Owning a house means you’re responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property. If you don’t do this then your house is likely to reduce in value, despite the buoyant property market. When you think about maintenance, most people look at clearing gutters, checking plumbing, or even a bit of landscaping. But, it is also important to monitor the structure of your home.
After all, if your property has structural damage you are likely to be facing a serious repair bill. You’ll want to check if your insurance actually covers structural issues or not.
It’s worth noting that most mortgage companies will require a structural survey before the purchase is completed and they generally want proof of insurance for new builds. But, there are no checks if you are buying with cash or you’ve lived in the property for a long time.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to check the structural integrity yourself. Fortunately, there are several effective methods you can employ.
Get A Survey
This should be done when you buy a house, periodically throughout ownership, and if you notice any issues that could be structural. The specialists will visually inspect your property and then use a variety of specialist tests, such as dye penetrant testing. The result is a comprehensive understanding of the structure of your property and you can undertake any repairs necessary.
Remember, repairing issues early is much easier than trying to deal with a big structural issue later on.
Structural issues in properties often happen because the building has moved. It’s normal for a building to settle when it’s just been built. Even if it is built on a concrete foundation the ground underneath will move and this causes the house to move slightly.
The key is to be aware of the cracks in your house and monitor them before you do anything else.
You can measure the crack or fill a section of it. Then, keep an eye on it over the coming months. If the crack gets longer or wider you may have an issue.
It’s worth noting that the worst type of crack is actually a jagged diagonal one. This tells you that one section of the house is pulling away from the rest of the property.
That’s not to say other types of cracks should be ignored. Horizontal cracks can be a sign that you have a foundation issue. Vertical cracks tend to be less serious.
However, any crack that appears to be growing in size should be checked by a professional. It’s the safest way of knowing what issues your property has and how to best fix them.
Check Your Chimney
If your house has a chimney then it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it. Because it rises above the house it is more vulnerable to movement. If your chimney is cracking near the base or is starting to lean you may have a structural issue.
Check Around Doors A Windows
Doors and windows should fit snugly into your home. However, if your property is experiencing structural issues there is a good chance gaps will start appearing around your windows and doors. These are particularly concerning if the gaps are only on one side.
Depending on which side of the window and door the gaps appear, you may find that the doors and windows start to stick.
In other cases, doors, windows, and even cupboard doors will no longer stay shut by themselves. The structural defect will cause the house to sit at an angle which allows doors and even drawers to slide open.
Walls & Floors
Equally, it’s worth looking at the walls and floors in your home. If you find a gap between them on one side of the room but not the other, there is a good chance your house is starting to subside on one side only.
The floors will start to develop a slope and the walls will bend, creating a gap and forewarning you of the issue.
Dealing With Structural Issues
The visual signs and the tests will confirm your home has structural issues. But, to really know what you are dealing with you need a proper inspection. This won’t just evaluate all the issues and give you a detailed report, it will allow you to get quotes for repairs.
Dealing with structural damage can be expensive. But, if you do nothing it will end up costing you a lot more