Structure and Your House


In the US and Canada, many new houses are built in housing tracts, which provide homeowners a sense of “belonging” and the feeling they have “made the best use” of their money. However, these houses are sometimes built as cheaply and quickly as possible by large builders seeking to maximize profits. Many environmental health issues may be ignored or minimized in the construction of these structures. In one case in Benicia, California, a housing tract was built over an old landfill. Home buyers were never told, and only found out when some began having reactions to high levels of lead and chromium.

Houses may be supported by a crawl space, full or partial basement or a floating slab on grade. Basements can be constructed of wood, poured concrete or masonry blocks. Poured concrete is becoming the norm for most housing and is far superior for cost and strength.

Most common wall framing is either balloon or platform type framing. In platform framing, the joists comprise any number of individual floors or platforms that wall framing components are constructed on top of–hence, the term platform framing. Platform framing is the most common method of frame construction. The floor, or platform, is made up of joists that sit on supporting walls, beams or girders and covered with a plywood or OSB sub-floor. In the past, 1x planks set at 45 to the joists were used for the sub-floor. Balloon framing is not permitted anymore due to lack of fire-stopping between floors.

Foundation made of concrete typically will have some cracks that are visible. Most cracks are the result of settling or shrinkage of the concrete during its curing stage. Diagonal cracks that grow in width, especially ones that are wider at the bottom than at the top, indicate settlement. Diagonal cracks over windows indicate a weak header. Diagonal cracks in a poured concrete foundation that are fairly uniform in width or are hairline-type are caused by shrinkage and, though they may allow water entry, do not constitute a structural defect. Some home inspectors think that if the crack follows the mortar joint, rather than going through the brick or block, the crack isn’t a problem. This is false. Walls crack at their weakest point. If the mortar is stronger than the brick, the wall will crack through the brick

The structural support of a roof is typically provided by either stick built rafters or engineered trusses. Collar tie is a colloquial phrase that you usually won’t find in construction or engineering documentation even though the words are commonly used among builders, architects and homeowners. The correct phrase as used in textbooks and when specified is collar beam. Collar beams are usually installed in the upper third of the roof between opposing rafters.

Having your home inspected prior to purchasing is one of the most important items of the transaction. You want to protect yourself from shoddy workmanship or major problems with your homes systems. A house is comprised of many diffferent products installed by various tradesmen and sometimes do-it-yourself type renovators. To ensure Peace of Mind in your next Real Estate transaction use the Barrie Home Inspector for your protection and Peace of Mind. If you have a wood burning appliance then contact for your insurance companies required WETT Certification.

Want to find out more about Your Barrie Home Inspector, then visit the Barrie Home Inspector’s site on how to choose Barrie’s Top Home Inspector for your Real Estate purchase requirements.



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