Three Ways To Tell If It's Safe To Move Back In After A Disaster

Posted on: 4 November 2015


After your home has suffered a flood, hurricane, or severe fire, it can be hard to know where to start with the repair and restoration process. But if your home has been structurally damaged, it may not be safe to return until after a contractor has done repair work. Here are three ways to check for structural damage to make sure your house is safe to enter.

1. Check lines and shapes.

Before entering, stand back from your house and analyze the line of the roof. If it's bent or sagging, that's a sign that the structural supports are damaged. Similarly, you should check the outsides of the walls and all the corners of the walls and foundation for cracking, bulging, or tipping.

2. Check doors and windows.

Another sign of structural damage is crooked door and window frames. Sometimes the damage is impossible to see, but you can tell the shapes of the frames are different if the doors and windows don't open and close the same way they used to. Difficulty in opening and closing can also be the result of swelling, which can occur if there's a lot of standing water inside your house. However, if you're unsure, don't risk your safety by entering; hire professional repair services to ensure that any structural damage is caught and eliminated before it can harm you or your house any further.

3. Check the foundation.

You should also examine the foundation before entering the house to ensure that it doesn't have visible damage. This is easiest, of course, if you have some idea of what the foundation looked like before. For example, cracks, bulges, or washed-out areas can all signify trouble, but if you see an old crack and aren't sure if it's gotten worse in the recent catastrophe, it can be hard to tell what to do about it. To be on the safe side, any possible unsoundness in the foundation should be checked out by a professional and repaired before you move back in.

Because structural damage can present a significant hazard to your safety, you should always call in a team for repairs before entering a damaged house. Entering could put you at risk not only of collapsing floors, ceilings, and walls, but also of injury from compromised electrical, sewer, or gas conduits. If water or fire damage accompanies the structural damage, you can choose a water damage restoration specialist, who will also have experience repairing structural damage.