104 Worst Things Seen During Structural Inspections (New Pics)

When was the last time you had your home or business inspected, pandas? Be honest, was it last month, or was it three weeks before you moved into the building nine years ago? We tend to assume that everything is just fine with any structure we enter because well, frankly, the idea of the roof collapsing on top of us or the floor caving in isn’t something most of us want to imagine. But unfortunately, buildings don’t last forever, so to ensure that we’ve chosen a safe space to conduct our business or live our lives, those places need to be inspected every now and then.

And who better to inspect your building than Alpha Structural, Inc.? Alpha Structural is a leader in the engineering and construction of foundation and hillside repairs, and a popular presence on the internet thanks to their social media accounts. Below, we’ve gathered photos from their famous Imgur account, featuring some of the most bizarre and shocking things structural inspectors have discovered while on the job, so we hope you enjoy these pics and remember to always have those inspections done on time.

Keep reading to also find an interview with Ben Reinhart, Vice President of Marketing for Alpha Structural, and be sure to upvote the photos you find most surprising. Then, if you’re interested in checking out Bored Panda’s previous articles featuring Alpha Structural, you can find the most recent ones right here and here!

More info: AlphaStructural.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Imgur


"I'm on the edge" - Lady Gaga

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Is it just Los Angeles drivers or does this happen everywhere? At least the driver miraculously just hit the garage and not the rooms where people were sleeping.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Who else is bummed they missed this party?

Image credits: AlphaStructural

Alpha Structural is a Los Angeles based leader in foundation repair whose mission is “to engineer and build the most precise, practical and responsible repair for our customer’s property, in conformance with State and Local Building Codes and with their budget in mind, so that they may realize their goals concerning the correction of their property.” It was started by David Tourjé, who had built many custom hillside homes in the 1980s and decided to specialize in foundation and hillside repairs due to the increasing demand.  

Alpha Structural has now been going strong for decades, becoming the number one choice for Foundation Engineering and Repair, Landslide Repair, Earthquake and Structural Rehabilitation Contractor in the Los Angeles area. “Our production staff has over 850 years of experience and all of it is hard-core and down-in-the-trenches, not managed from behind a computer,” their website states. “Our in-house engineers and technicians are among the most experienced in all of Southern California. If that’s not enough for you, here are just a few more reasons why you should choose us for all your foundation needs.”


9 lives just aren’t enough.

For mummification to occur, the body must be exposed to certain conditions, including chemicals, low humidity or a lack of air, which prevent the tissue from decaying. 

Crawlspaces can in fact provide just the right mix for a body to mummify. I don't know what to do with this information.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Moisture in your crawlspace is never a good thing as it causes wood to decay. It is also an ideal habitat for mushrooms and mold

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Still selling for one million dollars…

Image credits: AlphaStructural

But despite being based in California, Alpha Structural has had an impact on so many people around the world thanks to their hilarious and informative internet presence. With accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Imgur, Alpha Structural has thousands of followers who are eager to view their team’s most shocking finds from inspections and be glad that these things weren’t discovered in their own homes! We’ve been featuring Alpha Structural on Bored Panda for about three years now, and in the past, we’ve been lucky enough to get in touch with them to learn more about their company and the importance of structural inspections.

Alpha Structural previously told Bored Panda, “There are many factors that can affect the repair of a home such as budget constraints, timing, accessibility of workspace, etc. For the most part we would put the responsibility on the contractors that were hired to do the work. Most homeowners are not aware of the repair ‘methods’ used, especially when the work is under the home."

“For example, we’ve seen brick foundations that have been ‘retrofitted’ by bolting the framing to the brick walls. However, this doesn’t serve any purpose as the bricks can’t hold these bolts. Many times the homeowner had no idea that there was any problem performing this type of retrofit on a brick foundation,” they explained. “Without trying to sound cliché, we can say the old maxim, ‘you get what you pay for’ holds true when selecting a contractor to repair, or upgrade your home’s foundation.”    


Interesting brickwork on that chimney you got there. Tell me you love controlled chaos without telling me you love controlled chaos.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


This home was flooded due to a burst pipe. All the water damage and extra pressure it applied to the slab caused a severe crack to form.


You can see it runs across the entire length of the living room.

You can see here the slab has a offset crack, characterized by a height difference on either side of a the crack. 


It can be tempting to think that cracks in concrete aren’t a cause for concern, but if they’re affecting your home’s structure, they need to be addressed. Your concrete slab is essential to your home’s structural integrity. A weak foundation can lead to the collapse of interior walls.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Here we have a floating post and pier. The room above must be fun for the kids, an in-house bounce house.

Image credits: AlphaStructural

We reached out to Alpha Structural about this piece as well, and we were lucky enough to get in touch with Ben Reinhart, the Vice President of Marketing. First, we wanted to hear if there had been any exciting updates since the last time we had spoken with Alpha Structural. "We recently celebrated our 30th anniversary!" Ben shared. "Also, we started servicing Orange County and will soon be expanding to Ventura County as well!"


Jenga! Your turn.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


At least they placed the concrete on the dirt to avoid termites. 2 out of 10 for the effort.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


I think i've become an animal whisperer. They seem to be following

Image credits: AlphaStructural

We also asked Ben if it's crucial to have a structural inspector take a look at every building we might be living or working in. "When purchasing a property, it’s very important to do your due diligence," he told Bored Panda. "Get all the inspections; you need to make sure that you’re getting what you expect. We’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about people buying homes, waiving contingencies, and then finding out down the line that they have major structural issues."

"Regarding someone who is already the property owner, they don’t necessarily need to get inspections unless they start noticing signs of structural damage," Ben added. "Large, wide cracks, sloping floors, etc. The best thing a property owner can do for their structure is to make sure they have a good drainage system and keep up with regular maintenance. This will go a long way."


Sometimes concrete slabs crack due to improper installation procedures. They will need to be inspected by a professional to determine the cause.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


In nature, wood rot is the natural decomposition process turning fallen logs into nutritious soil.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Just waiting on one good shake.

Image credits: AlphaStructural

We also asked Ben about any of the wildest things the Alpha Structural team has encountered while on the job. "We come across some crazy stuff. I’d say that one of the most shocking was when one of our assessors found a human skull in the crawl space of a home he was inspecting," he shared. "The skull was complete with a clump of long, black hair and a few chunks of mummified flesh but minus the jawbone. The assessor immediately left the crawl space and notified the police. Surprisingly, when the coroner came, he concluded that the skull was roughly 2,000 years old! It’s suspected that a previous homeowner had found the skull while hiking in Peru in the 1970s and smuggled it back into the country."


For 1 million dollars, would you spend the night in this room?

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Do you see it? Let's zoom in... Yeah, not scary at all.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Down the hill the fence goes and with it the homeowner’s backyard.

Image credits: AlphaStructural

We were also curious what type of person would make for a great structural inspector. "Being a structural assessor is a much more exciting job than people would expect. You see all types of buildings, some of which have a very rich history. You meet a lot of people who are experiencing various structural/geotechnical issues," Ben told Bored Panda. "We try to help them find a solution for their problem that fits within their budget. I’d recommend someone who has experience with construction and who likes to solve problems and help people."


We were called out to assess a failing deck on an ocean-front home, but the ocean had other plans.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Oh, you think your deck is structurally sound. I dare you to stick a knife in it.

Image credits: AlphaStructural

Ben also added that, "Cracking in drywall/stucco is very common, especially in SoCal. The best thing people can do to mitigate this is make sure that they have a proper drainage system. Don’t let water pool near your foundation. Cracks that are around ¼ of an inch or wider are more concerning. This is a sign that there may be a structural issue."

If you're concerned there might be a structural issue in your home or you'd like to learn more from the experts, be sure to check out Alpha Structural, Inc.'s website right here!


During the storm a tree fell on top of this home. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, though the homeowner was sitting on their couch when their ceiling came crashing down. You can see here how their roof is completely warped from the impact. Inside, the extent of the damage is clearly visible. P.S. the couch in question is under there somewhere.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Santa better have insurance.

Image credits: AlphaStructural

Just like our routine check-ups at the doctor to ensure our health is in tip-top shape, regular building inspections can prevent any issues from creeping up on your residence or office space before it’s too late to fix them. According to Build, structural inspections are important to catch any issues that you might have missed when checking out the space. “It’s easy to get carried away with the idea of getting a new place, but the last thing you want to do is pay for a bad property that lacks minor details which turn out to be crucial after the purchase has been made,” Build explains. “If things such as pest infestations, incorrect electrical wiring, or a faulty plumbing system are not addressed as soon as possible, they can become a major source of discomfort or even danger. These minor yet significant details are what professional [building inspectors] look for when conducting inspections. A building inspector will catch details your untrained eye missed.”


Not one thing in this picture is aligned.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Check out this red-tagged home we had the pleasure of visiting this week. No big deal. Just a little movement down the hill.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


If the structure is in an area accessed by the public, then spalling can be hazardous in terms of falling debris or trip hazards. If left unchecked, then spalling will accelerate and spread so that, eventually, the structure could become unstable.

Image credits: AlphaStructural

Having a solid building inspection can also help with your power in negotiations, before you’ve decided whether or not to purchase a space. “With a good inspection, your negotiation stakes are more solid. When making an offer on a property, having a solid understanding of the building’s structural problems and having reports to back up your claims will help you save tens of thousands of dollars,” Build writes.

“A building inspection is one step you never want to overlook. It is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your new building is a good investment, and it is critical to do your research before making such a large purchase. The priority of anyone looking to purchase a property should be to seek the advice of a professional building inspector in order to make a proper and well-informed decision.”


We always like a spacious crawlspace, but, as you can see, the foundation wall at the entrance has begun to deteriorate. There seems to be something growing from inside the wall.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


What a great life lesson... even foundation post and piers come in every size.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


This retaining wall needs some serious intervention before it fails. Oh, too late.

Image credits: AlphaStructural

Are you feeling inspired to schedule your next home inspection, pandas? If you’ve got cracks in the wall or you suspect the basement has water damage that could cause problems in the future, now’s the time to get that checked out. We hope you’re enjoying these shocking photos, so keep upvoting all of your favorites. And then if you’re interested in checking out our previous articles featuring Alpha Structural, you can find the most recent ones right here and here


Your house feels a bit slanted? Hmm, I wonder why.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Jenga but 100x bigger!

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The biggest shim we’ve ever seen.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Structural dust. Welp. Sir, your house is being supported by dust.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


You don't need to be an expert to know this is bad.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Set it and forget it.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Girders act as the intermediate support for the floor joists. They carry the bulk of the weight above them. They should not be twisting away from the post.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


I guess it's the season of leaning walls.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Deck or failed retaining wall? Yup, definitely a failed retaining wall.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


A car rammed into the side of a bar and took out a supporting column. By the look of it, it was already on its way out.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Almost every landslide can have multiple causes. Slope movement occurs when forces acting down-slope exceed the strength of the earth materials that compose the slope. These pipe and board builds were not strong enough to hold the earth behind them

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The column looks a little worn, but at least it's not supporting a giant parking garage

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Once the retaining wall is unable to withstand the force behind it, it will come crashing down. Luckily, a retaining wall does not fail without first showing warning signs. Common signs that a wall is slowly failing can include cracking in the wall, bulging of the face of the wall, and tilting. If a retaining wall shows any of these signs, it is likely time to have the wall evaluated.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


If your home is sitting on a slab foundation, these are the types of cracks you do not want to see. Cracks like the ones above are a clear result of structural issues

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Don't underestimate a failing retaining wall. This wall will fall, and the results will not be pretty and will ultimately end up costing more than replacing it at this stage.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


No one should be parked too close to this wall

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Any guesses what animal this is?

Image credits: AlphaStructural


This home’s access door to their California basement was located in the bathroom. I'm sure they dominated at hide & seek.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Rusted pipes pose a significant threat to your structure’s foundation.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


A car plowed into the side of this church. We came out to inspect the structural damage, but the most impressive part was that there were no tire marks on the grass. It is completely pristine. How? Was it a flying car?

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Next time you're on a deck you should look over the side of it and assess how structurally sound it truly is. It's a favorite party trick! People love it...

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Knowing the common signs of foundation issues can help you take the necessary steps that can spare you extensive and costly repairs in the future.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


"Under Pressure" - Queen.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Plummer special! The very handy plumber dug out the foundation to place a pipe and, in the process, undermined an entire row of post and piers.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


If my pen fits then I'm concerned.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


"I'll take signs you're having foundation issues for $100."

Image credits: AlphaStructural


As the slab shifts into the building, the retaining walls on the side are being pushed away. This is very dangerous for the structural integrity of the building and the safety of others in the next building.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Size matters when it comes to foundation cracks. The picture above is an example of what a concerning crack would look like. The two sides of the gap are pulling away from each other and one side is sinking. We call this “differential settling.”

Image credits: AlphaStructural


If you're worried about foundation issues in your home, look out for these common indicators: -Sloping or sagging floors, -Visible cracks in ceilings, -Gaps appearing between walls and floors, -Walls beginning to lean or bow, or -Floor cracks appearing.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


You can really see how the surrounding expansive soil has affected the post and piers. My favorite game.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


I guess they're ready for every level as their foundation sinks.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The equation is simple: wood + water = decay. Because of this, any part of the home that might be damp has the potential to result in rot, but it’s the parts of the home where there’s excess moisture that you need to monitor.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


You get a strap! You get a strap! Straps for everyone!

Image credits: AlphaStructural


This home's structural posts for its deck are not secured. The connection where the beam meets the concrete footing is not secure as it is slanting due to it sliding down the hillside.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


This failing retaining wall is holding 4 feet of dirt.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


A support jack is not a permanent solution. It should only be used to make repairs to a damaged foundation. Once the repair is finished, they should be removed.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Why does it look like they just take the pipe, ram it into the foundation until it goes through and call it a day?

Image credits: AlphaStructural


You guessed it! Another... plumber's special.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


One of the biggest problems that river rock foundations face is the mortar degrading. The river rocks in the foundation can become loose over time if the mortar begins to degrade as it ages. When the mortar degrades, the rocks can be easily pulled out or fall out of the foundation.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The rainstorm caused many homes to flood. As homeowners realized this week, it can be difficult to pinpoint where the water is coming from. If the property is flooding it could be coming into the home from under the floor. If the property lacks sufficient drainage, heavy rains can cause water to pool against the exterior of the building, and this water can then seep into your foundation and begin pooling inside your home.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Jenga! Which one would you pull?

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The scariest crawlspace award goes to...

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We wouldn't want to be the home directly below.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The homeowners called us back out this past week after the rain to reassess their non-conforming retaining wall. It's called hydrostatic pressure. As the soil behind the wall collects more water, the greater the hydrostatic pressure on the wall will be. Luckily no one was near when it failed.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


We visited a home this week with a very interesting backyard. They had walls on 

top of walls.



Did anyone else watch that episode of Seinfeld? This must be what he meant.

If you couldn't tell: yes, all three walls were done without permits. All three walls are beginning to fail.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The mortar used to hold the river rock together can degrade over time to the point where the rocks will fall out or could easily be pulled out.


If neglected, a distressed river rock foundation not only affects the cosmetic appeal of the home but also puts its residents at great risk.

Depending upon the circumstances, a replacement of some or all the unreinforced foundation may be necessary. Usually, homeowners preferred to “sister” the foundation. This preserves the curb appeal of the home. This option is often less costly than a replacement.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


It was common in the early 1900s to use brick to build foundation walls. If you have an older home, you may notice this is your foundation type. The problem is that over time, they can become weak. Mortar breaks down, and bricks start to fall out

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Vertical cracks = Very bad structural issues

Image credits: AlphaStructural


At least they put some shoring up. This wall is doing nothing structurally for the home and needs to be replaced immediately

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Termite problems occur when wood components of the foundation are in direct contact with soil. Earth-to-wood contact gives termites easy access to food, moisture, and shelter, everything they need to thrive. They're just asking for it

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The girders support the floor joists. During the construction of the foundation, usually a pocket is built within the wall to hold the girder. They can also be hung from the foundation wall with special hardware. Wouldn’t recommend a piece of plywood to do the job.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Efflorescence is the white chalky powder that you might find on the surface of a concrete or brick wall. It's a sign of moisture intrusion that could lead to major structural issues if not checked out.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


We see many crawlspaces and foundations. Well, this is what it looks like when a slab begins to fail. When a slab foundation fails, it can be a very invasive assessment. You have no direct access to it, so you have to pull the floors and carpet off to assess the damage.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Every bit as scary as it looks.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


While under a home, as much as you might want as much light as you can get, seeing natural light from outside can pose dangers to your home's foundation.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


This home’s post and pier seemingly looks fine, but if you take a closer look, you can notice someone has filled in the bottom portion.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Bearing failure. The weight above is too much for the girder and it's being crushed. The girder is supposed to be sitting in the notch above the stem wall and mudsill. You can clearly see that it has sunk down meaning the entire floor above has sunk with it.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


You do not want your girder to look like this. The homeowners are probably already noticing sloping or bouncy floors. Yikes.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The tragic events that occurred at the Champlain Towers South condominium complex near Miami brought a lot of attention to these types of deteriorating buildings. The nationwide coverage allowed for more people to be aware of the warning signs. Spalling is not just a cosmetic issue. It can very much be a structural issue.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


When you're not careful on who you hire to do a specialized job it can make it easy to get roped into paying for a job you do not need. This home's foundation was strapped when it clearly did not need to be. Not one single crack was present behind the straps.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Yeah, that's a “no” from me.

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I spy with my little eye... a missing footing.

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So, we’re just using pipes as support beams now?

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Excavation next to or near any foundation or retaining wall requires special care.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


There are different types of foundation cracks your home can suffer. Being able to tell the differences between them helps you determine the best way to fix the problem. Two of the most important categories to know about are vertical and horizontal cracks. Horizontal cracks that run across your foundation and/or walls are some of the most serious types of cracks your home can suffer.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The roof of a home plays an essential role in ensuring the structural integrity of the entire home. It provides a protective barrier against all the outside elements. The components are all designed to work together to help keep the home well-protected from a variety of potential risks. Even under the finest weather, a roof will eventually deteriorate over time.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Another cripple wall leaning into the crawlspace. A cripple wall is a short wall that rests on the foundation and supports the floor and exterior walls. Cripple walls help carry the weight of the house. During an earthquake, cripple walls can easily collapse if they are not braced to resist lateral movement.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


It may be hard to tell from this picture, but this hillside home's stem wall is out of plumb. You can look at the mudsill and the cripple wall above the foundation wall to see how much it has shifted forward.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Spalling occurs when the reinforcing steel inside the concrete rusts, expands, and then ruptures the concrete.

Image credits: AlphaStructural



Image credits: AlphaStructural


The California 'bomb cyclone' unleashed powerful winds and heavy rain, homeowners across the state have witness firsthand how powerful mother nature is.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Often, river rock foundations here in California are in Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZ). This program aims to identify and protect the distinctive architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles’s historic neighborhoods. So, any new projects in that neighborhood must complement its historic character. For this reason, sistering the foundation is the best solution.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


New year, same problems.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


Hillsides all over SoCal came sliding down as the rainstorm hit. As beautiful as the hills are, there have always been issues with houses being built on top of them.

Image credits: AlphaStructural


The design takes a front seat over practicality. Are we collecting water in the crawlspace?

Image credits: AlphaStructural


This is not the worst looking crawl space but looks can be deceiving. A quick shifting of the sand and you can see the post and pier's footing is not being properly supported.

Image credits: AlphaStructural