Your Structural Home Inspection

Your Home Inspection will include a visual structural assessment of your homes roof, framing, foundation, exterior walls, interior walls, masonry and brick work and any decks or balconies.

 Home Inspection vs Structural Engineer

The main difference is that structural inspections are performed by a licensed structural engineer, while a home inspection can be carried out by certified home inspectors. Both of these professionals are held to certain standards of practice and must possess appropriate qualifications. Typically your home inspector may note some potential or real structural concerns and recommend that you hire a licensed structural engineer to assess the stability of the homes structural elements.

Roof Inspection

Visually inspect for signs of sagging, either mid-roof or ridge line.  Many older roofs will have some visible sagging as rafters were typically used and are susceptible to sagging.  Excessive sagging could be integrity of homes structure due to settling or shifting.  Many older brick structures, such as churches may have threaded rods and anchors supporting exterior walls due to rafter spread actually pushing out the walls.  Rafters are typically reinforced by collar ties, which help prevent rafter spread.

Framing InspectionFraming-Inspections-Orillia

Some of the items inspected during a framing inspection include; are columns centered on footing, beams are not permitted to be notched,  Floor joists to be toe nailed to sill plate,  joist hangers used,  un-level floors or humps, doors not hung squarely, support posts and adequate footings.  Ensure cross bracing is installed in floor joists.   Ensure all nailing patterns conform to Ontario Building Code requirements.

Foundation Inspection

Most modern homes have poured concrete foundations.  Some homes are built with masonry blocks and a lesser amount with wood foundations.  We are going to focus on poured concrete foundations for our structural inspection. An improperly designed or built foundation is a potential source of problems that can threaten a building’s overall structural integrity.

A foundation inspector will examine an existing structure for signs that the building’s foundation has moved, shifted or otherwise begun to fail. These signs can include cracks in exterior masonry, cracks in wallboard or plaster above windows or doors, cracks in ceilings, buckled or shifted floor tiles, moldings that have separated from walls and doors that stick or bind.

A visual inspection will reveal any cracks in the concrete or brick and bowing and warping of support beams or joists of the foundation. The cracks may indicate a foundational shift that could compromise the integrity of the structure.

Cracks in the foundation walls will most often appear at the weakest points, including corners, edges of basement window frames, holes for service, concrete cold joints, long spans of wall, pipe penetrations, and along the tie rodsFoundation-Crack-Inspection in the foundation. Any cracks detected should be checked on regularly – if you suspect that the crack has moved, spread, or widened, then your basement walls may be experiencing increased fatigue which will increase the damage and deepen the problem.  Marking of cracks is a cost effective method of determining if problem is ongoing and further action is required.

Hairline cracks may develop in concrete foundations as the concrete cures. Hairline cracks do not cause problems with the stability of the foundation but do cause leakage problems. If the cracks appear shortly after pouring the concrete foundation, concrete may have been mixed poorly or poured too quickly. In poured concrete foundations, hairline crack frequently appear in the center of the walls because the wall corners have greater stability.

Settlement cracks may appear when the underlying ground has not been compacted or appropriately prepared or if the subsoil was not of the proper consistency. A settlement crack may also appear as a random crack above areas where the soil of the subgrade was uneven after the concrete was poured.

Settlement usually causes diagonal cracks that are almost the full height of the foundation wall. When there’s a settlement problem with footing on one side of the wall, this settlement can also cause a diagonal crack. In a case like this, a structural engineer should be consulted.

Interior Structural Inspection

Examine floors to ensure they are level,  look for any humps which maybe caused by improper framing or support posts.  Doors and windows are also good indicators of movement occurring in the homes structure.  Diagonal cracks off the corners of doors and windows are indicators of possible foundation movement.

Attic Structural Inspection

A visual inspection of your attics roof structure will reveal any broken or damaged trusses or rafters.  Previous water leaks may have damaged or compromised the roofs sheathing.   Any stress cracks in the structural support members can lead to loss of stability and integrity.

Structural Engineer Services

Your homes active load is transferred down from your roof to your footings through load bearing walls and beams etc.   Whenever there are signs of damage, movement or failure of any of these components a Structural Engineer should be brought in to evaluate the component and make recommendations for repair if required.

When buying a new home you might be interested in reading about our Plumbing Inspection, Electrical Inspection or read our Questions and Answer Page



The Orillia Home Inspector

Call Roger Frost if you require more information or answer to a specific question.  705-795-8255

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