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Structure Matters:

Updated: Aug 25

There are so many

forces acting on a building at every given moment. There is the normal settling of all houses that can leave minor cracks in drywall here and there. Sometimes, they can also crack tiles. But there comes a time when things should stop moving. Also, there are things in a structure that should just not move. The wind forces acting on a house try to stretch it one way , and when the wind shifts, the direction of pull also shifts. Engineers know all this and building are built to counter all of these forces and then some.

But we as inspectors get concerned when we see moved that were never meant to move. Cracks that appear to have been repaired over and over.


Sli

ght vertical cracks are expected and common. They can be filled with epoxy to prevent water ingress, but they do not compromise the structure. A horizontal crack is a whole different beast. Can you spot the horizontal crack along the middle of the picture? It is hard to speculate on the cause of that crack, but we do know t was extreme pressure from the outside that caused it.

So is it stable now? Will epoxy work on this? No, I really don’t think so. The forces that can cause this much damage to a foundation wall must have been immense, or there is a structural issue with the concrete. This is where I stop taking, and just ask that you refer this to an engineer to determine if they think this is safe. My clients decided they are not willing to take on this project, but for someone else this might be the perfect opportunity ask for a significant reduction to help pay for repairs. To each their own, I just tell you what I see.


Here is a Truss with the connection plate coming off. You see one of them off, and you have to inspect all of them to see if there was movement in the entire structure, or if it was an unexpected nudge by a contractor that caused it. So I went along the entire length of the Attic looking for any sign of similar movement in the structure and didn’t find any further issues. So, I could conclude that it doesn’t look bad for the structure. So how do we fix it? Hammer it back in? Well, it will require an engineer to examine and confirm the proper repair. The reason for that is there are some parts of a house that are engineered to specific requirements and are not meant to be altered or repaired by just anyone. A structural engineer has to examine and sign off on proper repair procedure. So yeah, this will be expensive. Will you still buy? That’s for you to decide, I just show you what I find.

Also, look at the condition of the plywood that is beneath the shingles. Improper ventilation has can cause these issue. The roof should be isolated from the house heat. Think of it this way, the habitable are is what is covered by insulation. And all areas outside of insulation should be at outside temperature. What does that mean for the buyers? It means that is is very likely that you will have to replace the sheathing when you replace the roof. Added cost at the end of the day. But if your shingles are good for another 10 years, and you love the area, will you still take it? You decide, I hope I helped explain the situation.


I

had the opportunity to inspect a beautiful home. Very well cared for, but unknown to the sellers, someone had closed off the chimney that they no longer used. It didn’t get done right. So the chimney had been collecting water and snow for years. It had caused a lot of damage to the structure from both inside as well as outside. A properly fitted cap on top could have saved a lot of trouble that was later found on the inside.





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