Is something structurally wrong in my attic?


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Old 12-27-14, 08:21 AM
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Is something structurally wrong in my attic?

I checked my attic for mice today and found a bunch of holes in the blown in insulation.

However, that is not the reason for the post. I noticed some odd structural things that the inspector said were no big deal. The house is pretty old so that might be related.

http://imgur.com/a/Q1L2A

in the first picture you will see that a beam kind of supporting the roof i guess i loose, its not attached. It jiggles a bit but not a lot. You can also see that one of the diagonal pieces is not attached to it straight. In the third picture you will see tyhat they fixed this for other spots by pitting a piece of wood in between. I was also surprised to see no pieces of wood (?truces?) between the diagonal pieces. maybe they are hiding in the floor since some areas of the roof slope beyond just the attic.

In the second picture you can see some wood near the dormers pulling away a little bit. It has been like that for 2 years now and does not seem to have moved.

In the fourth picture you can see another vertical post which are two 2*4s nailed or screwed together and in the distance you see two sloped posts.

The roof looks good from the outside so i wonder if this is a big deal or not.

Any insight.

Having typed this out i am terrified. In another part of the attic (we have two attics in the house that are connected) they do have little truces.

I should say i am nervous to call a roofer bc i know they will just say... yea you need things fixed and charge me money.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 08:52 AM
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You're right to question what you see. The good thing is no leaks so far.

I can't really tell what is going on there. There looks to be interesting roof valley.
I don't know why the one roof rafter was supported like this.

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I would certainly recommend having a framer or carpenter take a look at what you have there. You haven't had any problems yet but snow piled in the right place could be a problem.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 08:58 AM
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So i need a roof carpenter or framer? or a structural engineer. i will check angies list.

This inspector... first house stupid mistakes you know. Oh this is not a big deal!...

Thanks a lot inspector.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 10:49 AM
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Hi Belgian,
This may make you feel better, but all too many inspectors collect their fee and practice NOT finding anything. If they keep finding problems, the phone will stop ringing and another inspector will be getting the jobs. The defense against this patty cake style inspection is to research and find your own, not the one the real estate wants to provide. That way he represents YOUR interests. They are out there and there are some very good ones, thus the research. Yes, it might cost you a bit more, but when the defects are exposed you can often save more than the inspector cost.

We all learn as we go.

Bud
 
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Old 12-27-14, 11:04 AM
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So i need a roof carpenter or framer? or a structural engineer
A good framing carpenter should be able to handle the job or advise if an engineer needs to come up with a plan.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 11:11 AM
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I wouldn't be terrified. I would wait on some further input from other moderators here and some members that are very knowledgeable in this subject.
It looks like some rafters were replaced at some point, probably termite damage. This is typical and to be expected.
The rafters that were replaced were cut a little (a lot?) sloppy, but I would say they have structural integrity. The vertical members, the one that is 2 x 4 and the other ones that are at an angle, are purloins, typical in older roof construction.
As I said, there are some expert framers here on the site. My opinion is that the roof structure (or any structure) tends to act as a unit. There can be a few flaws and the structure will stand.
One thing I would do for peace of mind is to shim gaps in rafters, you can see that there were shims inserted at several points, but not all gaps were addressed.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 11:18 AM
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Thanks man,

My house is a money pit, but i sure have learned a lot about construction. Posting threads here i now know those pillars are called purloins and now i can start doing google searches for that term. Thanks. Learning every day.

Regarding inspectors, yea, we were hurried since we were looking and went with the realtors suggestion... classic mistake.

However, i plan to live on this house forever since the property is large and it has a lot of character. I dont mind fixing up things as i know the house gets better and better. Its a pretty old house and maintenance was neglected.
 
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Old 12-28-14, 03:56 AM
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Does anyone else have any insight?
 
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Old 12-28-14, 05:20 AM
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Aside from the suggestions mentioned, it needs to be an onsite thing. Remember your inspector worked for the realtor, not you, technically. Their purpose was to facilitate a sale, no more, no less. Lessons come tough, sometimes.
 
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Old 12-28-14, 06:26 AM
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Unless the work up there looks raw and new there's no need to panic. The house has stood that way for some time. Spring or fall would be good times to work up there. In high summer it'll be hot right up under the roof.
 
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Old 12-28-14, 07:03 AM
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Kind of looks to me that the framers made a small adjustment to the roof line during the build. Often times all the roof rafters are cut on the ground "en mass" and then handed up one after the other to be nailed on the roof. Possible that someone suffered from the "inch rule" - where you read the tape upside down and accidentally subtracted a fraction of an inch instead of adding one. They filled in the oops with blocking. Looks like one of the blocks has dropped.

The crooked purloins may be temporary supports used during the build to take some bounce out of the roof structure or to raise a droop. Never meant to be permanent but never removed after the build. Other compound angle cuts that were performed with hand tools can be expected to be less than perfect on some of the valleys. Usually carpenters of older vintage were more precise, but an apprentice had to learn someway. This may have been his first build.
 
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Old 12-28-14, 11:01 AM
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suffered from the "inch rule"
I have a helper who consistently handed me lumber that was 1/4" short. After I got through yelling at him, I went down and looked at his tape. He had dropped it and bent the hook tang, making all his measurements off. Needless to say, I threw the tape in the lake.
 
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Old 12-28-14, 11:44 AM
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The craziest tape measure story I know involved interior trim on a large lake house. There were 2 trim carpenters, 1 on the scaffold and another on the floor cutting the crown molding. Several times I heard the "carpenter" on the scaffold holler down a measurement - 122 inches and 3 little lines or 93 inches minus 1 little line Surprisingly they did a decent job but you sure could tell they didn't know much about fractions.

My oldest son used to work in a welding shop building race cars. I don't know how often but they frequently calibrated everyone's tape measure to make sure everything fit right.
 
 

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