What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Gravity Works Every Time!

Multiple stud arrays, like the one of the photo on the left, are used when a major load needs to be supported.  Why?  Because it is easier to order a boatload of 2x4" studs than to order individual posts, of whatever material.  I have posted about this before.

The problem with using so many studs, particularly on very tall "balloon" walls, is that they can separate under the load.

They separate because gravity works every time!

This particular house, which had tall walls, a cat walk on the end of a great room, and major load points where more than one structural member met, had many such stud arrays.

If metal straps are nailed onto each stud and around the stud array, they will not separate.

No straps had been installed yet.

Some time ago, unknown when, the supervisor had actually painted where STRAPS would be necessary.  You can see that it still has not been done.

Up close, but harder to see in this photo, is that these studs have already separated.  The one on the left is 1/4" from its neighbor to the right.

As studs separate, things settle.  If you have every seen what looks like wrinkled, crushed drywall in a house, it is due to such settlement.  It is because something settled.

AND IT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED WITH A SIMPLE STRAP!

Why straps aren't ordered and present on site when the studs are ordered is beyond me.  Why a supervisor needs to actually paint where straps need to be placed it beyond me.  Carpenters are supposed to understand load points and loads and why they don't is beyond me.  Why supervisors sometimes say that in "their opinion" the straps aren't needed is beyond me.

There is a lot in modern construction that is beyond me!

My recommendation:  On pre-drywall walk throughs, if you see multiple stud arrays, particularly very high ones, and you do NOT see straps, ask the supervisor why they are not there.  Ask him if gravity works there just like it does everywhere else...  Mother Nature will enforce her laws whether our opinion agrees or not!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 24 commentsJay Markanich • August 16 2010 07:08AM

Comments

I wonder how many times something like this gets covered up by the drywall man. No one knowing that the straps never made it on.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) almost 8 years ago

I would be concerned with load holding as each stud would work individually unless somehow tied together inches apart

Posted by Stanley Stepak, Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake, (Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH) almost 8 years ago

I think it happens very often Scott.  Which is why a couple of years later you see drywall that seems to be crushing itself.

Stan - together they are very strong.  But much stronger the closer they stay together.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Jay, I continue to learn regularly from your posts.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) almost 8 years ago

AWUUUU!  You got me again with your "stud arrays!"  Is the GREEN on the plywood MOLD already?

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) almost 8 years ago

You are welcome Gabe.  This is similar, but has more information, to my other stud-strapping post.

Wallace - you like studs, huh?  You might even have a stud finder in your tool box!  So to speak...   The green is a copper spray which inhibits fungal development and insect infestation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay is it cheaper for a builder to use a "boatload of 2x4" vs buying the appropriate 1 piece of wood? Thanks again for more insights!

Posted by Jennifer Dulmaine, Seth Campbell Realty Group (Keller Williams Realty) almost 8 years ago

Apparently it is cheaper Jen, but if not it is certainly easier to make one order then a bunch of smaller ones.  But if you do it this way, do it right!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay - I was once asked by a homeowner about something "stupid" that a subcontractor had done, and I replied with the truth.  "If they thought like you and I, they would have jobs like we do and not be working for $12 an hour.  That's why we need to check behind them.  There are few "craftsmen" left in construction.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 8 years ago

A harsh, but true, statement John.  There are few craftsmen, and those that are out there are self-employed in their own shops doing custom work.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Once again, thanks for the educational post! I love reading them and then sharing them with my clients!!!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 8 years ago

I hope many can benefit Barbara-Jo!  That's the idea, after all.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

All this is why we have inspectors for our buyers!   Good job Jay!

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Joan, but this is more common than most people suspect!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay you are right, "Carpenters" do know to put the straps on.  The last time I mentioned straps to a Carpenter (?) I got, "What Straps".

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 8 years ago

Yeah, Jack, and the last post like this they had installed the straps but put the nails BETWEEN the studs!  You mean they don't understand?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay, great illustration of an important point, which once it had been covered up would have been a mystery to solve when the drywall damage was evident.

Posted by Dale Ganfield almost 8 years ago

This is all too common, right Dale?

I knew you'd agree.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I really enjoy your posts...  I learn about things that I never thought I would ever have learned!  Thanks!

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

That is a general statement. Nutsy can walk right up a wall. He defies gravity.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Gravity pulls on all kinds of things....and wrinkles in construction are harder to find a surgeon to repair once they are hidden behind drywalll as you so sagely point out...blog on Jay !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) almost 8 years ago

Chris - I am glad you are learning so much!  When we inspectors walk into houses we are thinking a thousand things most people don't consider as they look around!

Steve - let me know next time he lets go!  Oh, I may be a Detective, but I am not a general.

S&D - the blogging is likely to continue.  Are stud surgeons in the Yellow Pages?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Being is supervisor is a tough job, believe me I know. Even when you give directions not everyone follows them.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I hope this guy is there every day, Jim, and if not things like this can slip.  This was not the only place he had requested a strap and none was done.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments