Buying a house is an enormous undertaking. Whether you’re looking to start a family, expand your family or buy a home purely as an investment, the decision to buy is never simple. It can be intensely emotional. It’s logistically difficult. And for many, it’s also a monetary investment that will take years to pay off. Even decades.

The last thing you want is to buy a house full of structural problems. They can hang around for years, disrupting your life to create more stress than you want and ultimately, hurt your life-savings.

Looking to buy a house? Here are 3 structural problems of the building to look out for before investing.

Wall cracks

If you’re seeing wall cracks throughout the house you’re about to buy, you need to tread carefully. Some wall cracks are purely superficial, but if cracks go beyond surface level, they’ll be sure-fire indicators of structural problems. Problems rooted deep in the foundations of the house.

Wall cracks can be caused by a multitude of factors. Uneven movement of the ground upon which the house is built. Poor workmanship and expanding materials due to age. And loads added to the structure without consideration for how much pressure the structure is meant to take.

Moving floor piers

Considering buying a house built on piers? Be wary of loose, shifting, cracked and crumbling piers. These are definite indicators of ground movement and foundational instability.

Movement may be caused by soil erosion due to absorption of far too much water from broken pipes, over and underground. Another cause could be flooding or even leakage of a storm water drain nearby. Also, the piers may have been built upon reactive clay soil, which expands and contracts throughout the year due to changing weather conditions.

Rising damp

The average Australian may have a few spots of mould here and there. But if you’re about to buy a house with a lower floor and walls covered in mould, flaking paint, tide-like stains and/or crumbling brick, get the foundations double-checked.

The underlying issue is rising damp, and scrubbing mould off the floor and walls isn’t going to fix it. Rising damp occurs when porous masonry, such as stone, mortar and brick, absorbs water up from the ground. Moisture trapped in the floors and walls turns them into a hotbed for bacteria. Left untreated, the porous masonry can eventually explode from the inside out.

Excess moisture may have come from broken pipes, local flooding and corrosion of the membrane that sits beneath the house.

Have you recently purchased a house?

Have it double-checked by experts. Especially if you’ve seen any of the structural problems mentioned in this post or if structural issues were raised during the pre-purchase inspection.

Our team of highly skilled structural engineers would love to take a look and offer our expert advice.

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