There are several different ways that the support structure of the home is built .  They include steel I-beams, steel lally columns (or steel screw jacks), wood support walls, laminated beams, floor joists, and block or poured concrete support posts.  All of these different systems work very well if they are properly installed. 

Steel I-beamProperly installed I-beam New installation of a laminated I-beamNew installation of a laminated beam Support PostProperly installed support post
engineered floor joists web joist standardjoist
Engineered floor joists Web floor joist Standard floor joist

While it is difficult to specify exactly what to look for, we will provide several different ideas of common problems.

Look closely to where homeowners may have cut out some 2×4 or 2×6’s in a supporting wall to add some additional space.  We recommend looking at every floor joist for cracks or home owner cutting. These can generally be repaired fairly easily by sistering another board to them.  If several have been cracked in a row then you will need to hire a licensed contractor to make repairs.

Many times steel I-beams are installed and not properly fastened to the wall above them. This can cause a weakness in the overall structure if the beam begins to slip out of place.

Another very common area to find problem is in the basement or crawlspace under every door & sliding doors.  Most doors will leak at one time or another and directly below them in the basement and the crawl space should be checked closely. Look behind the insulation in the rim boxes area (we don’t recommend removing blown or Styrofoam insulation to view rim boxes) as this is a common place for moisture and termites.

Below are pictures of common problems:

Bowed Floor Joist beetle and termite damaged joist cracked beam

Supporting beam has settled in the center due to being undersized

Floor joist damaged by PowderpostBeetle or termite infestation Cracked floor joist
Structure 2 supporting beam 2nd pic Structure 2 supporting beam 2 nd pic Twisted support beam

Supporting beam is overspanded andsagging in the middle

Cracked laminated beam

Wood supporting beams should be standing straight up and down, not twisted in either direction

Floor joist with overhead leak

rotted joist

structure 2 supporting post

Waterstain/damage eminating from leaking sliding door above joist

Rotted floor joist found underneath entry door

Support post has too much weight onit and is bending under the pressure
cut floor joist termiteinfested_floor_joist termite damage t floor joists
Homeowner has cut floor joists whichcauses overall weaknesses to thestructure

Termite infested floor joist

Termite damaged floor joists

car jack in crawlspace Bad support for floor joists Improperly supported support post

Car jack in crawlspace

Carjacks are not sufficient supportdevices

Main beam improperly supported by cinder block