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When shopping for a new home or maintaining your current residence, be aware of the warning signs of structural problems. Failure to spot these can lead to costly repairs or severe damage to the property. Homeowners and potential buyers should be informed about what to look for regarding the integrity of a home’s structure.

Understanding the difference between minor cosmetic issues and serious structural concerns is key to maintaining a safe and sound living environment. Here are four signs that could indicate a home has underlying structural issues.

Common Signs of Structural Problems

1. Cracks in the Walls or Foundation

While small hairline cracks in foundation walls or floor slabs may be due to standard settling, large gaps or stair-step cracks may signify substantial structural movement. Red flags include cracks across ceilings and walls or those visible around windows and door frames. If you can fit a dime into the crack, it’s time for a professional assessment.

2. Doors and Windows that Stick or Won’t Close Properly

While humidity can cause doors and windows to swell and become difficult to operate, this can signify shifting frames due to foundation settlement or heave. If you notice a door suddenly starting to stick without changes in weather or higher-than-usual humidity, a deeper structural issue may be at play.

3. Uneven or Sagging Floors are Signs of Structural Problems

If your floors are noticeably uneven, soft, or bouncy, this might indicate a problem with the home’s joists and support structure. Uneven flooring may be a sign of deteriorating timber supports in older homes, while in newer homes, it could suggest inadequate construction or settling of the building.

4. Dampness or Mold in the Basement

Water in your basement can point to many issues, such as poor drainage around the home’s perimeter or foundation cracks, allowing moisture infiltration. While damp areas and mold growth may not be a direct sign of structural damage, consistent moisture weakens a home’s foundation over time and should be addressed promptly.

If you identify one or more of these signs in your home, hire a structural engineer to assess the severity of the issue. Being proactive regarding structural problems can save you from dangerous living conditions and expensive repairs. Whether you are buying, selling, or working to ensure the longevity of your property, knowledge about these signs is indispensable. Stay safe and informed, and when in doubt, seek the expertise of a professional.


Can I assess structural issues in my home, or should I seek professional help?

It’s best to seek professional help from a structural engineer if you identify signs of problems in your home. They have the expertise to determine the severity of the issue and recommend appropriate solutions.

What are the risks of ignoring signs of structural issues?

Ignoring signs of structural problems can lead to dangerous living conditions and expensive repairs down the line. Structural issues left untreated may worsen over time, compromising the safety and integrity of the home.

How can I maintain the structural integrity of my home?

Stay informed about common signs of structural problems, conduct regular inspections, and address issues promptly. Investing in preventive measures such as proper drainage and foundation maintenance helps maintain the structural integrity of your home in the long term.

What steps should homeowners take if they suspect their home has structural problems?

If you notice signs of a problem, such as cracks, uneven floors, or moisture problems, seek assistance from a qualified professional, such as a structural engineer or home inspector. A professional can conduct a thorough assessment and recommend appropriate solutions.

Are cracks in the chimney indications of a structural problem in the home?

Cracks in your chimney can be signs of structural issues. While small cracks may be superficial and not necessarily indicative of major problems, larger or widening cracks could signal underlying issues. Have cracks in the brick or mortar inspected by a professional to determine the extent of the damage and whether any repairs are necessary to ensure the safety and stability of your home.

Crossroads Home Inspections provides home inspection services for customers in St. Louis and the surrounding area. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to schedule an appointment.