Inspecting Your Homes Structure

A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organized. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings. Reporting structural observations is part of a home inspector’s job.  Offering a definitive determination as to the cause of any defects or anomalies is not.   A structure can include; roof, lintels, beams, columns, walls, floors, stairs and foundations.  The Orillia follows the InterNACHI Standards of Practice during inspections.

Structural Engineer v.s. Home Inspection

The main difference between a structural inspection and a home inspection is that a structural inspection assesses the safety of the structure of your home, while a home inspection assesses the condition of your home.Structural Home Inspection

A residential structural inspection is conducted by a structural engineer and looks at the load-bearing elements of your home, such as the foundation, framing, and roofing. They will also look at any visible damage to these elements and assess whether or not they pose a safety hazard.

A home inspection, on the other hand, is conducted by a certified home inspector and assesses the condition of your home as a whole. They will look at everything from the condition of your appliances to the structural integrity of your home.

Parts of Structual Inspection

The Foundation  

No matter what the age of the home, your inspector will look at the basic “envelope” that shields the structure from weather and water. The inspector will investigate the foundation looking for cracks and any signs of movement.  He will also inspect the landscaping including drainage, rain gutters and flashings, and windows.  Horizontal cracks in a homes foundation will typically require further investigation by a Structural Engineer.

The Roof

The inspector will ensure your roof is well constructed and isn’t showing signs of age or deterioration. They’ll also check to see that any openings — like a chimney or skylights — are properly sealed, flashed and free of moss growth and debris.  The roof will be checked for visible swales or other support deficiencies.


The inspector will check for walls to be plumb and straight.  They will also ensure proper footings are installed for any support walls. Basement walls will be checked to ensure moisture barrier is present between concrete and wood base plate.


Floors will be inspected for level and support.  Any variations will be noted in your Home Inspection report.  Changes of floor levels in hallways or entrance door ways could indicate a serious structural deficiency and further investigation would be warranted.

Your wood deck is also a Structural part of your Home Inspection.  Read article on Inspecting Your Homes Deck

Renovation Projects

If you are planning on changing the exterior (creating new opening, enlarging existing opening, addition etc.) of your home, then we need to prepare both floor plans and exterior elevation drawings of your house, and also check local zoning by-laws to make sure that you are allowed to build your project. 

When buying a home where the exterior has been modified you should ensure that all permits and inspections have taken place prior to purchasing the home.  Century Home Inspections require more knowledge and experience than a typcial subdivision home.  Read the Orillia Home Inspector’s article on Inspecting Century Homes.