Snow finally collapsed this house in Dutchess County NY © Daniel Friedman at Building Structures
Index to Construction, Inspection, Diagnosis, Repair Topics

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Building structural inspection, diagnosis, repair:

Guide to detecting, evaluating, reporting & repairing structural defects in buildings.

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.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Detect & Evaluate Structural Defects

Schematic of major structural components of a house (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesInspection, Diagnosis, & Repair of Building or Foundation Settlement, Improper Construction, Damage from Disasters, Rot & Insect Damage or other damage sources

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.

[Click to enlarge any image]

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 (courtesy Carson Dunlop Associates, a Toronto home inspection & education firm) names the major structural components of a typical wood frame house set on a masonry foundation.

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

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."

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

Metal chimney during installation © D Friedman at

Pier construction, Northern Maine © D Friedman at


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 © Daniel Friedman at

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

Buckled siding at ground level indicates sill crushing © Daniel Friedman at

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.


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


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Publisher - Daniel Friedman