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  1. #1
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    Default Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Inspected an A-frame house today and noticed the kitchen wall wasn't plumb. Along the kitchen counter they had put a filler (1") behind it and the wall. I think the weight from the roof rafters have bowed the wall outward ?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    I'm not sure of the technical names, but that is not a true "A" frame but a modified A frame to my way of thinking. There is no floor joist or other member to resist the outward thrust of the rafters. If the legs of the "A" extended all the way to the ground or to the floor joists tied to the other wall/rafter then it is a structurally sound building. As it is, it is doomed to failure and needs a structural engineer to design a repair. Do you have an establishing shot on the interior?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I'm not sure of the technical names, but that is not a true "A" frame but a modified A frame to my way of thinking. There is no floor joist or other member to resist the outward thrust of the rafters. If the legs of the "A" extended all the way to the ground or to the floor joists tied to the other wall/rafter then it is a structurally sound building. As it is, it is doomed to failure and needs a structural engineer to design a repair. Do you have an establishing shot on the interior?
    No that's all I have, I should have stepped back and taken a wider view.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    I agree with Jim. True A frames have the A structure going down to a bearing surface. Conversely where you have a steep pitched roof there is usually a collar tie or ceiling joist that is going to keep the roof from pushing the walls out. Typically the ceiling joists line up with the eaves. With your home the builder made some changes and there is no structure to keep the walls from spreading. This is definitely a call for a structural engineer.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    What I noticed and pondered when blowing up the overall (long shot) of the side of the home were the following (may be lense distortion or pixelation as the photo was small and of low quality/file size) and the close up (outside):

    Not sure if the crawl (stone veneer finish or masonry substrait) is a curtain wall (pier) or a perimeter bearing continuous foundation wall.

    The area including and esp. in between the crawl space access (ramp leading to, retaining wall, field-stone type veneer or substrait) and access opening in the bearing first floor wall (boarded up?) half-door just beyond the gas tanks. The log/timber/rim/decorative siding band board (?) seems to have a splice and bow at that point as well as nearer the condensor. Between both the crawl access and the half-door knee wall access appears to be a discongruity flaring/dippng and bowing at same (also "looks" to be a dip and bow in the close up photo).

    From the looks of the overall topogrphy both near and in the background, as well as the crawl space ramp area I suspect the area may be prone to wash-out and collections of water in high rain/flash flood type events, should shed water make its way into the crawl access and continue "downhill" towards the front of the house, specifically up against the suspected deeper and more substatial chimney foundation footing (uphill side) i.e. erode/wash-out/compromise the house perimeter foundation (wall or pier) uphill side right at that 'zone'. That's were I'd want to explore first.

    From the shared photos alone it would be impossible to determine if either or both openings are/were structurally adequate or sound.

    We have no information on the crawl space/foundation or the inspection findings thereof.

    Although some have mentioned (I guess presumed) a basement, I presume a crawl space, as I see no evidence of a full height access and I believe I see a crawl vent just to the left of the front porch and downspout and before the chimney under the eave and to the right of the gas tanks. Perhaps it is fresh air intake, I cannot make it out as it becomes distorted when I attempt to enlarge the image. I guess there might be some sort of interior access to a full height basement and could be a basement eero but I'm doubting that, and thinking at best a non-habital "cellar".

    My first inclination would be to ask the OP about his findings at the crawl space in this area, and to inquire as to the supporting structure and the conditions thereof. I do not assume stick built dimmensional lumber nor foundation type be it pier beam curtain wall, etc.

    Might be seeing lense distortion/photo effects. Low res. small image file - can't be sure... But the topography sure is suggestive of the potential for problems.

    So I further wonder - just what is that access door in the first floor half-wall for? what lies behind same (formerly frozen or failed plumbing perhaps)? was/were there other compromises to the knee wall (interior), access from interior? What type of foundation and first floor structure system? what were your findings in the crawl space? and finally, is that standing water in the ramp by the crawl space access?


    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-11-2013 at 01:01 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I'm not sure of the technical names, but that is not a true "A" frame but a modified A frame to my way of thinking. There is no floor joist or other member to resist the outward thrust of the rafters. If the legs of the "A" extended all the way to the ground or to the floor joists tied to the other wall/rafter then it is a structurally sound building. As it is, it is doomed to failure and needs a structural engineer to design a repair. Do you have an establishing shot on the interior?
    Don't overlook the second floor. The floor joists act as rafter ties. The distortion of the vertical wall might have ocurred while they were framing the building. I'm trying to picture the rafters going up on a free-standing wall. It would have been braced temporarily and pretty shaky while they were putting the frames up. But once the second floor was in, the rafters were locked into place. We need more info.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Don't overlook the second floor. The floor joists act as rafter ties. The distortion of the vertical wall might have ocurred while they were framing the building. I'm trying to picture the rafters going up on a free-standing wall. It would have been braced temporarily and pretty shaky while they were putting the frames up. But once the second floor was in, the rafters were locked into place. We need more info.
    I agree about the second floor acting as rafter ties... sort of. The trouble is they are too far away to be of a great deal of long term benefit. The rule about rafter ties needing to be in the lower third of the rafter is where we get into problems here. The short wall and the length of the rafters past the second floor joist makes the joint at the top of the wall a hinge with only the rafter itself to resist the outward thrust of the rafter and wall.
    Even if the structure was built out of plumb, it is still a weak structure in need of an engineer to design a fix.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    Inspected an A-frame house today and noticed the kitchen wall wasn't plumb. Along the kitchen counter they had put a filler (1") behind it and the wall. I think the weight from the roof rafters have bowed the wall outward ?
    Not specifically a question for you, but there seems to be two posts with the same name with different responses. I was confused because I knew that I commented on this before and did not see my post or others I read.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    Not specifically a question for you, but there seems to be two posts with the same name with different responses. I was confused because I knew that I commented on this before and did not see my post or others I read.
    Yep, confused the heck out of me too as I posted on this, the "original" (four hours + earlier - this one) thread (here in the "Technical" section "building interior" sub-section of the forum, and didn't see my post (above, here) on the later created (same day nearly identical, four-plus-hours later created thread) discussion by the same poster (which he created over in the "structural-components" sub-section) where your comments were posted.

    Here is the "other" "newer" thread (clickable - hopefully- link) that the OP created four-and-a-half hours after he created "this" one:

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...ame-house.html

    HTH

    P.S. I too had to hunt this down because something occured to me much later and I wanted to look at the pictures again to confirm, found the other and didn't see my prior post.

    I believe the original interior and exterior finish of this wall was structural both sides appear to have been altered, the interior replaced with "paneling" and the exterior (albeit fitted with antique interior door knob, and DIY weatherstripping) half-door chimney side of the crawl space entrance look to have been done post-original and suspect inadequate provisions made structurally for doing so under stress and interior finish presently is likely not equivalent and appears to be "popping off" at least in one of the interior photos (panel seam). I wonder how plumb that chimney is.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-12-2013 at 11:48 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    if the rafters are spreading the walls, then the ridge must have a noticeable swayback and the second storey floor joists must be pulling away from the rafters. I don't see it. I won't say it is a well-built or well designed structure, but I don't see it collapsing either.

    HG, that door is likely for firewood, access to a woodbox. Yes, it may have been added later.

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    if the rafters are spreading the walls, then the ridge must have a noticeable swayback and the second storey floor joists must be pulling away from the rafters. I don't see it. I won't say it is a well-built or well designed structure, but I don't see it collapsing either.

    HG, that door is likely for firewood, access to a woodbox. Yes, it may have been added later.
    Because of the steep pitch you would not see much deflection at the ridge. there could be slight movement at the second floor or the rafters could have deflected. If the corners are plumb then its likely that the walls bowed out.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Did you check the plumb of the wall on the exterior also?

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Can you tell me is the other wall out of plumb as well ?
    I am wondering if it is tilting inwards (space at the bottom of the level)

    Ya, I would bring in a structural engineer - something is not right here and I would say there is a major structural failure in the future for this house (that is based on such little information) - I don't like the wall not being plumb and I can not see enough of it to be sure if there are any real structural ties to hold this wall in place or if it is going to pop out some day


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bowed interior wall on a A-Frame House

    Did you have a chance to see if the "spreading" had any effect upon the chimney? If the chimney is solid and true, and spreading is occurring, I would expect to see some damage on the roof adjacent to the chimney and most of the effect on the opposite side of the house.


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