Whether it be preventative measures or proactive measures to secure your home’s structural soundness, it’s important to know what’s involved in keeping your home and its occupants safe.
Here are the five top tips for keeping your home structurally sound.
1. Watch out for signs of structural issues
It’s important to keep an eye out for any evidence of structural issues with your home. One of the most obvious examples is cracks.
Cracks and signs of crumbling can appear in chimneys, walls, ceilings, household foundations and elsewhere. Growing cracks are especially concerning, but really any cracks should be taken seriously.
If you notice any cracks or crumbling, hire a suitable professional (e.g., qualified surveyor, chartered engineer or registered architect) to come out and take a look. It goes without saying that if there are any structural issues, you’ll need to have them addressed as soon as possible.
Other signs of structural issues include water leaks/water infiltration and uneven finishes. You may notice leaks or water damage when it comes to water-related problems. If a leak continues to the roof, it can lead to instability, posing a structural danger. This may not even take very long to occur for heavy leaks, so if you see any signs of water leakage/infiltration, hire a plumber immediately.
Lastly, uneven finishes can also point toward issues with your home’s structural integrity. For example, watch out for bulging floors/doors. Also, if you spot windows that aren’t sitting level in their frames anymore, you should call out a suitable professional promptly.
2. Have damaged floor joists replaced
As the wood deteriorates, it loses its strength and durability. Therefore, replacing any floor joists if they are damaged or worn down or if you are otherwise concerned about the strength and other qualities is important.
Floor joists are important for your home’s structural integrity, considering that these beams are used to hold up the property while transferring weight from higher up down to the property’s very foundations. We recommend hiring a professional to address these issues, especially as they may not even be safely accessible for a DIYer. Moreover, hiring someone who knows exactly what is involved for safety reasons and to ensure the best outcome possible is important.
3. Repointing your property
You should have your home repointed once every 5-10 years. This involves renewing the finish between bricks or stone used to construct a property. Ultimately, having your house repointed can help maintain how structurally sound it is.
As mortar deteriorates with time, cracks can occur, and bits may even chip or fall off. Repointing not only improves the look of your home’s exterior but protects it from the elements and ultimately reduces the chance of structural issues arising over time.
4. Replacing your guttering
Poor or worn-down guttering can also pose a risk to the structural integrity of your home. Effective and high-quality guttering will appropriately and efficiently remove rainwater from the roof and onto the guttering before disposing it through a drain below.
This is important as faulty guttering means that water will not properly collect in the eaves and roof, which can result in various forms of water damage. These can include rotting timber, metal elements rusting, load-bearing wall damage and weakening foundations. One way or another, any of these issues can damage your home’s structural soundness and pose financial and safety hazards.
Therefore, if you have any reason to suspect your guttering is not doing its job properly, you should have it replaced. The cost of installing new guttering tends to land between £450 and £600.
Also, either way, you should have your gutters inspected once every year or two and cleaned twice a year.
You can clean gutters DIY once you know exactly what is involved and take all the necessary safety steps (e.g., when using a ladder, have a second person hold it from below). If in any doubt, hire a professional. You must hire a professional for an inspection.
5. Repairing or restoring your foundations
First and foremost, you should ideally have your home’s foundations inspected by a professional piling contractor (or another suitable professional) twice a year.
This will be the perfect chance to ask whether any repair or restoration work is needed. Of course, you may also notice problems between inspections.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the following symptoms of foundation issues:
- Cracks in exterior walls
- Cracks in interior walls
- Sticking doors
- Bouncing floors
- Issues with mildew
- Sinking ground
While household foundations can last for 80-100 years, depending on how old your house is and when it last (if ever) had its foundations restored, it’s important to double check (through an inspection) whether any repair work or even a full restoration is required. Of course, the more promptly you have repair work undertaken, the longer your foundations should be before a full replacement is necessary.