You can get away with a sloppy handshake but with a carelessly built house? Not so much. Eventually, its qualities will deteriorate to the point when the only thing holding it together is pure luck. And you better call in the construction engineers before that runs out, too.

Alpha Structural, Inc. presents itself as the only company in Los Angeles County licensed to engineer and build any type of foundation or hillside repair. For its 25th birthday, the organization has decided to share some of the craziest structural construction fails they've found over the years, making many internet users question the sanity of some contractors. "Besides having a stellar reputation, we're called out to inspect and propose solutions to many structural issues," a spokesperson of Alpha Structural, In. told Bored Panda. "Specializing in advanced hillside foundation repair methods we mainly are called to inspect when there are issues such as sloping floors, failed retaining walls, etc."

"A very common engineering fail we see is mid-century hillside homes that are sinking. They were often built with shallow footings that are prone to sink over time. Additionally, there is a lot of expansive soil in Los Angeles which, due to its high clay content, expands and contracts. This leads to corners or sides of a home that sink."

Since the company has already inspected tens of thousands of properties, it's hard to catch its engineers off guard. "I would say we're more likely to be surprised by what's under the home than the structure itself! Although, while we are not alarmist in any way, every once in a while we will come across a structure that we are surprised is still standing."

According to Alpha Structural, Inc., everyone living in the area can take measures to make their building a safe place. "We always recommend earthquake retrofitting your home," they added. "It's no surprise seismic activity is prevalent in Los Angeles, so taking the time to retrofit your home is key. Also, most foundation problems are caused because of no drainage, or poor drainage around the home. The most cost-effective solution to preserve your foundation is to make sure your yard slopes away from the structure and that your gutters and downspouts are cleaned and route the water away.

However, it's easy to get carried away. "People tend to overreact when it comes to their home. Things such as hairline cracks and minor sticking of doors can cause quite a panic in most homeowners. Plenty of information about our services can be found on our website!"

Continue scrolling to check out what epic fails these guys find daily and upvote your favorite entries!

More info: alphastructural.com | Facebook

#1

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Everything is code when there is no code. (Not in LA)

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

I bet the building inspector gets 'tired' of this kind of shit...

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#2

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

They missed...

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

They didn't just miss, they missed with consistency

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#3

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

YES, this is a real skull & YES it was called in to the police and YES it was confirmed by a detective coroner.

While doing a real estate inspection in the valley, one of our assessors came across the above skull. It was said to be found in Peru by the previous owners. Apparently, they brought it back in their luggage when returning from their vacation in Peru. Why they would do this is beyond me.

This was later confirmed by the sellers of the property that it was in fact brought back over to the states from Peru. The skull, which was studied by the coroner, was roughly 1,000 years old. This is by far one of the craziest things we've seen doing foundation inspections in Los Angeles.

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Luis Milian
Community Member
2 years ago

wow. the scary part (if is true) is that it traveled in someone's luggage all the way from Peru and TSA did nothing about it.

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#4

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This was taken during one of our structural inspections in North Hollywood. It's gonna take a little more than duct tape to fix this one.

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Randy Dhuyvetter
Community Member
2 years ago

Duct tape will fix anything if you use enough of it.

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#5

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Now, I forgot the term for these, but basically it's a massive hole/well that was about a meter under the concrete footing. The owner had no idea this was here. Must have been there for decades.

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

Ah yes, this is where I keep my evil spirits

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#6

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

And they were wondering why their floors were sagging.

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

Do I need to check under my house for this kind of shoddiness?

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#7

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

During an inspection, one of our assessors found this beauty. A wall created entirely out of concrete filled washing machines.

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Phoebes
Community Member
2 years ago

They were going green!

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#8

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

And there goes the other half of your house

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Bob Beltcher
Community Member
2 years ago

So glad in Houston all the house are built on slabs.

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#9

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A car jack perhaps?

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Kristy P
Community Member
2 years ago

Yes, this is fully jacked up.

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#10

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

"I have sagging floors" And this is why.

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Cat on a bike
Community Member
2 years ago

the floor was lava and then there was none...

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#11

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is something you don't see every day: A colony of bees/hornets/wasps, have created a honeycombed nest on the carcass of a dead animal and it became the perfect online content. Nasty.

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

No thank you, or 'nope' for short

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#12

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a foundation made up of river rock, some sort of hardened mortar and the tears of the contractors who did it. Also, I see a rhino!

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LOttawa
Community Member
2 years ago

Maybe the contractor was also an artist... it's the only way I can explain the rhino

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#13

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a very interesting view from a basement window. It's actually located in a shower and you can see the critters moving around in the dirt. Hope you like bugs!

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Max L.
Community Member
2 years ago

if the owner told you he's having an old friend for dinner, run.

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#14

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

It may seem as if this is a photo was taken at an angle, but I assure you, it was perfectly straight. The floors are just sloping down a good 6 inches from the middle of the home.

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TheDivineMs.M
Community Member
2 years ago

Oh man talk about vertigo

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#15

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Nothing is worse than coming across a massive gas pipe while excavation. It wasn't on the initial plans.

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Phoebes
Community Member
2 years ago

So, I get the rebar cage to protect the line initially, but then it just loses ALL protection there at the end?!?

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#16

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Though these jacks are pretty common...they should never be used as a permanent pier. Unless secured with duct tape of course.

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A Rose Among Thorns
Community Member
2 years ago

duct tape fixes everything!

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#17

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is an abandoned home in East Los Angeles. I don't want to get too technical on this, but not even the homeless would want to set up shop in there.

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Phoebes
Community Member
2 years ago

Lol--gives new meaning to the term "mobile home"!!

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#18

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is one of the craziest structural fails I've ever seen. No re-bar, not bolted, settling 2 ft and it's on sand...Just wow!

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Phoebes
Community Member
2 years ago

Where is this?!?

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#19

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Yeah...that's not legal.

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

My brain feels funny looking at this

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#20

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A soft-story can be described as multi-level structure built with a first floor that is much less rigid (soft) than the floors above, such as in an apartment with tuck under parking. This is a cause for concern, for when an earthquake hits, the existing columns do not have the strength to protect against the sideways movement that can occur.

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CrunChewy McSandybutt
Community Member
2 years ago

Honey, we're getting ready to move from the third floor to the second!

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#21

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is actually the door leading to Narnia. It just so happens that it's under a house in Pasadena, CA.

Seriously though, they used this as a sort of "shear wall" for additional strength. Again, an obvious DIY job.

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Cat on a bike
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment has been deleted.

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#22

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

May not look like much, but a single toddler jumps and that set of stairs and deck come down.

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Last Hurrah
Community Member
2 years ago

Or if a fly lands on it.

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#23

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a first

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Ginge
Community Member
2 years ago

What is it? Bags of concrete?

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#24

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Not in terrible condition but I really want to kick it in.

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Donald Pelton
Community Member
2 years ago

It reminds me of one of those traps created by Wiley Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons.

Merps
Community Member
2 years ago

Beep beep! My favorite cartoons

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ALLISON PALMER
Community Member
2 years ago

good point Donald pelton

Hendra Lim
Community Member
2 years ago

and lot's of consistently missed nails

Pan Narrans
Community Member
2 years ago

Why does that concrete block crumble in the first place?

sharron lynn parsons
Community Member
2 years ago

If you think this is not in terrible condition, do not shop for a house alone !!!

MysticalMan
Community Member
2 years ago

Creative use of plywood.

Johnny Magumbo
Community Member
2 years ago

And die?

Ellis
Community Member
2 years ago

Suicide squaaaad.... ATTACK!!

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#25

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

It's simple, the floor is actually a balloon. Prepare to fly.

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otaku fox
Community Member
2 years ago

Up part two.

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#26

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The fact that almost all of the post & piers were like this is concerning!

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Pan Narrans
Community Member
2 years ago

That only confirms my suspision that we are dealing with magic carpet dealers!

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#27

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is what happens when wood touches dirt over a long period of time. It soaks up water and rots.

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Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Well that’s a load of shit

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#28

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

So from here we see there is a slope starting from the right and going 15 feet to left.
After peeling back the carpet, we discovered a massive slab crack. To the right of the crack we see another crack that's been patched. The left side of the house was completely sinking a total of 18 inches from the point of the crack. One of the worst slab conditions we've seen so far in LA.

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Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

That building is on too much crack

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#29

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Stay hydrated my friends...

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Ginge
Community Member
2 years ago

otherwise your head might fall off...?

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#30

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Let's just say it's a little over-engineered.

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Phoebes
Community Member
2 years ago

I don't know...I bet you don't see in cracks in any of THOSE floors!

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#31

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This patio above the garage had a little water intrusion...

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Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

Fuck this shit I’m out

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#32

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

They might want to add a "Do not park next to this obviously failing retaining wall because it might fall on your car in the night and we're not paying for it" sign.

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Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

Great Wall of rip

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#33

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a disaster waiting to happen. A large area of the back patio is basically floating on this hillside. Also, you can clearly see my finger in the frame.

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Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

Just move away

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#34

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The issue is....all of it

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Sonya Jersey
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

I love the fact that you can't see through the door! ...

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#35

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The columns on the side are fine, but the middle one...it's game over

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Ginge
Community Member
2 years ago

Oh really? No shit!

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#36

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

During an inspection in Los Angeles, we came across this brittle, failing foundation made of brick. The mortar simply fell right off of the brick in a dust waterfall. An earthquake would more than likely demolish this home.

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Ginge
Community Member
2 years ago

Ballsy move playing jenga underneath a house, don't think i'd fancy being under there..

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#37

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Post that's barely resting upon a concrete pier. This one is undermined and probably one good shake away from collapsing.

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Pretty Pangolin
Community Member
2 years ago

Don't wipe away those cobwebs…they're holding it up.

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#38

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

It's a bucket filled with sand, not concrete, used as a concrete pier. Code? Nope. Aesthetic? Nope. Funny? Yep.

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
2 years ago

Who does this? Crazy

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#39

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This speaks for itself. If you're wondering about the filter, I lost the original. All I have is our Instagram photo.

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MauKini
Community Member
2 years ago

It looks nice somehow. I love the car in the background. It gives it a really nice touch!

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#40

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Nature will find it's way. (Ficus Tree Root)

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LA Juice
Community Member
2 years ago

the ficus and the Bougainvillea will take over.

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#41

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Let's play a game of Jenga in the back yard.

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Pan Narrans
Community Member
2 years ago

Is this build to keep an inpending landslide out?

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#42

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A big concrete block, random wood members and plywood. That should do.

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Cathleen Morris
Community Member
2 years ago

All we need now is a family of hungry termites ...

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#43

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Did a structural assessment for this home and the lady was wondering why her home was sloping 7 inches. Some classic LA settlement.

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Ginge
Community Member
2 years ago

I think the house is about to take off! How many balloons do they have on the roof?

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#44

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The roots basically said F**K YOU and broke the wall with ease.

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Matt Richardson
Community Member
2 years ago

life, uh, finds a way

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#45

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This was a very interesting hillside home that was sliding down the hill. They needed an engineered wall to keep the house from cracking down the slope.

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Jon Payne
Community Member
2 years ago

The driveway keeps getting longer though.

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#46

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This one is subtle but the property is shifting like crazy! The back wall is bowing quite a bit and in the top right, where the stilts connect to the overhang, you can see the waviness of the connections and how unstable it really is.

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RaroaRaroa
Community Member
2 years ago

Do they have building codes in LA?

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#47

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A few more inches down and that would have made a nice half-pipe for skateboarding. Image below shows the cause of this dip!

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Jilltdcatlady
Community Member
2 years ago

Oy, so the bricks aren't "with the lay of the land".

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#48

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This was found under a house. Somebody undermined the entire footing then stopped the excavation and left.

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M O'Connell
Community Member
2 years ago

Sounds like something a dog would do.

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#49

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a sump pump. It should be isolated in a plastic or concrete basin to collect water. This was installed into dirt. Fail.

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Jilltdcatlady
Community Member
2 years ago

Knowing sump pumps don't like mud, how often do they have to replace it?

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#50

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Water was constantly getting into the wall. This is the ugly result!

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Max L.
Community Member
2 years ago

ah, same kind of photos of Genoa pylons, the iron was coming out bare hands.

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#51

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

They did it right in the 1920's.

Not.

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M O'Connell
Community Member
2 years ago

It's been alright for nearly 100 years, right?

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#52

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

"who goes under a house to steal a wooden block off a pier?"

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CrunChewy McSandybutt
Community Member
2 years ago

Tweakers. Guaranteed.

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#53

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Seems that they mixed every piece of rubble after a demolition and made a wall with it.

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Olle Dufeutrelle
Community Member
2 years ago

Recycling!

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#54

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

"I tried fixing it myself but I thought I'd give the experts a call"

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Brivid
Community Member
2 years ago

A lot of people really don't have the money for experts. Many people inherit their parents home and the problems that come with it but no money to fix it.

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#55

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A pier with the footing sinking 7 inches down on the right. There were 6 others just like it under this property.

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Jace
Community Member
2 years ago

Why are these made with so little contact? Shouldn’t they be wider where they meet?

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#56

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Poor drainage, erosion and lack of care

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Carol Emory
Community Member
2 years ago

Shifting house?

#57

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Just don't stick your hand in there...the house could bite.

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May Day
Community Member
2 years ago

The whole house is resting on that pipe in there!

#58

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This may look like a cool, industrial ceiling pattern in a DTLA villa, but it's actually water intrusion coming through the cracks above.

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#59

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This was a failed retaining wall that we're fixing up. It actually wraps around the front (which you'll see below) and the pressure underneath and farther up the hill caused it to fall over and collapse into the street and into the neighbors yard. What occurred was called a "surcharge" and it's when the pressure from the structure puts too much tension into the surrounding soil that it slowly gets pushed outwards.

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Jace
Community Member
2 years ago

It seems like no retaining wall lasts long.

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#60

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a deck that extended past the garage doors below it. Needless to say, it had some insane wood-rot underneath! In the photo to the right, you can see the once sturdy deck was held together by a massive framing bolt. Now it's free floating.

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Cathleen Morris
Community Member
2 years ago

Yikes!

#61

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is the side of a home that had awful water damage and wood-rot. The walls were so badly damaged and damp, they began to buckle and burst open, exposing the interior framing and causing the house to sink on one end.

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#62

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a pretty severe crack in the concrete foundation of a hillside home. Metal strapping is one solution to this, though it's never recommended because the problems will persist and show up again in a few years. Replacing this section would be the correct action.

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Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

Where IS this

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#63

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

You don't have to be an expert to see there's an issue here. The foundation and framing connection (cripple wall) is buckling out toward the driveway. This is causing sloping floors, interior and exterior cracking and sticking doors.

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Jace
Community Member
2 years ago

What’s the solution? Knock the building down?

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#64

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

It's like crawling through broken glass

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Clare McDuff
Community Member
2 years ago

Do you want to play a game?

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#65

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Look at that bend!

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Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

Janga gone worng

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#66

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A pier made with brick & mortar...No Bueno!

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Maualo Velflo
Community Member
2 years ago

Why it has to be wood?

#67

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A spider made this crack it's home and now we can't do the work. We don't want to tear a spider family apart like that.

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
2 years ago

*passes you the Raid*

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#68

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections