25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (2023)

Your house is more than just where you rest your head at night; it's a place of comfort, somewhere you've made countless memories, and an investment you're likely intent on maintaining. However, there are numerous signs of trouble in your house that even the most eagle-eyed folks may miss—and they could lead to seriously expensive repairs down the line.

From indications of foundation issues you might mistake for something else to evidence you've got a mold problem, we've teamed up with experts to bring you these surefire signs your house is falling apart. And if you want to protect your home, check out these 23 Bad Home Design Choices That Cause Damage.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (1)

That smushy soil perimeter around your house or patio isn't just a sign of poor landscaping—it could mean that a serious water leak or drainage issues are at play.

Unfortunately, this could mean big repairs are on the horizon. "Serious structural damage could occur depending on where soil is eroding, so it's best to have a contractor, architect, or landscape architect provide an analysis," explains architect Colin Haentjens, a designer with The Knobs Company. And if you're ready to make over your space, start with these 27 Amazing Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen Without Remodeling.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (2)

Old homes have all kinds of quirks, but uneven walls shouldn't be among them. According to real estate investor and rehabber Robert Taylor, owner of The Real Estate Solutions Guy, uneven walls can be a sign of a foundation issue—or a sign that an unscrupulous builder has tried to ineffectively fix the problem.

Taylor says that some builders will "pour a thin layer of concrete on the floor to level the portion of the floor that's lower" due to foundation issues, resulting in even floors, but uneven walls.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (3)

Warped walls are frequently a sign that your drywall has absorbed water and is swelling. "Over time, the damaged area starts to crumble, especially around the baseboards," says Jack White, vice president of technical services at Rainbow International, a Neighborly company that specializes in treating water, fire, and mold damage. If your wall feels significantly uneven to the touch, it's time to call in a professional.

(Video) 10 Signs Your Mental Health is Getting Worse

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (4)

If your walls are perfectly even but your floors are so steep you could ski down them, it's time to call in a foundation expert.

"If the ground was not properly compacted before the foundation was poured, the weight of building can cause settling resulting in cracks in the walls, or unsettled floors," explains Taylor, who notes that this often becomes a problem in homes built on a slope. And if you want to keep your home in tip-top shape, it's time to nix these 50 Ways You're Ruining Your Home Without Realizing It.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (5)

While having a spring in your step can be a good thing, if that spring comes from your floorboards, you've got a major problem. According to architect Evan L. Goldberg, soft and spongy floorboards are a telltale sign that you may have "severe termite damage to the structural floor joists."

After contacting a pest control company to abate the problem, get in touch with a structural engineer to see if your house needs serious work to maintain its stability.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (6)

That musty smell in your home isn't just a sign that you need to clean more diligently. According to Taylor, that unpleasant odor could be a sign that mold is present in your home. His advice?

"Grab your toilet firmly and see if it rocks. If it rocks, you there might be water leaking from under your toilet, or you might be smelling sewer gases escaping," he explains, noting that you'd be wise to call in a professional to help remedy the issue. Taylor also notes that leaks are often present under sinks and where exterior walls meet exterior dirt. And for more great information delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (7)

Unless you're hosting regular duels, there's no good reason for your home to smell like gunpowder—and if it does, it's time to call an electrician or heating tech.

"A distinctive gunpowder-like aroma could result from a fried circuit board or fan motor" in your furnace, says Richard Ciresi, owner ofAire Serv in Louisville, Kentucky. Just make sure you get the issue looked at immediately, or you could be putting yourself at risk for a fire.

(Video) It's TOO LATE to get your life together in your 30s

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (8)

Cracking paint could be a sign that you didn't thoroughly clean or prime your walls before you started painting. However, it could also be a sign that there's moisture damage. Luckily, if you catch this issue in time, the fix doesn't have to be labor-intensive.

"The solution could be as simple as installing new downspouts that move water farther away from your home's foundation," explains Eric Regan, owner of Mission Painting and Home Improvements.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (9)

While you might chalk up that bubbling color on your walls to your less-than-professional painting skills, it could be a sign that you've got a problem with pests. According to Arrow Exterminators, paint that appears bubbly or has cracked could be a sign of a termite infestation.

After hiring an exterminator to remove the bugs, it's important to keep shrubbery, tree branches, and firewood away from your home to reduce the likelihood of re-infestation. And if you want to avoid further damage, ditch these 23 Things in Your House Attracting Pests.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (10)

That peeling bathroom paint is more than just a sign you should've shelled out the money for a better contractor. "When paint is peeling on the bathroom walls, there has been an untreated moisture problem for quite some time," says Helling.

The good news? The addition of a bathroom fan can help mitigate the problem going forward. The bad news? Moisture issues can quickly devolve into mold issues, so get a professional to inspect as soon as you can.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (11)

While all air vents get dirty from time to time, seeing spots in the paint around those vents that can't be easily removed may be an indication of a mold issue in your home. However, it's not just repainting your home might require: "You may need to have your cooling system repaired," explains Regan.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (12)

While many bathrooms develop some light mildew if they're not properly ventilated, if you have spots all over your ceiling, it could point to bigger problems.

(Video) The 5 Signs Your Relationship Is Over

"Brown stains on a drywall ceiling are a telltale sign that there has been a water leak at some point," says Andrew Helling, a Nebraska-licensed real estate agent and the owner ofREthority.com. According to him, this discoloration is an indication of moldy drywall, especially if it appears below a bathroom or kitchen.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (13)

While caulk can shrink or shift over the course of many years, if the caulk on the exterior of your home is cracking, it's time to call in the pros.

If you're noticing cracked caulk between siding panels, it's likely the sign of a moisture issue. "Think of [caulk] like a brand-new sponge that gets wet and expands," says Regan. "When it expands with moisture, a simple fault in the integrity of the caulk can get dramatically worse as more water pours in." And if you're eager to update your space, start with these 15 Great Home Projects to Tackle While You're Quarantined.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (14)

Your air conditioner used to keep your home at a pleasant temperature no matter how hot it got outside, but now it's barely cooling your home at all—what gives? According to Benjamin Ross, a real estate expert with Mission Real Estate Group in Texas, a loss of pressure in your vents is "a sign you have animals tearing into your AC ducting, either under the floor or in the attic" and need an exterminator.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (15)

If those gorgeous cabinets you spent a pretty penny on are suddenly looking cockeyed, "that is a sign there is mold growing above," says kitchen designer Lisa Fennessy of Kitchen Magic. However, that doesn't mean you should immediately replace the cabinetry—instead, you'll need to hire a mold remediation expert to fix the underlying issue or the problem will rear its ugly head once again.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (16)

While all homes settle over time, which can cause changes in how the odd door or window fits in its frame, it shouldn't be happening throughout your house. When this becomes an issue with multiple doors or windows, "it likely means that the support holding up the home's foundation or the soil beneath a slab foundation is no longer strong enough to hold up the weight of the home," says to Craig Russell, CEO of The English Contractor, a contracting and building firm in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Before the problem gets worse, it's important to get a foundation expert to assess the level of damage.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (17)

A low-pressure shower isn't just un-fun for you—it's pretty bad news for your house, as well. If you find that your water pressure is low, that could "be a sign of more serious plumbing issues lingering beneath the surface," including leaks, says Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a Neighborly company.

(Video) Signs Your Marriage Is Over And Not Worth Fighting For | Signs You Need To Get Out NOW!

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (18)

While a dripping sink isn't exactly an uncommon occurrence, it could be a sign you have a bigger leak on your hands. And unfortunately, that "can add to your regular utility bill and also lead to expensive repairs," says James.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (19)

That discoloration underneath your window may seem like no big deal, but it could be a sign of serious water damage. These stains typically indicate that "water has infiltrated the connection of where a window meets the framing construction," says Goldberg. It may even be a sign that there's potentially harmful mold lurking behind your walls that needs remediation by a professional.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (20)

If your bathroom fan has a stain around it, don't waste time getting it looked at. It's likely the result of condensation that could be weakening the surrounding drywall and framing, according to Joe Murphy, an interior design specialist at The Shower Head Store. It can also point to a roof leak, so if having your fan re-insulated or replaced doesn't solve the problem, it's time to call a roofer.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (21)

A little crack in your home's foundation may be no big deal, but if you can see through to the other side of the crack—or if water is getting through, you've got a much bigger problem on your hands. "A larger crack that is gaping enough to allow water or daylight through can mean a more serious problem, like severe foundation shifting and/or water damage," says Russell.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (22)

Before you call a paranormal specialist for those flickering lights, call an electrician. According to Helling, flickering lights are frequently a sign that there's a short in your electrical wiring, which could also pose a fire risk if left unchecked.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (23)

If your gutters aren't lined up with the edge of your roof, you could have a major problem on your hands. "If you look up and see daylight between the gutter and roof, there is a gap, which will ultimately let water behind the gutter," says Helling. Over time, this can lead to water behind your walls, in your attic, or in your basement, requiring expensive repairs or even mold remediation.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (24)

If your baseboards are moving away from your walls—or their adjoining pieces—you need a foundation expert stat. While this movement is often subtle at first, Alex Berezowski, the owner and general manager of The Foundation Experts Inc., says that it can indicate major foundation issues and shouldn't be left unaddressed.

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life (25)

That crack in your chimney isn't just your house's way of telling Santa he needs to lose a few. According to Berezowski, cracks in chimneys are also signs that you have a serious foundation issue affecting the structure of your home. And if you want to know how much redoing your home could set you back, This Is How Much Common Renovations Actually Cost.

(Video) Uranus Retrograde in Taurus- Quantum Reprogramming & Upgrades ~ Astrology

FAQs

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart — Best Life? ›

25 Silent Signs Your House Is Falling Apart
  • The earth around your home is sinking. Shutterstock/Mayuree Moonhirun. ...
  • Your walls are uneven. ...
  • Or they look warped. ...
  • Your floors slope. ...
  • Or they feel bouncy. ...
  • Your home has a damp smell. ...
  • Or you smell a gunpowder-like odor. ...
  • Your notice cracking paint around your doorways.

How do you know if your house is going to fall down? ›

“Little things like cracks in the wall, or windows and doors not shutting properly, can be an early indication that your home is slowly subsiding or settling. “The earlier you spot the signs of structural damage, the easier they will be to repair, and swift action could help you avoid forking out thousands of pounds.”

Can an old house collapse? ›

The answer is yes, however, it is also not that simple. It can take years to develop a serious foundational issue that would cause your home to collapse. In most cases, if it does, it's concentrated on a specific area of the home.

How can you tell if a house has structural problems? ›

Top 8 Signs of Structural Damage in Your Home
  • Cracks or Bulging on Walls and Ceiling. ...
  • Soil Pulling Away from House Walls. ...
  • Cracks in Chimney. ...
  • Uneven Gaps on Windows and Doors. ...
  • Sagging, Sloping or Cracking of Floors. ...
  • Sagging Roof and Roof Leaks. ...
  • Damp Subfloor. ...
  • Crumbling Concrete/Brick.

How long does it take for a house to deteriorate? ›

After three years, huge part of the roof would start to collapse. Plants would start to grow inside the house breaking apart cement floor. After 4 years, the walls would become severely rotted and wall ceiling and walls would start to fall. After 5 years, the house is completely unrecognizable.

What happens to a house when no one lives in it? ›

Once water from rain, snow or any other sources gets into the building and is left unchecked, it is basically a death sentence for the building in question. Water dissolves drywall, rots wood, rusts metal and melts plaster, among many other things that ultimately compromise the structure and its integrity.

How do I know if my property is beyond repair? ›

7 Signs Your Property Needs a Demolition, Not Just a Renovation
  1. The House Has a Faulty Foundation or Other Structural Issues That Are Beyond Repair. ...
  2. Local Councils and Other Organizations Have Height, Width, and Length Restrictions. ...
  3. Your Property Doesn't Give You Space for Additions.

How can you tell if a house is well built? ›

These small, yet noticeable, charming elements are some of the things that would set your home apart from others on the market. Other signs of quality construction include concrete based siding (long-lasting and versatile), use of Joist Systems vs. trusses, and quality entry doors and fixtures.

What year is considered an old house? ›

Age is subjective when it comes to houses, but an unwritten rule is that if a home is 50 years or older it's considered “old” and a home built before 1920 is considered “antique.” There are many factors that can contribute to the condition your potential dream home may be in, and thankfully most can be caught during ...

When should you walk away from foundation issues? ›

The most glaring issue has to deal with the foundation. When to walk away from foundation issues? Horizontal or diagonal cracks measuring more than 1/4 of an inch is a good reason to walk away.

How do I stop my house from shifting? ›

5 Steps to Avoid Cracks in Your Home from Shifting Soil
  1. Install rain gutters and downspouts around the house.
  2. Grade all soil at the perimeter of the house so that it directs water away from the house. ...
  3. Don't flood landscaping adjacent to and surrounding the house.

What type of house lasts the longest? ›

4 Long-Lasting Building Materials Every Homeowner Should Consider
  • Brick. It should come as no surprise that brick is one of the most durable building materials on the planet. ...
  • Stone. Stone is another material that's been used for centuries and has proved its ability to hold up over time. ...
  • Steel. ...
  • Concrete.

What happens when a house sits empty? ›

Your Lender Might Lock You Out. Vacant homes are targets for theft and vandalism. Therefore, when a homeowner's mortgage payments become delinquent, one of the first things many lenders do to protect their interest in the property is to look into whether the owner has abandoned it.

How long does the average person live in a house? ›

According to ATTOM Data Solutions, as of Q22020, the average is around eight years. This is a big increase of only four years between 2000 – 2009. However, if you look at the latest data in 2022 for 2021 from Redfin, the MEDIAN homeownership tenure in America is closer to 13 years.

What to do if house is sinking? ›

When a house shows signs of sinking, professional help has to be taken without delay. A licensed foundation repair contractor or a structural engineering firm will be able to perform a visual inspection of the structure and suggest the way forward.

What is considered structural damage to a house? ›

Structural damage is defined as any damage that compromises or affects the core integrity of your home. This includes the foundation, walls, roof and load-bearing walls. When structural damage occurs, the structure itself may be no longer able to support the house. Your home may be in danger of collapse or failure.

How can you tell if a house is well built? ›

These small, yet noticeable, charming elements are some of the things that would set your home apart from others on the market. Other signs of quality construction include concrete based siding (long-lasting and versatile), use of Joist Systems vs. trusses, and quality entry doors and fixtures.

How do I know if my property is beyond repair? ›

7 Signs Your Property Needs a Demolition, Not Just a Renovation
  1. The House Has a Faulty Foundation or Other Structural Issues That Are Beyond Repair. ...
  2. Local Councils and Other Organizations Have Height, Width, and Length Restrictions. ...
  3. Your Property Doesn't Give You Space for Additions.

When should you walk away from foundation issues? ›

The most glaring issue has to deal with the foundation. When to walk away from foundation issues? Horizontal or diagonal cracks measuring more than 1/4 of an inch is a good reason to walk away.

What are the first signs of foundation problems? ›

Here are 10 warning signs of foundation problems:
  • Exterior Cracks. ...
  • Interior Sheetrock Cracks. ...
  • Doors Out of Square and Uneven Floors. ...
  • Door Frame/Window Frame Separation from Brick. ...
  • Rotten Wood – Pier & Beams. ...
  • Bouncing floors – Rotten Wood. ...
  • Tile Cracks. ...
  • Expansion Joint Seperation.
Apr 8, 2020

What causes a house to settle? ›

Soil Compaction

Soil that is poorly compacted facilitates more settling than soil that has been well tamped. During the building process, if the soil around your home is not tightly packed, it can settle later on due to weather or temperature changes. This process causes the home to sink below its original elevation.

What year is considered an old house? ›

Age is subjective when it comes to houses, but an unwritten rule is that if a home is 50 years or older it's considered “old” and a home built before 1920 is considered “antique.” There are many factors that can contribute to the condition your potential dream home may be in, and thankfully most can be caught during ...

What percentage of homes have foundation problems? ›

It's quite likely that you'll encounter a house with foundation issues during your home search: an estimated 25% of all U.S. homes will suffer "structural distress" like foundation damage during their lifetimes, with 5% enduring major problems.

How do I know if my wall cracks are structural? ›

A wall crack(s) that spans both the wall and the ceiling or floor. For example, a wall crack that goes across the ceiling and then down the wall. This is a sure sign of serious structural damage. Any horizontal wall crack that runs the length of a wall.

What makes a quality home? ›

A good location, highly-rated school district, no foundation issues, no mold, lack of water damage, and clog-free gutters all contribute to a quality home.

What is the most common source of major problems in new home construction? ›

One of the most common new construction Home defects is overlooked paint. You may find that some areas of a newly-built home have not been properly painted, such as basement areas, utility closets, and other out-of-the-way areas.

How do you tell if a house is cheaply made? ›

Here are a few red flags to look for in a recently flipped home.
  1. Signs of a cheap flip: no building permits. ...
  2. Signs of a cheap flip: fresh paint in certain areas. ...
  3. Signs of a cheap flip: mismatched plumbing, faulty wiring. ...
  4. Signs of a cheap flip: shoddy job on cabinets and drawers. ...
  5. Signs of a cheap flip: flooring inconsistency.
Aug 4, 2022

How do I stop my house from shifting? ›

5 Steps to Avoid Cracks in Your Home from Shifting Soil
  1. Install rain gutters and downspouts around the house.
  2. Grade all soil at the perimeter of the house so that it directs water away from the house. ...
  3. Don't flood landscaping adjacent to and surrounding the house.

Is it better to remodel or rebuild? ›

For homeowners who feel attached to the history, charm, and character of older homes, a remodel often makes the most sense. On the other hand, if you're weighing a remodel vs. rebuild to make an older home more energy efficient, it can make more sense in some cases to rebuild.

Do All old houses have cracks? ›

Most of the time, it's perfectly normal and caused by one of the following: In new builds and extensions, the foundations will settle under their own weight causing slight cracks in the walls. In older houses, temperature changes and variations in humidity levels will cause the structure to sink and swell over time.

Videos

1. If Nothing Seems to Be Going Your Way - WATCH THIS | Sadhguru | Motivation
(Wisdom of Sadhguru)
2. Michael Schulte - Back to the Start (Lyrics)
(The Good Melodies -TGM)
3. Raising Free-Range Kids In Idaho 🇺🇸
(Peter Santenello)
4. Meet the REAL K.I.T.T. from KNIGHT RIDER! - Unprecedented exclusive access
(Retro Recipes)
5. This could be why you're depressed or anxious | Johann Hari
(TED)
6. The Pretty Reckless - 25 (Official Music Video)
(The Pretty Reckless)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Chrissy Homenick

Last Updated: 12/19/2022

Views: 5875

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Chrissy Homenick

Birthday: 2001-10-22

Address: 611 Kuhn Oval, Feltonbury, NY 02783-3818

Phone: +96619177651654

Job: Mining Representative

Hobby: amateur radio, Sculling, Knife making, Gardening, Watching movies, Gunsmithing, Video gaming

Introduction: My name is Chrissy Homenick, I am a tender, funny, determined, tender, glorious, fancy, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.