Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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The Roof and its Framing: Avoiding Problems When Reframing an Attic

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The roof and its framing can show many issues with a home. Some start when a new roof is installed. During a home inspection, I see a common framing mistake, but some solutions can be done by the homeowner, with a little knowledge.

As I turned on the light in the attic, the first impressions were bad. The real estate investor had popped her head up, and she was a bit shocked as well. New lumber had been added in some unusual configurations, while older framing pieces were at strange angles. You could be left scratching your head.

First impressions of a home are not always the best. The homeowner had starting adding their own framing to shore up the roof. The primary problem was that he had not realized how that framing should be done. The secondary problem was the original framers. They had set studs at angles due to the way they wanted other parts of the home to be set.

New roof coverings may cause damage to your framing because of the weight. The original roof had been wood shingles over slats which had been placed onto the rafters. New roofing methods call for sheathing to be placed onto the rafters, and these panels can be quite heavy. This weight put greater stress on the angled studs, so the studs began to bow. To counter this downward press, new collar ties were placed from rafter to rafter. This may not have been a bad idea, but then lumber was placed at various spots and angles to help tie everything together.

The best solution is to study a bit to make a plan. Adding more framing elements is not always going to do the job of dealing with the additional weight. One great resource book to see proper framing techniques is Graphic Guide to Frame Construction by Rob Thallon. Dealing with the elements from the foundation to the roof, the book has easy to follow graphics which makes it a good quick guide for professionals or adventurous homeowners. The good aspect of the home that I was inspecting was that the roof had not deflected down too much. The ridge seems to have go down evenly. Since the ridge beam was centered between two joists, I would have added a cross member over the joists with a stud going up to the ridge beam, and then looked at my purlins and their brace.

For real estate investors, you have to take a closer look before reacting. Sometimes homeowner repairs make a problem look worse than they are. If you do not use a home inspector, have your general contractor take a look to come up with an evaluation. Or you could start learning best practices from a book like the one above.

For more articles about concerns with a roof, you can go to Roof Inspections in Houston page for more articles.

« « Getting Rid of the TRCC| Real Estate and Home Maintenance : Taking an Easier Step When Dealing With a Home Inspection » »

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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