How to Know If A House Has ‘Good Bones’

If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘good bones’ used in regards to a house, you might have been confused as to what it meant. The term ‘good bones’ is often thrown around when describing people but rarely houses. 

In case you’re in the market for a new home but you don’t want to have to do too many repairs or deal with new or lingering issues from a variety of sources, then follow along as breakdown everything you need to look for when trying to see if a house has good bones or not. 

  1. A Strong Foundation

This would probably be your first guess as to what constitutes good bones within a home, and you’d be right. The foundation is what everything else is built off of and if there are problems here, there will be problems in your home from top to bottom. 

If the proper concrete sealing isn’t in place, or if the foundation was poured unevenly or has settled and cracked, this can lead to an unbalanced home with tight-fitting doors and windows as well as basement flooding, mold growth, and more. Look for a foundation that is even, properly sealed, and free of cracks.

  1. Roof Health

The health of your roof will determine whether or not your home is as energy-efficient as possible as well as whether or not it’s able to keep out insects, moisture, and other undesirable elements. Shingles play a big part here, so make sure yours aren’t outdated or worn thin. Fresh shingles such as the synthetic asphalt variety will be a big help here, so keep an eye out for those. 

  1. HVAC Health

A leaky or damaged HVAC system will lead to poor indoor air quality as well as low energy-efficiency, so check the tubing, ductwork, vents, and A/C units for any damage or leaks. The HVAC system is like the respiratory system of your home, so you want one that’s in good shape already.

  1. Home Layout

A home with good bones will have a layout that makes for easy maneuvering and shifting of furniture. You don’t want doors opening into each other or steep, narrow staircases that are hard to navigate. 

  1. Positioning of Structural Supports

ICF framing is a sure sign that you’re good to go in this area. However, if you can’t find a home with a comprehensive airtight wall system such as ICF framing, pay attention to where the structural supports are in the walls. Misplaced and misaligned studs can lead to warping and even all-out collapse in event of extreme wind. 

Good Bones Lead to Less Problems

Good bones are everything you want in a home if you’re looking for ease-of-living, low-maintenance requirements, and longevity. Factors like the health of your foundation and roofing as well as the framing system, layout of the home, location, view, and surrounding environment all contribute to the overall ‘bones’ of a home. If you’re solid in each of these areas, your home will treat you well for quite a while. 

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value. 

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