20 'Engineering Nightmares' We All Really Hope Aren't Hidden Under Our Feet

Living in an old house can be a bit of a gamble. If you're super unlucky, you might end up with some structural damage. But it probably won't be as bad as the houses in this list.

Alpha Structural is a company based in Los Angeles. They do a bunch of structural inspections, and they've shared the weirdest ones online for all of us to see!

"The homeowners wanted to update the stucco on this wall and hired a handyman."

"When they found this wood rot, we were their next call. You can't do much updating when something has bad bones."

Yeah, that second call was probably a good call. Don't want to let this nightmare get any worse.

"Rebar, which is steel reinforcement, makes a wall stronger and reduces cracking and leaning. Older block walls may not have rebar in them and are more apt to crack or fail."

Man, whoever invented rebars is a hero. I've never seen a block wall warped this badly, and I hope I never do.

The balcony to the left has seen better days too.

"It's always nice when I don't have to crawl into a crawlspace but, these stairs are pretty frightening."

I don't know what's worse, the fact that this stairwell looks like it leads to the deepest depths of the underworld, or the fact that they don't even seem to be functional. That's one trip I won't be taking.

"A portion of the retaining wall has separated from the rest of the wall. This will only get worse as time goes on if not fixed."

I don't think you need to be a structural engineer to see the problem here. This would probably be the first thing I noticed when walking into someone's house. And then I'd think twice about actually entering the building.

"Looks like the stem wall has a large crack and is separating from the rest of the stem wall and is starting to rotate away. Time to be replaced!"

The fact that there's a set of stairs resting directly on top of that crack probably doesn't help, either. That's just one big accident waiting to happen and I don't want to be anywhere nearby if it does.

"Hmm, I see they keep their supply of shims ready and available for quick 'installation.'"

Oh, of course. When in doubt, just cram a bunch of shims in a support post. That's a totally fine thing to do that won't be a problem down the line!

Okay but seriously, don't do that. Just call someone.

"Hmm, where to begin. Five imaginary dollars to whoever can accurately tell us what is happening in this picture, other than a total mess."

I'm not going to lie, I couldn't tell you what's happening here. But even still, I can tell that it isn't good. Man, I don't envy the engineers who have to check this stuff out at all.

"When you're under the house, you should never have light shining through the foundation wall."

"This picture shows the mudsill detached from the stem wall. This is an open invitation for animals and water to come into your crawlspace."

The crawlspace technically isn't inside the house, but it isn't outside, either. You don't want things getting in.

"More leaky, rusty pipes. Some have fallen and are not attached to anything."

Um, hopefully those pipes weren't important... The last thing you want is turning on a faucet, only to get water all over the bottom of your house. Try explaining all of that to your plumber.

"Yeah, let's just throw this old sink down into the crawlspace... is this equivalent to sweeping things under the rug?"

In some parts of the world, a crawlspace is basically just a very short basement that you can store things in (and helps keep your house up, of course). In California, crawlspaces... well, they aren't for storage.

"If a pen fits in the crack then it's time to worry."

I think it's safe to say that this foundation is two pieces now. That crack is so big, there's no way it doesn't run deep. Time to just back away and get yourself out of there.

"This deck system has some bad rot and we are almost ready to start the repairs! There are some beautiful views of DTLA from this home as well."

That deck is horrendous. It looks like it could go at any second. On the plus side, though, that view is incredible! That's why you move to LA, right?

"Here's some pretty significant rot damage to the main beam that is holding up a second story."

As if knowing that your foundation isn't strong enough to keep your house standing isn't bad enough, imagine finding out that your second storey is being held up by something like this. I might just start sleeping in the basement.

"Wood rot at its best... or worst."

You know how, like, houses are made of wood and stuff? And wood rots and stuff? Yeah, the wood your house is made with is treated so it won't do that, which means something here has gone seriously wrong.

"A constant drip from leaky pipes."

A leak may not seem like a huge deal at first, but that's gonna cause water damage at some point. It's also going to make your water bill skyrocket without you even noticing, so there's that.

"Someone replaced the post with a game of Jenga."

If you thought sticking a bunch of shims around a post to keep it up was bad, this is worse. There isn't even a post to begin with, and nothing looks stable. I have, like, little hope for this house's future.

"Here we have some pretty serious spalling in a residential garage."

I don't even have to know what spalling is to know that this is a bad situation. Just look at the state the ceiling is in. I wouldn't be parking that car anywhere near that garage!

"Somebody was preparing for the zombie apocalypse or something!"

I wonder if this is, like, someone's super cheap security system. Sure, it won't notify your phone if someone's trying to break in while you're out, but it might give a robber tetanus?

"I had the chance to visit this house that sits on the side of a hill. It is not in the best shape."

I know that building houses on hills is a thing, but it's just not for me. That foundation is stressing me out, and I don't live anywhere near California. I'll stick to flat ground, thank you very much.

"No, that is not a storm drain; that is the entrance to the crawlspace..."

Imagine having all the water that hit your roof in a storm go directly into your crawlspace... there's about a thousand things wrong with that. You might as well flood the rest of the house while you're at it.

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