40+ Structural Faults That Will Leave One Reaching For a HardhatBy Jo Arazi
There are specific jobs that people classify as boring, except for the person doing it. Take accounting, for example, having to sit behind a desk for hours with a mountain load of paperwork. It is very monotonous poring through numbers all day, searching, and making sure everything balances without any inconsistencies. What about a toll booth operator? We’ll classify it in the same category as accounting.
How about the job of a structural inspector? Except when you come across something spectacular – of which such events are far and few – the job doesn’t seem to be much fun. What if we tell you that you are wrong? The staff of Alpha Structural firm – a California based company –shared some photos with us that shows the other side of their job.
Carpets are an important part of a house as they breathe life into a room and cover the bare floors of the house. However, this cyan carpet was hiding more than you can imagine. When it was finally ripped up, what lay beneath it was shocking.
Ideally, the floor is often made of concrete slabs. A tile, rug or carpet is then used to cover it up. The owners of this house have every reason to be worried when the carpet was removed. This huge crack shows all is not well with the foundations of the house, and danger is imminent.
As funny as this picture looks, anyone could decipher everything that is wrong with it at first glance. Not only is this dangerous, but this also has the potential to cause considerable problems in the future, and we hope it was duly corrected.
Without a doubt, someone needs to be held responsible for this. As you can see, one of the foundations of this house is held together by this thin piece of wood. This wood can be compared to a dangling tree branch that can’t sustain the weight of a child, let alone a house.
On the Brink of Collapse
If you live in California, especially in or around the Los Angeles area, you’ll notice most houses built there are earthquake resistant – at least to some extent. Because they live close to the San Andreas Fault, these precautions are essential.
In 1906, the fault was responsible for the destruction of about 80 percent of the houses in San Francisco. In essence, your home has to be built to withstand these scary natural disasters – just like the house in the above picture. It survived by an inch.
If you love playing the game of Jenga, then you should consider building the foundation of your house to look like such. This technique is quite common, and you can find it in many houses that chose to use this technique.
This technique is known as cribbing, and it implies that the house is being shored up, albeit temporarily, so repairs can be carried out. The keyword here is – temporary. At no time ever should this be considered as a permanent solution.
Perfectly All Right
According to the staff at Alpha Structural, they say that there are times where they are stunned by the ingenious actions of some workers. Take this picture; for example, they believe the plumber responsible is lazy but yet with a hint of wit.
In the course of his duty, the plumber realized he couldn’t go further due to the obstacle in his way. So he devised an ingenious way to solve his problem. He drilled a massive hole right through the iron post.
The Best Solution
If you followed MacGyver for the seven seasons, it was aired on TV – we mean the original show and not the reboot – you’ll know the importance of having duct tape. You know that it solves every problem under the sun.
No matter how grievous the problem looks, just slam a roll of duct tape on it. That was precisely what this repairman did. Even though a column was barely standing due to rust damage, he chose to go the duct tape route rather than replace it.
Get Ready to Steam
It is not every time Alpha Structural inspectors come across an alarming scenario. There are times when they get to see some really cool houses with excellent facilities. This picture below is not only impressive, but it was also nicely built.
This client felt his family needed something to spice up their house, so he brought out his tools and got busy. For starters, he made a hatch door that connects his stilt house to a sauna that looks like a barrel.
The City of Angels has many spectacular landmarks, and some stand out more than the others. One such landmark is the La Brea Tar Pits. For more than a millennium, the ground has been releasing tar as a matter of course.
It has trapped several animals like the sabretooth tiger and woolly mammoths within its soil. This homeowner had the shock of his life when he found his basement covered in tar. What started as a small leak led to this, so he needs to get that seen to ASAP before it turns into another tourist attraction.
If you are afraid of heights, then it’s best to avoid anything that will give your vertigo or make you question your balance. That isn’t the case for the occupants of this terribly sloping house. Before you start thinking that you are overreacting, you are not.
In truth, the floors are really sloping, and it is so noticeable when you look at the lamp leaning against the wall. Although, occurrences like this are not rare in Los Angeles, the degree at which this house slopes is a cause for concern.
Los Angeles has several names, and one such name is “Tinseltown.” The city is well known for many things, especially for its glitz and glamor. As you can guess, people keep flocking to the town, hoping to catch their big break and become famous.
Some people are lucky enough to make it big, while most people, unfortunately, don’t. On a random inspection by Alpha Structural, they came across this building, which used to be a movie studio. You can see the abandoned green room in all its glory.
There are several reasons why some people decide to go for a temporary solution to a problem. Sometimes, it could be because they don’t have funds available at that time, while in most cases, it all boils down to shoddy workmanship and laziness.
This crack may have been caused by age, nature, terrible workmanship, or a combination of everything. However, the owner decided the best way to correct this problem is to get two connected screws to join the concrete together. We hope no one lives there, though.
Do’s and Don’ts
If you look at several houses in Los Angeles, you’ll notice their foundations are post and pier. What this means is that there are several wooden posts on concrete piers that support the house. This setup easily carries the weight of the structure.
As it stands, this method is not perfect as there is every chance it can shift and, in a worst-case scenario – collapse. This person doesn’t seem to care about the inherent risks of his actions as he went ahead to slap some mortar on a nearly destroyed post.
If you know David Lynch quite well, this looks like some of his scary creations after a night filled with creepy dreams – on the other hand, it could be precisely what you are thinking. In truth, this is a bird deterrent.
Even though we can’t say how effective this contraption is at keeping birds at bay, there’s one thing we can say for sure – if at any point in time we come across something like this in a house, we would be gone in no time.
The Beach House
This picture is the perfect example of a house that is on the verge of being reclaimed by mother nature. To some people, it was probably built on a cursed burial ground of some Native American tribe. But this is not the case.
From what we can decipher from this picture, this Long Beach building’s framing is becoming compacted. The ceiling of the four-story building is slanting down, which is quite dangerous. Although the view is nice, if care is not taken soon, it might be your last.
Whenever you come across a warning sign, the best thing to do is to proceed with caution without questions. This warning sign placed on top of this wall should be enough for people to steer clear of it as the wall is in poor shape.
As you can see in the picture, when you go to the other side of the wall, you’ll understand how serious the situation is. From the look of things, it has been in this state for some time, and no one has bothered to repair it.
Before we reveal what this is, can you take a wild guess? There’s every chance you got it right on the first try. On the other hand, if you didn’t get it right, it’s merely a foundation wall. However, this foundation is in bad shape.
As you know, the foundation of a house is quite essential, and it has to be in perfect shape, so the house doesn’t collapse. The problem here is that moisture has done a number on this foundation and has breached it, causing roots to grow and weaken the cement.
It may be a little difficult to understand this picture, especially from this point of view. This house used to have a very important feature you will find in most American homes: that is a white picket fence.
This disaster would have been avoided entirely if the homeowner had listened to the advice of the Alpha Structural team. They warned that the hillside was prone to landslides, but the owner didn’t listen, and the outcome was disastrous.
The first time inspectors at Alpha Structural paid a visit to this property; they were confronted with sagging floors in some parts of the house. Went they went below to see what was the cause of the problems, their finding was shocking.
They discovered that the support beams weren’t aligned properly, and there were massive gaps in them. This could threaten the structural integrity of the house, putting the homeowners at considerable risk. At least, we are sure these homeowners will listen to expert advice.
It seems Los Angeles has a thing for retaining walls that seemed to forget the most critical part of its job, which is to “retain.” We’re not sure if this wall was poorly built, or the forces of nature were just too powerful for it.
However, hydrostatic pressure is to blame for the fall of this retaining fence. We sincerely hope no one was hurt when it fell over. On the other hand, it also looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie immediately after an explosion.
These stalactites may have been more visually appealing if it appeared anywhere else but here. Stalactites can be found naturally in some caves scattered across America, like Tennessee’s Ruby Falls and the Luray Caverns in Virginia.
The problem is that seeing one in your house is a cause for huge concern. For years, rainwater had been dripping from the ceiling, and mineral deposits formed these stalactites. What this means is that the steel immersed in the concrete is rusting badly and could lead to spall destruction.
It is not every day that members of the Alpha Structural get to see defective buildings. There are times they get to the location only to find something interesting and completely different from why they were called in the first place. This is what happened in this case.
While on duty, this Alpha structural staff member decided to take in the view around him. To his surprise, he saw a hill filled with amazon trucks covering a large stretch of land. Where they came from, he didn’t know, but it was a surprising sight nonetheless.
Although it may be hard to believe from this view, this picture is a garage. It’s the perfect reference point for when the garage collapses in the future, which will happen in the near future. At this point, it’s slowly sinking.
Try to follow the wooden beam from both points, and you’ll notice how close to disaster this garage really is. From what we were told, this was caused by a loose door directly above. It has nothing to do with the structural integrity of the place.
Jack it Up
Some things look and sound incredulous until you discover they provide a temporary reprieve. This is the case, especially when you are talking about back houses. Homeowners have some level of freedom in this regard, and this structure is a perfect example.
If you look at this structure, it has no perimeter foundation but used something most people will not think of – car jacks. Yes, it is the same type of car jacks used to lift your car when you get a flat tire.
One thing is sure about this place – it looks very creepy and looks more like an abandoned haunted house than a lived-in residential home. Well, being haunted isn’t a structural defect; instead, some homeowners see it as an added feature .
So why was the picture shared by Alpha structural? Take a good look at the picture. You’ll notice the house is resting on a brick foundation. What will surprise you is that you can remove them by hand with ease.
Here’s another picture of a bird deterrent but this set-up is funny for several reasons. If you take a detailed look at the picture, you won’t be wrong if you say it was done in a hurry or by a lazy person.
For starters, there are uneven spikes that may work, but the person also included several fake crows. What’s amusing is that you can still see the tags on them. There’s every chance the fake ravens may scare real ravens away, but if it doesn’t, blame it on the price tags.
There are several ways you can determine the structural integrity of a building, but here’s a good tip that will always come in handy. Try to access the crawlspace under the construction; if you see sunlight anywhere except from the entry, then there’s a problem.
If we were to apply this rule to this structure, then the owners are going to face a serious problem sometime in the future. If you take a good look at the foundation, it is badly cracked and wobbly to the point it is crumbling fast.
From what we’ve seen so far, most crawlspaces are filled with danger and are often in a state of neglect. This wooden post in this picture can buttress this fact. From what we can see, it is on its way to toppling down.
There is so much debris littering the ground. You can find fiberglass insulation, broken junk, and it is almost impossible for anyone to get in. The clock is already ticking for this structure to crumble as it is barely standing.
Definitely Not Normal
There’s every chance most of you reading this have never come across the exterior of a Colorado cave. Some people have spent all their lives in a city so that a cave may look strange to them. According to Alpha Structural, there was a leak in this place.
After some time, real stalagmites were created in the areas where the water touched the ground beneath. Even though this sounds strange, there is a particular term for this phenomenon. It is called catamites, and they are created faster than their natural counterparts.
Quite a Dip
You may be mistaken for thinking this picture was taken outside the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland – you are wrong. If this was the case, then we can agree that the dip along the deck is intentional. Sadly, it isn’t.
What we can see from this picture is a deck that will soon collapse, and the primary culprit is rotting wood. Sometimes, this may be caused by insufficient support and years of negligence. No matter the cause, it has to be addressed quickly.
Fill in the Gap
If you are a 90’s kid, you will know how to play the game Tetris. There are several tricks to playing the game, and a favorite is flipping a piece at the last moment to fit in. If you miss that window, it can mess up the entire thing.
Well, we think the owner of this house was trying to do the same thing. This time, he decided to do it in the real world. The significant difference is that the stakes are relatively high, and the consequences more severe.
There are times when you start a project, and everything seems to be in place, with the structure looking solid. The most important factor during construction is for the building to stand the test of time; else it’s an effort in futility.
For example, if you look at this post and pier setup, you can tell it was standing firm for several years. However, we don’t deal with the past but the present and now there are problems. The concrete pier has eroded terribly.
One thing is for sure with this picture; you don’t come across this often. Even the Alpha Structural veterans who thought they had seen it all were surprised with this find. This was the last thing they expected to come across when they inspected this house.
The first question you’ll ask is, who would want to take a dip under this crawlspace? Even if the piers and posts were standing firm – of which they aren’t – why would anyone want to take this risk? The surrounding earth tells you a lot about the condition of the house.
I am Groot
From what you can tell with most of the pictures you’ve seen so far – there’s no doubt the people at Alpha Structural have a lot on their hands. In most cases, they battle challenges that they have to think long and hard to come up with solutions and fixes.
In this case, they had to excavate a trench right beside the concrete foundation of a house. This has to be done before a new foundation is poured so it can be sturdier. While at it, they discovered Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Don’t Look Up
If you use parking garages often, especially the underground ones, one of these days try to look up. This is one of those times ignorance is actually bliss. If by chance one person using this garage decided to look up, he’ll be shocked.
They’ll be confronted with a large crack spanning the entire length of the ceiling. This is scary in all ramifications, considering the weight of the whole building. This is a sign of spall damage, and repairs have to start ASAP to correct it.
It is no easy feat to inspect a house thoroughly. Also, there are parts of this job that most people won’t look forward to, especially when they have to go underneath a structurally deficient house. Not only is it scary, but it is also hazardous.
With pictures like this it makes it harder to undertake tasks like this. Thanks to water damage, this house is seriously falling apart, and it’s on its way to total collapse. Thankfully, it was discovered in time, and actions are underway to repair the issue.
We’ve seen weird pictures on this list; we’ve on also seen funny pictures. However, this picture is definitely the coolest. If you look at the image on the left, you’ll see the house has a basement with a window to a cavern.
We can deny the fact that it is cool, but it’s something you don’t come across every day or possibly even in a lifetime. Of course, the exception is that you can find this in movies where the hero or the villain has a secret underground lair.
The number of crazy things the people at Alpha structural come across will be hard to believe unless there is photographic proof. Regardless of where they inspect, you can never tell what they’ll find. For example, this was snapped in an apartment building’s parking lot.
Right under the parking spot was an ancient well. Although it’s a beautiful reminder of past things, we don’t think it is safe, especially in a parking structure. It sort of looks like a vortex that leads to another dimension.
When you hear the term “Mickey Mouse work” in construction circles, it means the job was done in a shoddy and cheap way. In most cases, these construction jobs don’t often stand the test of time, and most pictures on this list fall in that category.
This job is the perfect description of a mickey mouse job, and the person had to leave a visual reminder to prove the message. This told inspectors all they needed to know. After laughing out loud, we’re sure they got on with the task of doing the required repairs.
Alice in Wonderland
If you’ve seen the blockbuster movie, Alice in Wonderland, you will think twice before looking down any hole. This case is a little different as this hole is the entry point for moles. Falling into it will give you unfettered access into their underground kingdom.
Here’s the backstory behind the hole. The homeowners asked inspectors to ensure their house was okay and structurally sound. When they checked the house, they found out that the small hole led to an underground spot. They found several roots that posed a threat to the foundation.
Even though you may find it difficult to believe, there are several homes out there that are standing thanks only to some flimsy foundations. We’ve seen several cases where the majority of the load is focused on one spot, and the moment that area weakens, everything begins to sink.
Inspectors were shocked when they checked this house, and they discovered it was standing courtesy of two 2 by 4s. As you can see, one was further enforced in some way. Even though it looks like it isn’t doing anything.
Just as we said in the previous slide regarding foundations held by one certain point – several problems can arise when it is done this way. This foundational beam is what is keeping this apartment building standing, and it’s been eroding away slowly.
All the renters in the building would have been in for a rude shock if inspectors hadn’t come when they did. Now that they have been able to pinpoint the problem, we hope they reinforce it as quickly as possible.
Out of place
Anyone who loves mushrooms will tell you that they are quite delicious and can be served with several dishes. They are also quite colorful, and when going for a hike, they are fun to locate—however, the last place you want them growing is through your floor.
This mushroom was able to impress the inspector due to how it was able to survive in such difficult conditions. Since we are fans of letting things live, we are sad to see it be removed, but it cannot be allowed to keep growing.
Terrible Street Fight
There’s every chance you might be mistaken that this picture was a result of a gang member trying to make a name for himself. However, that scenario would have been more acceptable, but that is not the case.
Don’t be too shocked if we tell you that this wooden column is in part tasked with holding up the structure above it. Even though the shape is a little out of place, the rot has set in so deep that a knife went through it easily.
You are at risk of sinkage if you’ve never had an inspector come out to check your house. Although your home will not collapse immediately,the moment that your foundation starts decaying -you’ll start noticing that some parts are sinking like in this picture.
We are sure you are quite familiar with doors, and that is not how it is supposed to look. If you look at it from another perspective, the defect has increased the natural lighting of the house considerably. At least, the place will be better aerated.