There are all sorts of things you can hear about your home that would be considered bad news.

You could have roof problems, plumbing issues, electrical complications or a host of other issues. But none may strike fear in a homeowner more than  hearing their home has structural problems.

First of all, what does structural failure even mean. In its most common form structural failure occurs when load-carrying capacity is failing. This usual happens when the material in the structure of the home is stressed to its limit. The result is generally a fracture of some kind or excessive deformities.

Almost any construction oversight or mistake can cause structural failure.

A few months ago, we wrote an article here about the importance of getting a new home inspected. A new-home inspection could prevent future structural failure. You can review that article here.

Several things can cause structural failure including poor drainage or design. But the most common reason is having fill material that is insufficiently compacted. And, in the end, moisture is the culprit that causes the structural failure. Roughly 90 percent of structural building failures are a result of moisture impacting fill material that is not professionally installed or clay deposits, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Complicating the issue is that fixing the problem is not cheap. The average cost for repairing structural failure is $50,000.

The most important preventive measure when it comes to structural failure is understanding where moisture can impact the home and how to recognize if there’s a problem.

There are four main parts to the structure of a home – the foundation, floors, walls and the roof. Moisture can enter the home through any of these.

Sometimes moisture is easily recognizable but, it can also be harder to find, especially if it ends up in the building materials. And the longer moisture and dampness remain unchecked, the more damaging it becomes. That leads to a more expensive repair.

Looking for moisture in your home may be challenging for the average homeowner. A good home inspector is qualified for this kind of examination.

You would start in the basement or crawl spaces, and also do a careful examination of the outside of the home. Clear signs of moisture problems are discolored walls, seepage on the floor around the edge of the foundation, or the most obvious sign, a flooded basement. Moisture is also evident when drain spouts release water right adjacent to the home.

So, how can you prevent this problem before you are faced with a $50,000 bill?  

As we mentioned earlier, the home inspection is critical, whether you are moving into a new or existing home. Age, location or style of a home mean little when it comes to moisture and structural failure. It’s better to be certain about the structure of your home in order to avoid a major repair bill.