Home & Design

Buying Power

How do you know if a house has good bones? Designer Stephanie Dickens offers insights gleaned from BOWA’s design-build professionals.
  • A dry basement is a sure sign of good bones. If it doesn’t smell damp, the house probably has fine grading, drainage and waterproofing.
  • Unfinished spaces allow you to check floor joists, plumbing pipes and ductwork.
  • A level floor indicates solid structural support. A dip where the ceiling and wall meet means the floor joists above are sagging.
  • Stand on tiptoe, then drop down hard on your heels. Too much bounce indicates insufficient structural support.
  • Straight hairline cracks above openings or at joints are fine, but jagged, diagonal cracks may indicate settlement issues or insufficient framing.
  • Have an expert look at mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems to make sure previous work was done properly.

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The 2019 Great American Living Awards recognize the best in home design and community planning in Maryland, DC and Virginia
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