Very crooked wood framing - difficult to do intentionally (C) D Friedman 2012Building Structural Problems
Inspection, Diagnosis, & Repair of Structural Damage to Buildings

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

These articles explain the inspection, detection, diagnosis, and repair of all types of structural defects on residential and light commercial buildings and will answer most homeowner concerns. We address brick and other masonry structures, wood frame structures, log homes, modular and factory built homes, even mobile homes.

Chimneys, crawl spaces, decks, building flood damage, foundation crack and movement damage, rot or insect damage, sink holes, and water entry are examples of topics for which InspectAPedia provides inspection, diagnosis, and repair advice. Our page top photo illustrates Story Land[26] a remarkably askew wood-framed structure that would have been quite challenging to frame.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved.

Guide to Detecting & Evaluating Structural Defects: Inspection, Diagnosis, & Repair of Settlement, Improper Construction, Rot & Insect Damage to Buildings

Schematic of major structural components of a house (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

Articles found in this section address just about all types of residential & light commercial building structural construction, inspection, diagnosis & repair topics such as foundation damage, leaning, buckling, bowing, and cracking, FRT plywood failures, chimney inspections & safety concerns, causes and cures for rot, mold, & termites in buildings, sinkholes at building sites, stair and rail fall & trip hazards, & also special inspection methods for mobile homes.

Most structural problems can be avoided by proper design and planning; but structural failures have been common for a long time, and sometimes are costly to handle properly.

The sketch at left( courtesy Carson Dunlop) names the major structural components of a typical wood frame house set on a masonry foundation.

Structural Defect Recognition, Repair, Prevention for Building Structures, & Building Structural Failures

Photograph of the leaning Tower of Pisa  © Tom Smith, Poughkeepsie NY 2007 used with permission.

This photo of the leaning tower of Pisa was sent to us by our friend Tom Smith who knows a crooked building when he sees one. Smith points out that the problems with the Tower have been known for generations and must have been apparent even during construction, as the upper level was constructed with an offset to try to re-balance the structure.

Modern reinforcement has permitted removal of cables that used to be tied to the tower of Pisa. As Bernie Campbalik says about old buildings, "Yep, we had guys like that back then too."

Metal chimney during installation (C) D Friedman

Pier construction, Northern Maine (C) D Friedman


Framing & Wood Beams / Timbers Damage Inspection, Diagnosis, Testing, Repair

Photograph of  severe roof structure damage from an unattended roof valley leak in a historic home. Photograph of  severe roof structure damage from an unattended roof valley leak in a historic home.

Collapsing barn (C) Daniel Friedman

Rot, fungus, Termites, Carpenter Ants, Powder Post Beetles, & other Wood Destroying Organisms

Buckled siding at ground level indicates sill crushing (C) Daniel Friedman

Our photo (left) illustrates a combination of factors leading to a strong indication of serious structural damage at a home: aluminum siding at ground level (risk of insect attack) combined with buckled siding at the bottom course (a condition that only occurs long after original construction) point to crushed wooden sills under this structure, most often due to insect attack or rot or both.

  • INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE - complete guide to wood destroying insect inspection, diagnosis, evaluation, repair, and prevention at buildings
  • The Sick House/Sick Building Information Website Organized, un-biased, in-depth advice about mold, allergens, and other indoor contaminants: finding, testing, cleaning, clearance testing, and preventing mold, mildew, wood destroying (rot) molds (fungi). Explains how to assure that testing for toxic or allergenic molds is performed using valid field and lab methods. Advice and test procedures are provided for odors and odor source detection, toxic gas testing and gas source identification.
  • "House Eating Fungus" Meruliporia incrassata (also called "Poria" the house eating fungus) in the U.S. or Serpula lacrymans in Europe) can cause severe structural damage. Evidence of hidden "poria" may be found by expert inspection methods which include tracing sources and paths of probable Building leaks and moisture traps. Further, careful indoor particle sampling methods can often permit the presence of this mold to be identified in the laboratory.
  • WOOD DESTROYING INSECTS carpenter ants, powder post beetles, & other wood destroying organisms


Continue reading at BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Suggested citation for this web page

STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

More Reading

Green link shows where you are in this article series.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about building structures: construction, inspection, diganosis, repair procedures


Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions & answers or comments about building structural problem inspection, diagnosis, & repair

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References