Friday, May 30, 2014

Does your home have good 'bones'?

There are 3 main components to the structure of your home, the foundation, the exterior walls and the roof.  If these parts of your home are properly designed and built then your house can be said to have 'good bones'.
Foundation
Newer foundations are formed from poured concrete surrounding a crawlspace or basement.  Other foundation materials are concrete block, brick and stone.  In some it is a poured concrete slab which serves as both the foundation and the finished floor for the first level of the house (aka, slab on grade).

Signs of potential problems:

  • Any Horizontal Cracks
  • Vertical Cracks greater than 1/4" 
  • White powdery substance "efflorescence"
  • Bowing of walls


Exterior Walls
If you have a house built using wood framing you will have an exterior covering over the wood sheathing.  Siding is made from a variety of materials such as vinyl, wood, concrete fiberboard, aluminum, steel or composite wood.  Your exterior walls may also be covered by stucco, stone, tile, brick veneer or a combination of any of these.  For aesthetic purposes and to cover joints at corners and around doors you may also have exterior trim.

Signs of potential problems

  • Peeling or cracking paint
  • Cracks and/or staining on stucco
  • Cracks or holes in siding
  • Damage, swelling or rot along edges
  • Cracks in brick or mortar
Roof
The roof is usually built to provide a sloping surface intended to shed rain or snow.  In most homes these angled surfaces are created by engineered lumber called trusses.  They are most often finished with shingles but a wide range of materials are used such as tile, slate or steel panels. The rafter or truss ends are covered with framing lumber commonly referred to as fascia and overhangs are typically covered with wood or vinyl pieces referred to as soffit.  The gutter and downspout system is designed to direct and move water away from the house.  This system includes: drip edge or flashing, gutters, downspouts and extensions.

Signs of potential problems

  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Leaks behind gutters
  • Missing drip edge (flashing)
  • Damage to soffet or fascia

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