If you’ve ever heard someone say, “This house has great bones,” it’s the structural integrity of the home. It means that the structure was built with quality materials on top of a good foundation. It means that the home was planned and built thoughtfully. Good bones in a home is what virtually every homeowner is hoping for when they purchase a home or decide to do some renovations or repairs. Whether you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters or just someone looking to rehabilitate or renovate a dwelling, you want to have a robust home whose structural design will guarantee that it stands for decades to come.
Every home construction project relies on a structural engineer to ensure the structural design of the home is safe, stable and built to set codes, ordinances and conventions. After the engineer has done their job, it’s time to start the foundation. The foundation starts with its dimensions and centerline. Its the part that bears the dead, imposed and wind load of the home and transfers it into the ground. Once the foundation is laid, it is not meant to be seen by the sun or air again. The depth of the foundation will depend on several factors, including:
- the groundwater level.
- nearby excavation.
- frost penetration.
- seasonal shrinking and swelling.
With most homes being hewn from lumber, your typical home in the United States is framed with wood. There is a great abundance of forests in North America which is why it is the favorite pick. Although wood is susceptible to rot and fire, there are many advantages to using it. It works well under pressure, it’s strong and resists tensile and compressive forces, and it has just enough flexibility. In order for the lumber to be suitable for building, it will need to be processed. Kiln drying is one way to reduce the moisture content of the wood to prevent premature rotting. Another step to preventing rot is spraying the lumber with chemical preservatives. Charring or blackening the outside of the wood with fire is an effective preserving method, however it is considered an ancient way of preservation.
No matter what part of the world you are in, there are forces that can completely destroy your home. But when you have a robust home, you may be less likely to suffer catastrophic damages. Events like tornadoes, hurricanes, mudslides, flooding, earthquakes and more can really take a toll on a house. But when your home has been designed to withstand many of these phenomena, you may not have to rebuild your home from scratch. Incorporating things like storm windows and doors, steel framing and elevated living areas can save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.
There’s nothing like the peace of mind that comes with having a structurally sound home. Understanding that there are a lot more pieces that go into having a strong home is the first step to making any fortifying improvements. Some things take a lot of time and money, but you’ll find that many of them are well worth the investment.