DAK Home Inspections, Inc. - Structural Inspections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The structure of the home is what gives it its shape and strength. The most commonly asked questions of a professional home inspector are related to evaluating the condition of the structure. The two main components of the structure are the foundation and the framing. Each of these components is critical in providing the building with long-lasting comfort and stability. Major defects in the structure can be very expensive to repair. DAK Home Inspections, Inc. will carefully inspect all visible and accessible portions of the foundation for defects.

 

 

Structural     Exteriors     Roofs     Plumbing     Electrical     Heating & Cooling     Interiors

 

 

Structural - Foundations

 

Foundations                  Foundations

The foundation of the house is often viewed as the most important part of a building. It supports the entire home, its contents, and the people who live in it. The type of foundation is noted by the inspector and then inspected for cracks, settling, water leaks, and overall condition. Different types of foundations are subject to different problems, but all foundations have the same major job, to support the building.

 

Poured Concrete Foundations

 

Poured Concrete Foundations                  Poured Concrete Foundations

Poured concrete walls should be reinforced with steel rebar. When poured, the footing should have a V-shaped groove at the top with rebar from the footing - exposed to tie the wall steel. The concrete wall should be at least 8 inches thick and it should be poured in a single pour. The inspector will evaluate the condition of the concrete foundation and examine any cracks or other defects, signs of water seepage, etc. Any problems, severe or otherwise, will be brought to the attention of the buyer and recommendations made to correct these problems.

 

 

Cement Block Foundations

 

Cement Block Foundations                  Cement Block Foundations

Concrete blocks, also referred to as concrete masonry units (CMU) can be used as basement walls as well as retaining and crawl space walls. Regardless of the end use, a concrete block wall must have a supportable footing. A horizontal crack in a basement wall, even if it is only a hairline crack, can be the most significant crack observed and the most costly to repair. The inspector will carefully examine all visible foundation cracks and make recommendations depending on the severity of the crack. A significant crack may cause a wall to fail and be very costly to repair.

 

 

Brick Foundations

 

Brick Foundations                  Brick Foundations

Although brick foundations are usually seen in older homes, it is no longer cost effective to install brick foundations and this type of foundation is often not as durable compared to other modern installations such as poured concrete or cement block. A brick foundation is installed in much the same way that a solid brick house is built, except it is below grade and should rest on a solid footing. It is not uncommon, however, that some of these foundations were not placed on footings and now may be settled badly. Brick foundations are inspected carefully for the particular defects that they are prone to such as, settling, water seepage and deterioration of the bricks themselves. Many brick foundations have been sealed with wire lathe and cement stucco giving them a look of a poured concrete foundation.

 

 

Stone Foundations

 

Stone Foundations                  Stone Foundations

Stone foundations are usually seen in very old homes. They were seldom used in construction dating after WW II. Stone foundations can be prone to settling and water seepage. A unique problem to stone foundations is that the foundation itself can be a source of Radon gas, which is an environmental hazard. This type of installation is also prone to such problems as settling and water seepage. A stone foundation, when maintained well, is a very aesthetically appealing installation, but must be inspected carefully. Joints wear quickly because they are usually not smooth and uniform. Shifting or settling can occur because of the uneven nature of stones.

 

 

Slab Foundations

 

Slab Foundations                  Slab Foundations

Slab-on-grade foundation is used when the structure is built directly on the ground. Monolithic slab-on-grade foundations require a wide base and steel reinforcement. A floating slab is a reinforced slab placed between two walls and footings. Aside from the usual defects (cracking, seepage), the inspector will be looking for slab foundations are more susceptible to termites and other insects. Slab homes are difficult to inspect because almost all of the entire structure is enclosed and not visible. Other areas will be inspected more carefully for indications of problems related to slab-type construction.

 

 

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Structural - Framing Systems

 

Framing

The many components of the framing system make up the support system for the floors, ceilings, walls, and roof. Most homes are constructed using timber framing and a small percentage using metal. The buildings basic design and location will dictate the type of framing used. In some parts of the country, buildings must be designed with special resistance to high winds or heavy snow loads. All structures should be built to reduce the effects of shrinkage, warping, fire, and water damage. The majority or sometimes entire framing system is often hidden by the finished materials on the walls, ceilings and floors. The finished materials are inspected carefully to see if they give clues to defects which may not be readily accessible. There are three basic types of framing systems: western platform, balloon and post and beam. All systems must be inspected very carefully for defects such as poor installation, settling, rot, insect damage, and more.

 

 

Western Platform Framing

 

Western Platform Framing

Most modern residential and light commercial designs use platform framing. The first floor is built on top of the foundation walls like a “platform”. The walls are then constructed on the platform and the second story floor or platform is built on these walls. This process is repeated for each additional floor. This type of construction provides a safe and simple form of building. When a slab is used for the foundation, the first story walls are raised and the second floor becomes the first “platform” of the building. Your inspector can quickly identify the type of framing used for construction and adjust his/her inspection according to the style.

 

 

Balloon Framing

 

Balloon framing

Balloon framing is seldom used in modern construction, but it is still often seen in older homes. The wall studs start at the base of the building and are continuous to the attic. The floor beams or joists are attached to the wall studs and supported by a ribbon board. There is limited shrinkage of the wood in balloon framing reducing vertical settlement of the building. Fire stops must be installed to prevent fires from quickly spreading from one floor to the next.

 

 

Post and Beam Framing

 

Post and beam framing

Post and beam framing is a style of construction often found in rustic type of housing or specialty homes. This style of framing lends itself to large open areas. Posts are the upright timbers used to support the roofing system and form the exterior walls. Beams are horizontal timbers used to tie the structure together and support live loads. Post and beam framing is also often referred to as timber frame construction. This type of dwelling is more complex in design because the joining of each post and beam is a vital element in the structural stability of the building. Most of the timbers are exposed which will enable your inspector to carefully check many of these areas with his/her well-trained eyes.

 

 

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DAK Home Inspections, Inc. - AHIT Certified          National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.          National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. - Illinois Chapter

       

David A. Kropp - President - DAK Home Inspection Services, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David A. Kropp

President

 

Email:

dakhomeinspections

@gmail.com

 

Toll Free Phone:

877-788-1259

 

Fax:

847-788-1258

 

 

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Monday - Friday

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DAK Home Inspections, Inc.

DAK Home Inspections, Inc.

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