What I'm Seeing Now

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Framing The Problem

On new construction there are times when you can look at something and not be able to tell what the problem is!  At times you have to look at things a long time and still can't see exactly what is going on.

Things look out of whack, but sometimes, when many things ALL look out of whack, it is hard to determine what it is.  Such was the case on this now-famously-popular new construction!

 

 

This is one wing of the upper level of this house. 

You can see two types of siding materials used here - vinyl siding and wall shakes or shingles.

Look around.

What's askew?

Is it the small horizontal roof on the upper right?  (Yes...)

Is the lower roof bowed?  (Yes...)

Or are the windows not level?

 

 

So, how about a little quiz?

A.  The window is not level.

B.  The wall shingles are not level under or over the window.

C.  The arrow-shaped detail at the top is not level.

D.  B and C because the framing of the lower roof dictates how level things are above.

Hint:  That window is DEAD level.

The answer, of course, is D.

What you are looking at in both pictures things that appear as they are because the rough framing underneath is not plumb or level.

And the materials that go over that framing, therefore, are conforming to that.

Could this have been done to that things don't appear out of line?

Sure, by working off of the level thing - the window.  It would have meant fitting (called scribing) the lowest course abutting the roof to that roof so that when it met the window it was level.  That would have corrected a lot of it, but that would require

FORETHOUGHT AND PROFESSIONALISM.

 

That arrowhead thing at the top is just ridiculous.  If the window is level THAT surely is not!

One problem leads to another - the initial framing goes a long way toward what follows!  Even on a pre-drywall inspection, which we conducted, that would be very difficult to detect.  Defined lines aren't so visible when things are skeletal.  And, as you can see, something only needs to be off a little bit, like 3/4" from one side of a window to the other, for a defined line to look a little funny.

My recommendation:  It's hard to do, but look to see how things are fitting together.  Because sometimes alignment, placement, or out of plumb and level can be framing the problem!

 

 

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 29 commentsJay Markanich • November 29 2010 07:39AM

Comments

picky picky picky...I thought it was your camera angle :) ....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

"Curb Appeal?"  I think it went OUT THE WINDOW!

Gee, once I see details like this, I can't get them out of my mind...

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 9 years ago

No Sally - I have the camera very level so as not to pull thing off kilter.

Mike - it would be bothering me every time I pulled up to the house.  That's what I said to the buyer.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, this would make me crazy -- I couldn't live in this house and quite frankly, I'd have a tough time being its neighbor.  OCD!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 9 years ago

Thank you Jay. Another very instructive blog. It would also bother me, every single time! : )

Posted by Lydie Ouellet Dickinson, Realtor (Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA) over 9 years ago

Well, Tish, I looked at it and looked at it.  Finally I went in to put my level on that window.  Once I knew that was level I knew what else was going on.  It would get to me too, every time I pulled into the driveway!

Lydie - you are welcome and I am glad instructed!

Valerie - you should see it live!  It is much bigger and the problems seem to stick out a bit more.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Another informative post.  So I'm wondering Jay, while the framing may be out of level is that something that can be considered a major defect which would require great expense to modify or is that a cosmetic item?  Cosmetic items are not typically valid reasons for not releasing a home inspection condition as you probably know.

Posted by Joel Gwillim, Associate - REALTOR® (CIR Realty - Condo Specialist) over 9 years ago

I would think not Mike.  It isn't out of whack by that much, but when identified with straight lines it is easy to see.  Anyone who has wallpapered with vertical stripes soon understands how NOT plumb his walls are.  The wallpaper guys have tricks for trying to minimize that out of plumb!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay - I think I read that China is experiencing a shortage of bubbles for levels.  Don't blame the poor builder or subcontractors :  )

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

John - well, I have seen a bubble app for our phones!  Not sure how accurate they are...

Hard to imagine China experiencing a shortage of anything!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Me thinks that someone has been dropped too many times and now their bubble is off...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jay, I think you could write a book on this one house. I'd love to put all these posts together and give it to my young contractor friend who is eager to build his first home from top to bottom. May I do that?

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) over 9 years ago

Jay, where I live, there's a lot of settlement in some neighborhooods, so we see windows and roof lines that aren't exactly straight on occasion.  I always thought those houses started out with the framing level - maybe not.

Posted by Menlo Park Real Estate and Homes for Sale, WendeByTheBay.com - 650.504.0219 - SF Peninsula (Wende Schoof) over 9 years ago

Michael - perhaps their phone has been dropped to many times?    ;>)

It's up to you Bob.  I guess by now they are in the public domain.

Wende - it probably does begin with the framing.  Typically the following things follow those lines.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

OMG...  Crazy...  I found myself looking and thinking about this post for a bit.  Great one, as usual!

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 9 years ago

Don't think too hard Chris!  If you're like me, after a while of looking at this stuff, things start to hurt...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

And in the end, if the potential buyer has an inspector of Jay's quality then selling the house becomes more difficult.  Make sure it is done right the first time.

Great post Jay,  good catch.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 9 years ago

I had a lot of fun on this inspection Jack, as you have been reading the last many posts!

It could be that most people would not pick this up.  I am walking around with a critical eye and it sticks out!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

So the circus came to town and all the clowns stayed and built this house. Would that be about right?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, thank you for posting this. I am curious if the lack of attention to detail in the framing is indicative many times of the quality of construction in the rest of the house? I have said to many of my clients the lowest bidder is not necessarily the best choice. This illustrates that perfectly.

Posted by Carol Costanzo, GRI, SFR (Montague Miller and Company) over 9 years ago

Has the buyer gotten cold feet and decided to move on to another house w/out all of the issues? 

Mel

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Jim - this house had so many issues, when taken individually pretty much happen all the time, but all taken together really add up to a lot!

Carol - this house has been the subject of my last many posts!  So yes, there is a lack of attention to detail.

Mel - not that I am aware.  In fact, I have another inspection this week with the co-worker who referred him to me.  I think he is working with his builder, but I have not heard since the inspection.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Another super post.  Can't believe how fruitful this house has been for your blogging.  Looks like this house would make me a bit dizzy.  And, since it's unlevel, it affects everything.  Makes it harder for interior, too -  flooring and cabinets/granite.  Not good at all.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

It has gone on, Debbie, because it has been instructive!  And Mr. Jay is still writing the report, days later... 

OK, maybe not exactly that.   ;)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Yep!  This one irks me the most because as you said, it just lacks forethought and professionalism.  Sadly I see it all the time, even on "custom" $1,000,000+ homes.

What does the future hold for this house?  Are the buyers proceeding forward?

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 9 years ago

What is it they say? Measure twice, cut once. Maybe they needed to calibrate their tape measures! 

Posted by Sam Fischer over 9 years ago

I don't know Justin.  I think they are willing to work with the builder.  It may take a lot of work!

Sam - how often do you see that little saying not obeyed!?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

I bet the builder just loved you.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 9 years ago

Haven't heard Reubs!  Haven't heard at all.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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