A Home Inspection Examines Sagging Floors and Walls

You’re ready to sell your home, but you’ve noticed those sagging floors, walls, doors and windows. It’s time to hire a professional home inspector who will examine your tired house and give you needed guidance on getting it ready for market.

When floors or walls are warped and sagging, it’s possible things may not be as bad as they look. Wood structure problems usually involve individual members and don’t necessarily indicate that the whole structure will fail. There’s a certain amount of elastic adjustment which puts the stress on other parts of the building.

The good news is that a little warping in wood may not be a big problem, unless it causes structural weakness in connections or causes water tight joints to come apart in places like the roof. You can’t straighten out warped wood, but adding extra support can keep the problem from getting worse.

On the other hand, it’s not always advisable to add extra support. Your home may have bowing or sloping floors or cracking or tilting foundation walls, piers, and columns. If so, your home inspector can help you decide what, if anything, should be done.

Have you had a remodeling project done in the kitchen or bathroom? Floors there may slope or sag because more weight was put on the floor than it was meant to hold. Your inspector can help decide if this is just an annoyance or a structural problem you need to do something about.

Your home may show signs that supporting walls have been taken out. Your home inspector will note this as well as things like missing joist hangars. He’ll note cuts or holes that were made in joists for plumbing, electric or heating and air conditioning lines or ducts. He’ll also look for signs of infestation by insects or fungal attack.

Often in older homes the floor may sag near stairway openings. This isn’t necessarily a serious problem. Because the whole assembly around the stairs has become warped or deformed, trying to correct the problem would be difficult. However, it might be necessary to add a supporting column if a supporting wall below has been taken out.

Another place the floor may sag is beneath door jambs. That’s due to inadequate or improper support. Additional bracing can be added between the joists where the sag is. However, this may not be easy if it’s above a finished ceiling.

A couple of things can cause cracking in walls around openings on the inside of your home. Your house could simply be settling. Or maybe there’s a problem with brick or masonry walls on the outside. It’s also possible the framing could be inadequate, deflected or warped.

If cracks in walls are due to problems with the framework, it’s usually not too serious, and it may look worse than it is. You’d have to break into the wall if you want to repair it for cosmetic reasons.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to a home’s wood structures.  That’s why it’s so important to have a home inspection done before you sell your home. You need to know the condition of those structures and get guidance to correct problems that can be dealt with.

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