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(This topic is also categorized under Walls & Ceilings)

How to Determine Quality of Construction of Walls and Floors


Professional inspectors can determine the quality of construction even if they were not able to see it during the construction process. Armed with a checklist of things to look for you too can make a fairly accurate judgement as to the quality of construction of your home.

The first thing to check for is the slope of the ground around the house. You need adequate drainage to prevent water from pooling near your foundation. You don't need to have your home built on the top of a hill, but you will want at least a slight slope going away from the base of your home.

You need to provide a way for rain runoff and water from sprinkler systems to get away from the foundation. If you don't provide proper drainage and the water stagnates near your foundation it can find its way into any cracks in the concrete causing damage. Stagnant water can also be a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and mosquitos. Repeated episodes of pooling water near the foundation can lead to the water getting into the boards of your foundation as well as your drywall.

If the water buildup is extreme you may even find yourself with several inches of water inside your basement. You can pump the water out in situations like this; however, if you don't have a way to remove the left over moisture mold and mildew will develop.

Walls should be at 90-degree angles; ones that aren't will be weaker. Roof supports and cross members make walls more rigid and help properly distribute weight. Ensuring that things are at proper angles will help ensure that things are stable, can support the weight properly, and provide good protection against leaks and storms. It's nearly impossible for these joints to be perfect; however, there should only be a small tolerance allowed in order for things to be considered well constructed.

Get up into the attic or crawl space and check things out yourself. Make sure that the ceiling beams and trusses are free of cracks, especially where the metal braces attach cross members to beams.

The two key qualities that made up a well constructed home are: (1) proper drainage for the foundation obtained by making the ground around your home slope down slightly, and (2) walls, trusses, and supporting beams meeting at proper right angles. You want a solid foundation, solid supporting structures, and well joined components.

Don't rely on just the professional inspector's report to decide if your home is well built. You should walk through the building and give each component of the construction a once over. It may help to walk through with a checklist of your own while making your rounds.

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