Are houses bought and sold with major structural problems? All the time. In more than a few cases, unscrupulous sellers hide the available symptoms and clues while the unsuspecting buyer takes a beating.
Always look for cracks in foundations and everywhere else in houses. Walk all floors to feel for unevenness, sags and tilting. Don't buy any house without having a competent and ethical home inspector check it. Spend the time going through the house with the inspector, because the really good ones want you there to help make sure you understand what you need to.
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A home's structure is arguably the most important component. Without solid structure, nothing else is possible. How are plumbing pipes supported? How are electrical wires secured safely? It is worthwhile to understand the methods and materials used in the home so that you can grasp the "how and why" of maintenance or upgrades?
Regardless of what type of maintenance or renovation project you may be planning, a basic understanding of structure, including foundation, floors, walls, and roof framing, will help you analyze the complexity of a project, renovation requirements, time involvementm and of coursem expenses. This knowledge will help you determine whether tasks can be accomplished as do-it-yourself (DIY) projects or if they should be left to be performed by a licensed professional.
Take a look at the links below to get started on spotting some common problems.