As 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.
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.
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!
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.
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