The structure of the home is what gives it shape and strength. The two main components of the structure are the foundation and the framing system. Each of these components are critical in providing the building with long lasting comfort and stability.
All structures are dependent on the soil beneath them for support, but soils are not uniform. Some that might appear to be firm and solid can liquify and become unstable based on seismic or weather related activity. Also, there are soils that can expand to twice their volume with the influx of water and move structures with relative ease, raising and lowering them and fracturing slabs and other hard surfaces. In fact, expansive soils have accounted for more structural damage than most natural disasters. Regardless, foundations are not uniform, and conform to the structural standard of the year in which they were built. In accordance with our standards of practice, we identify foundation types and look for any evidence of structural deficiencies. However, cracks or deteriorated surfaces in foundations are quite common. In fact, it would be rare to find a raised foundation wall that was not cracked or deteriorated in some way, or a slab foundation that did not include some cracks concealed beneath the carpeting and padding. Fortunately, most of these cracks are related to the curing process or to common settling, including some wide ones called cold-joint separations that typically contour the footings, but others can be more structurally significant and reveal the presence of expansive soils that can predicate more or less continual movement. We will certainly alert you to any suspicious cracks if they are clearly visible. However, we are not specialists, and in the absence of any major defects we may not recommend that you consult with a foundation contractor, a structural engineer, or a geologist, but this should not deter you from seeking the opinion of any such expert.
Framing System -
The 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 earthquakes, winds, or heavy snow. 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 two basic types of framing systems. Both systems must be inspected very carefully for defects such as poor installation, settling, rot, insect damage, and more.