Time changes many things — especially houses. Weathering, insects, and materials breaking down can all lead to expensive problems that could complicate your family’s comfort or health. These are a few scary ways your home might be hiding damage and the simple steps you can take to repair any issues.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable general contractors, we help people every day to better understand the costs, scope, and details for their prospective projects – below is an overview of how your home might be hiding costly damage.
1. Your Doors Might Not Close
People don’t always open and close the doors within their homes. You might leave your office or bedroom door open most of the time, but that could prevent you from finding foundational damage.
If a door suddenly doesn’t fit within its frame, it may signify your home’s foundation is shifting due to saturated soil or clay. A single ill-fitting door may be the result of aging, but schedule an inspection if you’re having this issue with more than one door in your house.
2. Your Windows May Have Small Cracks
It’s easy to forget about looking closely at your windows. They’re supposed to blend into your home’s design and functionality, but take a second look at them occasionally. You may spot a few cracks that hide much more extensive damage.
Storms sometimes leave small cracks that are easy to ignore, but if those cracks begin or end along the sides of the window panes, your home’s structure could be at risk. A structural engineer will inspect your interior walls and foundation to ensure this isn’t an issue. If not, you can proceed to improve your home’s insulation with tinting projects or glass replacement without leaving your property at risk for further damage.
3. Your Washing Machine Hose Might Bulge
Washing machines always use a hose to connect to your home’s water supply. They go unnoticed for years behind or under machines, but consider inspecting your machine’s hose occasionally. Water pressure causes building and warping, leading to balloon-like growths on hoses that could burst. You’ll save yourself from disastrous flooding and water damage by keeping an eye out for bulges and replacing the hose as needed.
4. Your Drywall May Have Tiny Holes
Give your walls a closer look during your next free afternoon. There may be tiny holes you haven’t noticed along your door frames, behind pictures, or around your baseboards. Termites create these small gaps while eating away at your home’s structure. A quick inspection by a professional team will determine if any holes are a sign of hidden damage and which treatment options are best for your property.
5. Your Gutters Could Withhold Water
Debris often clogs gutters after turbulent storm seasons. People are often too busy to climb on their ladders and check their gutters, which causes overflow damage. Your home could experience basement and attic flooding if rainwater overflow lingers on the roof or around the foundation. The good news is there are a few ways to manage and prevent this problem.
You can check your basement and attic for pooling water or the resulting mold growth. Inspect your gutters after storms to remove debris immediately. Homeowners can also upgrade their property with gutter guards to reduce the pressure on their gutters, which may lead to cracked or broken piping.
6. Your Belongings Might Teeter
When your kids place a rounded toy on the floor, does it always roll in the same direction? Foundational shifting can make belongings teeter without tilting the entire house at a noticeable angle. You can also spot this hidden problem by filling a glass of water, placing it on the floor, and seeing if the liquid tilts. Structural engineers or contractors can recommend solutions to restore balance to your home.
7. Your Chimney Could Have White Residue
People rarely inspect their chimneys from all sides because they’re out of sight. If yours has white residue, it signifies moisture trapped inside the chimney. It tries to get out by seeping through the brick after sneaking through a cracked flue liner.
Faulty flues may also redirect toxic gasses into your house while you enjoy a fire in the winter. Schedule an inspection with a professional cleaning team to identify the extent of the issue if you find white residue around any external part of your chimney.
8. Your Lights Could Slightly Flicker
Lighting is another thing homeowners take for granted. You use it every morning and evening to read books, watch TV or dine with your loved ones. While using your lamps and overhanging lights, keep an eye on them for a few moments. Though it can be a red flag for electrical problems, flickering lights often evade the eye.
Wiring within your walls can degrade due to trapped moisture creating corrosion or heat bending the wiring. Eventually, the wiring issues could lead to shorting or dangerous heat buildup. Consider searching for an electrician and inquiring about their earned credentials to hire an expert to fix the hidden damage.
9. Your Toilet Might Gurgle
After flushing the toilet, everyone is ready to move on with their day. However, you could spot hidden damage in your home by listening closely in the bathroom. Excess gurgling during or after flushing often indicates an issue with negative air pressure.
Clogs don’t always stop toilets from working. Sometimes, small clusters of buildup linger in the pipes and become big enough to affect air pressure without stopping the water entirely. A few forceful pumps with your plunger may dislodge buildup if it’s close to your toilet’s tank. If it’s deeper, an auger or drain snake can solve the problem.
A plumber can answer any questions you may have about your toilet’s unique gurgling problem. They’ll also know if other local homeowners have complained about the same issue. The county or city sewer line could have a backup if numerous homes report the same gurgling problem.
Start Looking for Hidden Home Damage
People don’t often think about these scary ways their home might be hiding damage. They’re easy to overlook or forget about, but not if you schedule reminders to check for problems like these. You’ll get ahead of lasting property damage and find budget-friendly solutions that are easy to manage ahead of upcoming renovations or years of remaining in the same home.
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish.
Submit your project to be connected with several fully vetted, trustworthy contractors who are experienced with all sorts of home remodeling projects. For more info, visit www.GreatBuildz.com or call 818.317.3567 today.
Author: Rose Morrison is a home & construction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She’s the managing editor of Renovated, a web magazine for the real estate industry. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.