound house for many years without any issues. But, one that has a structural issue is likely to be dangerous. The level of structural issues will tell you how long the house has got before it falls down on you. That’s not a desirable outcome.
The best way to avoid this issue is to know the condition of your home and have it regularly inspected by the professionals. They can identify any issues and help you resolve them before they become a major problem.
If you’re concerned regarding the cost of some structural tests then make sure you specify they use dye penetrant testing. This is a low-cost inspection method that can be used in all non-porous materials to detect a defect that breaks the surface. That means cracks of all sizes.
It’s the most effective way of identifying structural issues and allowing you to take action. Between inspections you should keep your eyes open for any of the following:
Windows that stick when opening are frustrating. They can be difficult to open or close and they make an annoying sound. But, a sticking window, or even a door, can be a sign of something more serious. For example, if the structure of the house moves slightly at one end and not the other, the house will effectively be at a slight angle. This means doors and windows will stick, giving you a warning that you have structural issues.
It’s worth checking all your doors and familiarizing yourself with the gaps around them. If anything changes and especially if it affects more than one door/window, you should get your home inspected for structural issues.
The chimney is usually part of the wall at one end of the house, although it could be anywhere. Although attached it exists as a separate feature. This makes it more vulnerable to small movements in the house, even if it’s just settling. Any crack in the chimney should be noted, monitored, and reported to your surveyor.
It’s worth noting that cracks can also appear in walls. Surface cracks are shallow and of very little concern. But, a crack that goes diagonally ort like stairs up a wall suggests you have a structural issue which needs looking at as soon as possible.
Damp, especially if it is rising from the floor, tells you that there is no dampproof layer in the foundations. This means the damp is climbing the walls and getting into the floors. The longer the floors and any wooden supports in the walls are damp the more likely it is they will suffer from wood rot. That means the wood will become weak, potentially leading to an array of issues.
A sagging roof suggests that the beams are perishing. There are several reasons why this could be happening, including water ingress. But, the bottom line is that the roof is damaged and will need to be replaced. If it’s not, the roof can collapse and weaken the walls in the process.