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Thread: Attic Fire

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    New Mexico
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    Default Attic Fire

    This came up a long time ago, but I forget what was said. Today' s house has some significant fire damage in the attic space. I was able to get up close and personal with it, and it is surprisingly solid, even though it looks terrible. I jammed at it with the screwdriver over and over, and it really felt just like regular wood. What are the things to look out for with this mess?

    The wiring was replaced, and some of the insulation. That's a different mess to deal with for the buyer.

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    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
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    876

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    The best way to evaluate the wood is to scrape away the charred wood. If a rafter looses 1/8 inch on each side it has lost over 16 percent of its strength. If a 2x8 looses 1/4" on the bottom edge that is another 7%. Not enough to cause a structural failure, but with the depth of char I am seeing I would probably be calling for repairs.


  3. #3
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
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    5,005

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    This came up a long time ago, but I forget what was said. Today' s house has some significant fire damage in the attic space. I was able to get up close and personal with it, and it is surprisingly solid, even though it looks terrible. I jammed at it with the screwdriver over and over, and it really felt just like regular wood. What are the things to look out for with this mess?

    The wiring was replaced, and some of the insulation. That's a different mess to deal with for the buyer.
    Hi Jim,

    It might be fine, but I have been told that wood that has been heated will lose some of its elasticity and it ends up more brittle. With something that extensive, I would defer to a structural engineer.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    How much of the attic is like that? Is that the worst or the best? How does it smell?

    Some of it looks like it's crumbling, but there may be enough meat left to support the roof. If you are so unsure; that's a rating in itself and that's how it should be reported.

    Maybe is not yes, and if it's not yes, it's no. If that is not sufficient you could recommend a SE.

    There also may be some code regulations as to the % of damage. (That would be wise to investigate)

    As long as the interested party understands the condition and that it exists, they have the information to make decisions and negotiations.

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 10-17-2014 at 11:10 PM.
    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Rafters burned as bad as that, I would expect to see them sistered with new wood.
    Nobody has bothered to make repairs. Now they expect your client to buy it from them?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
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    1,258

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Fire was 30 years ago. I think they will add a little fresh wood to it when the roof is replaced. The roof is still the original metal from 1956. Pretty funny old place, but the client has some construction background, so they will be able to handle some re-framing in the attic without much trouble. The rafters were actual 2x6, in fact they are slightly larger than 2" wide, so there is still a fair amount of meat left in there.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Shelby NC
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Attic Fire

    Something else to consider is that charred wood can smell like charred wood inside the house during periods of high humidity like rain and really muggy days. If it is structurally ok or if not removed and replaced, it needs to be sealed to prevent it from smelling like a chimney fore during the rain.


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