Lucky!?

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Covered porch on a Connecticut houseAs the days fall away nearing the first day of winter, snow is on my mind. Here in Connecticut the state was hit by a freak fall snow storm at the end of October that wreaked havoc across the entire state. Last January brought a blizzard with record snow fall with additional storms that piled the powder to monumental depths. Under this wicked wintry burden, many roofs and parts of buildings collapsed. For many months after damage was found, assessed and repaired.

Damage is still being discovered, but now it has become imperative to have repairs done. The cold skies of December can bring a building breaking furry of white stuff any time.

Close up

This is the scenario with the mother’s home of a fellow inspector. Storm damage from the January storms was not detected until the freak October storm occurred. The weight of the wet and heavy October blast exacerbated the existing damage revealing itself through cracks in the walls and ceiling.

Once discovered the damaged was quickly shored up and several phone calls made, one to another home inspector. The house presents a unique learning opportunity. And so a on site seminar was quickly arranged.

The home is a raised ranch style with a large overhang creating a covered front porch. The ends of the roof are supported by posts. Actually the post are / should be decorative, they are not.

Roof is settled from snow load

The underside of the over hang is noticeably separated from the house, the posts have moved off their original anchors. Looking down the roof, the gable end, which hasn’t moved is clearly several inches higher than the roof field.

The roof has sunk and splayed…a lot!

Knee wall tilted, rafter separation

In the attic the main culprits were found. The rafters had never been secured with collar ties, boards connecting the rafters horizontally. Where the over hang begins a knee wall had been constructed to support the roof structure. It too had not bee properly tied into the house structure. The snow load moved the wall several inches forward creating the conditions seen at the over hang.

This house has been lucky for over 40 years. Bad construction combined with bad weather conspired to finally reveal this house’s glaring weaknesses.

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
2010 - 2011 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services. Learn more about our home energy audits, the Home Energy Tune uP®.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Dan Edward Phillips 12/19/2011 04:20 AM
  2. Dan Edward Phillips 01/08/2012 06:58 PM
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Rainer
291,619
Ira Bodenstein
PNC Mortgage - Montclair, NJ
NMLS#: 445143

Amazing!!! You never know what exists under the roof of a home.  Very enlightening.

Dec 15, 2011 03:03 AM #16
Rainer
482,047
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTORĀ®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing, James. As others have already, there are reasons for today's codes. Fortunately this lesson did not come with the cost of an injury or worse.
It's great to see the on-site seminar was assembled to share the knowledge. Working together can only be a good thing!
Bruce

 

Dec 15, 2011 03:05 AM #17
Rainer
16,158
Bob Davis
Right Move Real Estate - Huntington Beach, CA

WOw - not surprising though. Older homes always have issues. Even people that maintained there homes meticulously still always have an issue here and there.

Dec 15, 2011 03:06 AM #18
Rainer
80,593
Chris Lewis
Gracious Living Realty - Front Royal, VA
I want to SELL your home, not LIST it!

We just had a similar situation where a room had been built onto a rear deck and the deck itself hadn't been tied in to the building.  Luckily the buyer is prepared to take on the work so the sale will go through.

Dec 15, 2011 03:35 AM #19
Rainmaker
119,829
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO
CPI

Jim,  One of the reasons we are needed. We hear from the seller, "It's a great house, never had a problem."  Then we come along and do an inspection...

Dec 15, 2011 04:26 AM #20
Rainmaker
179,897
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

They got lucky with a 40 year reprieve.

Dec 15, 2011 06:51 AM #21
Rainmaker
382,670
Matt Listro
National Credit Fixers - Matt Listro - Vernon, CT
Your Credit Repair Expert

Jim,

Wow, I really hope we don't have a killer winter, I'm hoping October was our last snow storm!

:)

Matt

Dec 15, 2011 07:10 AM #22
Ambassador
1,334,752
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Time is rarely on the side of anything we like to see stay around

Dec 15, 2011 07:56 AM #23
Rainer
147,717
Michael S. Bolton
Michael S. Bolton,Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
MN Appraiser

Jim~I sure wish we had some of that snow, even the ice on the lakes is starting to melt again here. Can that damage be fixed by putting the rafters back in place, or is it permanent damage?

Dec 15, 2011 10:01 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,551,775
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Come on folks, that's not 100 year code! That work should have been done in the 50 or 60's when the house was originally built. Wow, don't mention how it is going to be fixed though. I'm sure some strengthening has to be done also now that everything has shifted.

Dec 15, 2011 11:19 AM #25
Ambassador
4,300,966
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

James, 40 years without detection of any structural issue! That's surprising. And the two snow storms reveal the fact - not a good outcome for sure. Hope this will be a mild winter...

Dec 15, 2011 05:04 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,853,799
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Yet another example of how gravity works.  And works all the time.  Sometimes it takes a heavy load to reveal it though!  You'd think that somewhere over the years someone would have noticed the lack of collar ties.

Dec 15, 2011 08:23 PM #27
Rainmaker
524,781
Kathryn Acciari
Century 21 Real Estate - Shrewsbury, MA
Brand Ambassador and Business Coach

Roofs and basements have suffered significantly this year, with all the rain and snow that has hit this area. Have you run into any roof issues related to roof raking? 

Dec 15, 2011 11:23 PM #28
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Merv, Lucky you :)

Wayne, No demo required and thanks.

Michael, A sun room roof collapsed around the corner from where I live this past winter. 

Janis, I'm with you, I would be very happy without any snow this or any winter. 

Peggy, You are quite the optimist :)

Ed, I don't think the builder has much to worry about now. As for the storms, when the blizzard dumped all that snow is really when I remember all the troubles began. 

Yvette, Yes you should. 

Michael, I think your assessment is dead on. 

Dec 16, 2011 12:19 AM #29
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Bill, As I'm sure you know, the codes are most often a reaction to problems like this one. 

Joe, I agree.

Than, Yes that is more or less what occurred here in CT. 

Richie, Yes there is.

Debbie, Yes repairs will be made soon. Sorry I can't make this one :(

Barbara, Who knows how many people have damage they are unaware of. Hopefully we have a milder winter this season.

Rosalie, I of course agree, an inspection on any home is always a good idea.

Ira, You don't know unless you look.

Dec 16, 2011 12:25 AM #30
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Bruce, Yes the group I belong to is very big on education. We also are fortunate to have a vast amount of experience and knowledge among the members. 

Bob, I have to say every home sooner or later will have problems.

Chris, That sounds a bit strange. How was the deck supported?

Vince, Yep, the ol' it has never been a problem explanation :) 

Jack, Yep.

Matt, Another optimist :)

Charlie, We both know nothing lasts forever, we just defer the inevitable. 

Michael, The damage can be fixed. The Inspector has had two engineers look at the damage and provide repair plans.

Lyn, Yes the house structure will be strengthened. We did not view or discuss the engineers plans for repair. We were looking at effects and how to spot damage. More important to us as home inspectors.

Praful, I'm hoping the same.

Jay, You would think, but...

Kathryn, Oh yes. I have seen more than a few roofs with damage from roof raking.

Dec 16, 2011 12:36 AM #31
Rainer
158,244
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

Luck is always subjective and often needs to be put in perspective.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

Dec 16, 2011 04:05 PM #32
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Anthony, Thanks for reading.

Dec 16, 2011 10:46 PM #33
Rainmaker
233,733
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

I'd love to see that house in person.  One thing that I've found very difficult to convey with photos is 'movement' of houses.  Photos just never do it justice.

Dec 20, 2011 11:26 PM #34
Rainmaker
690,288
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Reuben, I agree. It is very hard to see how bad it really is from a photo. Hey next time I'll let you know so you can come out to look :) 

Dec 21, 2011 12:14 AM #35
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James Quarello

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