Just like a person’s physical health can improve longevity, a healthy building can extend the life of a structure.
Healthy buildings are about reframing the maintenance cycle from the broken-fixed continuum to a more holistic approach that uses smart design principles to encourage optimum efficiency and resiliency.
Plus, a building’s health goes beyond adding years. It can also improve the quality of a structure and support the health of its occupants. Americans spend about 87 percent of their time indoors, and poor air quality, toxins, or moisture in your house can have an ill effect on the people who live there.
Discover the indicators of home health issues and find out what’s at stake if these signals are ignored.
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This downloadable Home Health Inspection Checklist will help identify the problem areas in your home so you can maintain a safe and healthy living environment for you and your loved ones.
Structural Health of Your Home’s Foundation
The health of a building starts at the bottom with a strong foundation. Not only can this improve your home’s ability to withstand natural disasters, but it’s also a part of healthy home principles that can affect moisture management, pests, air quality, and thermal stability.
Issues with your home’s foundation can be indicated by:
- Nail pops
- Wall and floor gaps
- Uneven floors
- Drywall cracks
- Sticking doors or windows
- Bowed basement walls
- Flood damage
- Cracked chimney
- Sinking foundation
- Foundation settlement
- Vertical, horizontal, or stair-step cracks
- Cracked bricks
- Cracked block foundation
- Concrete cracks
The consequences of foundation problems can vary widely, and unfortunately, foundation problems will only get worse over time. If left unresolved, you’ll see an increasing amount of damage throughout the structure, and you could face irreversible damage. As a result of neglected foundation issues, you could see about 30 percent of your home value vanish.
The integrity of your foundation is critical to preserving the long-term investment of your home and avoiding the consequences of degraded home health. A free inspection from a foundation expert can uncover specific problems and the right repair solutions to meet your home’s unique needs.
Crawl Space Health
The lower level of your home is pivotal to managing air quality and moisture.
The health of a crawl space can be especially difficult for homeowners to manage because it’s a tight area that isn’t used. However, its proximity to the ground, lack of air circulation, and dampness can create the perfect conditions for mold, mildew, wood rot, and pests. If these problems occur in your crawl space, you’ll also face problems in the main area of your home.
Identify crawl space health issues by looking for:
- Water in your crawl space
- Floor joist issues
- Wood rot
- Wet crawl space insulation
- Foundation cracks
- Open crawl space vents
- High indoor humidity
- Sagging floors
- Mold in your crawl space
- Unpleasant odors or poor air quality
- Rodent or bug issues
- High electric bills
Crawl space issues tend to fall into three categories.
If moisture issues are the problem in your crawl space, waterproofing and encapsulation can resolve the dampness that is triggering toxic black mold, asthma symptoms, allergies, wood rot, or foul odor. As an engineering professor at Colorado University-Boulder notes, addressing indoor air quality issues is especially important during COVID-19 as people spend more time at home and need an environment that supports the health of the household.
For the cold Colorado winters, insulation problems in your crawl space can cause your home to be less comfortable. Not only will you have drafts, cold floors, and high utility bills, but the temperature variance can cause condensation, which prompts secondary moisture issues.
Your crawl space could also have load-bearing issues that result in sagging floors that are uneven, bouncy, or at risk of collapse. Further reinforcing the structural support system within your crawl space can preserve the overall strength of your home.
Basement Water Management
If you see moisture problems in your home’s upper stories, this could be a symptom of an underlying water problem in your basement.
In the Colorado ski areas like Aspen, where annual snowfall can top 180″, snowmelt can create a rush of surface water every spring. As a result, basement humidity, moisture, and flooding can result from snowmelt, high rainfall, or overflowing rivers.
The following signs can indicate you have an issue with the health of your basement:
- Musty basement smell
- Leaking water heater
- Leaking basement windows
- Leaking in basement cove
- Sump pump issues
- Swelling or warped doors
- Water stains on the walls or floors
- Wet walls
- Wet floors
- Wet carpet
- Wet drywall
- Condensation on windows or doors
By waterproofing your basement, you can take steps to avoid costly structural problems and health issues. You’re protecting yourself from mold and pests while also protecting the structural stability of your home. Plus, it improves how green your home is with better thermal performance and energy efficiency.
In addition, the quality of your living space will improve. A clean, dry home is a pleasant place to live, and it is also attractive to sellers, increasing your real estate value if you put your home on the market.
The geology of the Colorado region presents unique structural challenges.
Because of the ice and snow, there’s the concrete heaving as the earth pushes upward on flat areas like patios or driveways. This phenomenon is especially relevant in resort towns like Aspen.
There’s also unique soil chemistry known as expandable soil where clay deposits can create an unstable base. As a result, many homes in the Grand Junction area will encounter cracked driveways or patios, sinking concrete steps, or dangerous walkways.
Look for sinking, uneven, or cracking concrete slabs on your:
- Basement Floor
- Pool Deck
Cracked concrete slabs can be an immediate threat because they are a tripping hazard. Not only are these surfaces unpleasant to walk on, but they could also be an insurance liability.
Fixing a broken concrete slab can also contribute to the overall health of your home’s foundation. Cracks can result in unbalanced load distribution or drainage situations that can perpetuate damage. By creating smooth, level concrete surfaces, you may be able to support the structural health of your home.
Maintaining a healthy home starts from the ground up. Find out how a free consultation from Foundation Repair of Western Colorado can help you improve the longevity of your home and preserve its value.