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Thread: roof load

  1. #1
    Rick Winkler's Avatar
    Rick Winkler Guest

    Default roof load

    Hi guys
    i ran into this the other day. Stick built attic (not sure about the framing) and six doors in the back of the house that are not aligned with the catch anymore. The photos are cracks off the tops of a couple of door frames. Without spending all day between the attic and the crawlspace, i'm assuming the roof load is causing the problems.

    Tell me what your call would be.

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  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: roof load

    Typical foundation movement from the pictures. More info and/or photos are needed to get the big picture.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: roof load

    I've seen cracks around doors like that and non-latching hardware from a twisted header.... often on newer construction. Since it's on 6 doors that seems pretty unlikely.

    I think you're definitely on the right track with something framing related. I recall a house recently that had some similar issues and all of the crawl space framing below was pretty messed up. Things like posts not bearing any weight and just overall poor construction.

    Knowing how old the place is might help some people offer up ideas.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: roof load

    Rick,

    You mentioned the crawlspace. Did you enter the crawlspace to determine any pier movement?

    Most cracks as such in my experience have all been related to foundation movement as Jim L. mentioned.


  5. #5
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
    Jim Zborowski Guest

    Default Re: roof load

    Did you check the gap around the interior doors when they were closed?
    If the center of the house was " sinking " the gap at the top of the door would be greater toward the outside wall ( away from the center of the house ). It could be a failing beam, lally column, weak joists, lally column being crushed into the beam. If the doors show a greater gap the opposie direction, or it is limited to only one or a few doors, the foundation could be failing. Did you check for diagonal cracking in the corners, or the center of a wall or walls?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: roof load

    If that is a stick-built house with drywall, I see it all the time, especially with newer homes. It does not look like a roof framming, or foundation issue to me. These appear to be internal walls (interior door frames), most of which do not hold up the roof.

    Typicaly new wood is green and if left outside or exposed during construction will absorb moisture. This type of crack is usually cosmetic, resulting from twisting and drying of the wood framming members or header above the door. Since plaster or drywall doesn't flex, any shrinkage or twisting of the wood frame will cause a crack at at frame joint or header, especially at corners of door and windows.

    Seasonal usage of a home that is subject to large fluxuations in environmental conditions also can cause cracks like these.

    If you're looking for structural issues, look for stress at interior corners of walls and where walls meet ceilings, or for differnetial movement.

    The cracking appears cosmetic and will tame down over time and acclimation to environment.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: roof load

    and six doors in the back of the house that are not aligned with the catch anymore
    Shrinkage of framing members does not create problems with doors not latching.
    Shrinkage cracks generally don't form diagonal cracks that get wider or narrower as they move up away from the doorway, like those in your photos.

    Take if from the guys in the land of slabs and expansive clay soils (we see it almost everyday), the cracks shown in the pictures are very typical of movement starting from the foundation up, not from the roof down.

    I see your deal is on a crawl space, so like Rick H. mentioned, you really need to take a look in the crawl at foundation and beams. Six doors all in one area means something is going on under or near those doors.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  8. #8
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    Default Re: roof load

    "i'm assuming the roof load is causing the problems."
    A word of advice from a guy who has been doing EW litigation for a long time; NEVER assume ANYTHING! It could be soils, drainage, foundation settlement, roof and wall loads, seismic activity, etc. Even seasoned PE's tread lightly here.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  9. #9
    Rick Winkler's Avatar
    Rick Winkler Guest

    Default Re: roof load

    Sorry, I guess I forgot to mention the age of the house is over 35 years. The left side is 16 ft across then a 4 ft hall and a 12 ft room on the right. Brick Ranch style house. The photo shows the attic framing. The main vertical one you see is actually the center of the gable. The two load points you see here are on the hallwall walls. Its the next brace that there isn no wall under. There is another vertical piece to the left that is not in the photo. (sorry) If the framing was built more like trusses, I would think the load point was no problem. I had to suggest an engineer get involved, because of all the cracks in the walls and the doors not fitting. hope I didn't lose a good realtor for a bad call.
    The piers under the house look good, its just that i'm not sure they are carrying the load exactly.

    Better luck next time huh?

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  10. #10
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: roof load

    My vote: Settlement issues with the foundation/ structure.

    If it looked like this on the inside, I'd bet there were similar stair-stepped cracking on the outside bricks (if bricked). If siding has been installed, I'd bet it was put there to cover-up the eye-sore caused by the external cracks.

    RR


  11. #11
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: roof load

    Ditto from what Rick H, Rich R, & Jim L advised.

    See it all the time here in the world of black gumbo soil and slab or p&b foundations.

    Settlement of the foundation. It is a 'given' and with 35-years of maturity those cracks are not all that bad ... not to minimize the need for repair.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: roof load

    Here in Dallas, they'd bulldoze down a house for drywall cracks like those and build a 4K sq. ft. McMansion in its place.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: roof load

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Here in Dallas, they'd bulldoze down a house for drywall cracks like those and build a 4K sq. ft. McMansion in its place.


    BTW, I did a McMansion a few months back (on one of the "M" streets). Brand new home - terrible construction. I spent more time writing the report on that one than I have on 20 year old homes.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  14. #14
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    Default Re: roof load

    You did not state that the doors were in the outside wall, so the assumption is the wall in question is an interior load bearing wall that is offset from the main load bearing beam. The miss transfer of load to the floor joist has caused them to sag. Critical load path is the key. Follow the path (the yellow brick road) to the cause. Even a 12-18" offset can create this problem.

    Had the same issue in a 9 month old house. New builder (23 years old) thought since he could swing a hammer he was a qualified contractor. Moved some walls, changed the path. Cost $22K to fix.


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