So, you have just survived a hurricane or tornado and your home or business looks no worse for wear, back to business as usual right? Maybe, maybe not. Damage to a structure is not always apparent as we might think. Take for consideration termite damage. You usually never suspect this until those little buggers start flying around and making themselves known to the unsuspecting homeowner. Structural damage after an event like a hurricane or tornado could be hidden as well or the event may worsen hidden problems that may have existed for years.
The roof is a very good indicator of possible structural damage. From a distance, look at the ridge of the roof and determine whether it is straight. If you detect sagging in the middle or at the ends of the ridge, it is very possible that load-bearing walls may have shifted. Grab a carpenter’s level and check the walls to make certain they are vertical and straight. You will also want to check for cracks in the stucco of the exterior walls. This can also indicate that the walls may have shifted. If you suspect any shifting, you will want to contact a structural engineer or a contractor to make an inspection.
If you feel safe entering the home or business, start by checking for sagging ceilings, wet insulation, and slight bulges that may have pooling water on the other side. With a bright light you can check the framing for ridge separation, loose knee braces, and loose rafters where the rafters join the walls. Look for any cracks or breaks in the roof rafters as well. Upon any indication, a reputable inspector or contractor needs to be called.