What I'm Seeing Now

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Coming Out Of The Closet

Closets in new construction are sometimes very large, particularly the master bedroom closet.  In this case the closet is in the shape of a capital H, and large enough for a sizable slumber party.

That means it's going to hold lots of stuff!

That being the case, it is important that the racks are strong.  Because?  Because gravity works, every time.

So it's important that they are installed properly.

You want the racks to be level so they can be used for storage.

And each of the support arms should be screwed into a stud. 

When the support arms are supported by Molly Bolts (which test at 170 pounds) they often come loose as they are tightened too much, damaging the drywall and becoming and weak at the support point. 

While there are many different kinds, I consider Molly bolts to be the scourge of mankind.  But that is just me.  They are used very often by builders, and sometimes in the wrong places!

In this closet the support arms were put in the wrong places.

One was already coming loose.

Clothing is very heavy.  The demands on racks and support usually gets heavier!

And gravity works, every time.

If this support arm is loose now, what will happen over time?

And why is it loose?

Do you see the little notch in the top where it attaches to the front rod?  The narrow support rod extending from back to front is supposed to slide into that notch.  That way there will be no slippage.

My client asked if the support arms  could simply just be moved over an inch to capture that small rod into the notch. 

The answer?  Sure!  But the support arm will not only be out of alignment, it will be weaker since it won't be straight.  The rack would have to move, if it has room.  Remember, clothing is very heavy, and typically heavier over time and gravity works, every time.  Then she said something interesting.  "Well, if they can't move the racks to make it look good, those racks are COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET."

My recommendation:  Many racks diverged in a closet and I, I saw the ones less supported by, and that has made all the difference.  It's the little things on a new construction inspection that can make all the difference.  Pay attention!

 

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 72 commentsJay Markanich • February 25 2011 06:04AM

Comments

HA!  When I see a home with an enormous closet all I can think, and often say, is "Geez.  I'd have had a child using that for a bedroom.

With 5 children, bedroom space was always at a premium.  Large closet?  What a luxury.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

This closet was huge Lenn.  Even still, I would not be allowed in there...

I'd still have to use the bedroom closet down the hall.

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

Jay, The gravity works thing is something I learned the hard way.  Another one is making sure there are enough support arms for the rod underneath the shelf.  Our system used plastic supports and when one fractured, so did the next.  Added a couple more during the repair process to better support/spread the load.  Like you said, clothes ARE heavy, and gravity works :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 8 years ago

Bliz - those little plastic drywall anchors are woefully insufficient to support a clothing rack!  And I see builders use them all the time as well!  You have to think long run.  You also want stuff to be straight!

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

Good morning Jay;  you are like Sherlock Homes the great detective.

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 8 years ago

Shelf is only as strong as it's bracket and the bracket is only as strong as it's anchor point. The best time to figure this out is BEFORE your best china lays broken on the floor. You always have great posts Jay.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 8 years ago

Shelving, shelving on the wall,

how much weight can you take

before you fall...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Good Morning Jay, large closets are an excellent selling point.  The builder is better off leaving the closet bare for the decorator to design.

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay - Guys are not usually allowed in the large walk-in closets.  Women's domain only:)

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 8 years ago

Jay, you have me trained and as I said before nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the lack of common sense with some of the folks involved in construction.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) over 8 years ago

Ken - details, details, you must look at the details!

Thanks Randy.  Support, weight transferrence, location - all of that - essential!

Michael - you can take weight until gravity decides there is a tipping point!  Gravity works, every time.

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

How many more blogs did my sweet purchaser's new home inspire Jay?   FYI, readers, the builder is fixing this mess!!  :)

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) over 8 years ago

Dan - I think they are too.  In this case she might just change out the closets for more stuff, but I don't know.

Ma Conrad - that sure is true in my house!

Bob - it is ignorance really.  Someone was asked to install the closets and does not know how.

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

Excellent point about screwing things in too tight.  Love your last line or two. Very clever.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 8 years ago

Til I'm done with the fun, Miss C!

Good news about the builder!  I heard from you that the walk through went fine.  It's funny how a supervisor can be on site for 120 days and I go in and in a couple of hours come out with a mess of mess.  That second inspection was very revealing.

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

That happens so often Debbie.  And when it does it is a flaw, truly said.  The last lines?  You mean since it's winter there's frost outside?

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

I love me some Robert Frost poetry!  And to think it could be inspired by a closet!  You are truly amazing!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 8 years ago

Jay ~  This is one of my pet peeves, and here's the problem -- once these break down, they're almost NEVER replaced/repaired properly.  Otta be a law!  Oh, there is:  Jay's Rules & REgulations.

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 8 years ago

Jay, gravity does work every time and Molly bolts are by no doubt the scourge of mankind.

When I was around 12 I used Molly bolts to set up some shelves to display my brand new set of Encyclopedia Britannica. I was the only kid in my school to actually own such a set and was very proud of them. Well I put these shelves up all by myself using Molly bolts to secure them through the plaster walls and lath.

So here I am sitting on the couch under my new accomplishment when all of a sudden the top shelve comes off the wall, onto the next shelve, then the next and the next, finally landing on my head. Luckily the books were not damaged in the fall as that would have added insult to injury.

Never again did I ever use a Molly bolt and will not to this date. 

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 8 years ago

Jay - I agree on Molly bolts, and the "tap-in" anchors supplied by the closet rod manufacturers are equally bad.  However, an understanding of gravity will help insure that closet shelving remains attached to the wall, regardless of the amount of clothing it holds.  I used to install shelving in my homes--didn't like the way the "professionals" did it, nor their fees--and never had a rod collapse. 

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

Well at least they weren't put in with drywall screws. Were they?

What goes up wrong must come down eventually

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 8 years ago

Jay, Talk about a heavy subject!

'Molly bolts', you might call them that, but the ones you show are actually butterfly toggle bolts and they do suffer from the limitations you describe.

I would recommend that wood blocking be placed in the walls before gyproc is installed. Then you won't have these issues. Of course that presupposes that the information is available to the framers (carpenters) at the right time. (Or put a full 1/2" layer of plywood on all the closet walls prior to gyprocing.)

Failing that you could use 'Molly Screws'. Properly installed they are twice as load bearing and you can back out the bolts to remove shelving for painting, etc. without loosing the interior parts of the toggles that fall to the bottom of the wall cavity.

I've got a photo for you but for some reason I can't up load it today.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 8 years ago

Jay, I often see this type of closet organizer installed as a retro-fit by do-it-yourselfers... So many times I see them installed incorrectly.  If you want to do it yourself, read the instructions first...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

So dry wall isn't that strong even when you put those big, springy bolt thingies inside the wall? Wow, who knew! ;)

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

Jay, I just read my mom’s comment to your post and all I can say is I learn something new on your blog every time. 22 years and I has never heard this story before – go figure.

Posted by Johnathan R. Therriault, Inspecting the Pocono's, one house at a time. (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team ) over 8 years ago

Regarding this topic, Mr Charles and I discussed doing that a couple years ago.

Nutsy

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

Great info...thanks for the tips !!

Posted by Cory Barbee, Broker (760) 563-4022 over 8 years ago

I have had those shelves come crashing down in the middle of the night before- not fun!

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 8 years ago

Seems to me that if you have a closet that big your home should be nice enough to warrant an upgrade from wire shelving!

Posted by John Ryckeley (The Platinum Group RE/MAX Around Atlanta) over 8 years ago

You gotta love an inspector who can paraphrase Robert Frost in his report!!

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 8 years ago

Jay, 

That is a good detail job.  Probably fairly low end closet racks for a large master closet.  (We see a lot of homes sold that give a closet allowance, so folks can put in a nicer system.) 

As a property manager, I will completely agree, GRAVITY will take those shelves down and they'll have to be done right to hold the cloths.  Been there, had them fixed.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

I can't wait for the day that I will have to worry about gravity in my closet!!! Oh, to have that problem!  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Tracy McPeek over 8 years ago

I always appreciate tips like this, keeps me educated on things I didn't know I should know.

Posted by Danny Dietl, Buy, Sell, Lease - iMetroProperty.com (www.dannyrealestate.com) over 8 years ago

Jay, those mollies certainly have limited uses and certainly not for hanging shelfs with.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

Very good Jay and I think I got dizzy with the shelves pictures. Nothing bad like an unlevel one or one that is supported in the wall properly.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay, I too learn something new every time I visit your posts.  I would never have thought to even check for this.  It pays to have a GOOD inspector watching your back!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Jay, very nice Frost reference at the end.  And I not only hate toggle bolts, but those whole metal closet racks!  In most new houses I've been in, those things aren't still in the wall and we're doing some repair or replacement.  I hate those things!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 8 years ago

I had a similar closet setup that failed at about 3 am.  All of the hangers fell off on to the hardwood floor, and scared the sh!t out of me, my wife, and our dog.  I just remember my wife trying to console our dog for the next 15 minutes.  That was a bad way to wake up.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Kathryn - Robert Frost?  Is he any relation to Jack Frost?

Tish - it is difficult to repair things when these break down, you are right!

Sue - you and Fig, um, Isaac Newton!  What did you think of gravity after that?  Sounds like you had to consider the gravity of using those bolts...

Nor I John.  I completely reconfigured my wife's closet (at which I am barred from even looking) and my Boy Scout troop could sleep on the racks.

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

Don - nope!  Wouldn't that have been a stitch for a follow up post!

Robert - this is our same, and favorite, new home and no builder will put anything behind the drywall to firm it up!  And yes, those pictured are toggles, but here we use Molly generically, like your gyproc!  Nobody noticed on my little picture that the butterfly portion was screwed on wrong!

Chris - one would think!  But how many men read instructions?

Jim - who knew for sure!  I was going to use them to hang my hammock on the basement wall, because they each test at 170 pounds, but maybe I should reconsider?

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

Johnathan - there are probably a hundred more when that one came from!

Doing what Nutsy?  Taking out Molly Bolt?  I hear she gets really scrunched up when put in a tight spot.

You are very welcome, San Diego!

Kristi - timing that right it would make an excellent alarm clock.  How could you go back to sleep?

 

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

John - yeah, but no builder will do it, unless paid 3 times what it would cost to have it done later!

Alan - Robert Frost, Robert Frost.  Sounds familiar.  Relation to Jack?

Michelle - way low end.  Maybe she will have them out of the closet soon anyway.

Tracy - work toward the day!  And good luck!  I hope you realize your dream.

 

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

Which further reinforces the reason that we need home inspections in any type of home!  New construction/existing homes, and even remodel projects.  Can't always assume that the contractors are doing things properly. 

Posted by Kieno Simeon Your South Riding Real Estate Consultant (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Enough tips, Danny, and pretty soon you have a compendium!

Charlie - one wonders what exactly they are good for...

Gary - I see it all I think, and then, the next day, boom!  Something new!

Evelyn - glad you can enjoy it enough to learn!  We inspectors are cheap at twice the price!

 

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

People love huge closets. But the ones that do usually don't like this type of rack closet. Cutomized for this size is the best.

Posted by Dawn Crawley, Find Pinehurst Homes (Dawn Crawley Realty) over 8 years ago

Jeremy - we have those in our kitchen pantry.  They are very strong, but stuff falls over!

Wow Reubs!  What a startle!  And our dog would have run to the basement and hidden somewhere until we found her and coaxed her out.

Kieno - I have been doing new construction inspections for about 12 years and they are always interesting!

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

I agree Dawn and I expect that is in the future for this closet!

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

Thanks for another great tip.  I love using the heavier stainless steel rods.  They are strong and they look gorgeous!

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 8 years ago

Jay...

You are so right. Gravity will always prevail, and if you are going to use manufactured shelving, it is very important that they are properly supported.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay, ah yes!  Gravity!  It's a law!  And I call those oversized closets New York bedrooms!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Sharon - I agree with all that!  Strong is good!

Richard - why put it up if it's coming down in a month?

Pat - this closet WAS a New York bedroom!  It was huge!

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

Jay, that is something I would have not thought of checking. I would assume the builder would place those supports on the studs and not have to worry about molly bolts.

Posted by Don Wixom, "Looking out for your next move..."tm (RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID) over 8 years ago

Jay, it is all about the job they have to do---there would certainly be some jobs they could do---and then too depending on what kind of substrate they are in.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

People are so into closet space these days.   But it uses up so much floor space that it can detract unless there is a ton of square footage.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) over 8 years ago

Jay:

Tanks for the info.  I have learned so much on ActiveRain. 

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

Thanks for the informative post.

Cheers from Lake Tahoe,

~Grace Yee

Posted by Brandon & Grace Yee, Lake Tahoe Real Estate (Chase International) over 8 years ago

Jay, great eye, how many times has this gone unnoticed. There's the cost of the inspection a couple of times over.

Posted by David O'Doherty, Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC (Raleigh Realty Inc) over 8 years ago

Don - one would assume such, but we know what happens when we assume...

Charlie - depending on one thing to do another often involves ignorance of what the material is intended to do!  If, for example, you are going to lash a tail from one air plane onto the front end of another, well, you had better use the right strapping!  There can be no ignorance there!

Ruthmarie - trust me, there was enough square footage in this house.  This master bedroom was larger in square footage than the house I grew up in.

Evelyn - that is one of the great things about AR, isn't it?

 

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

Thank you Grace.  And stop by again!

David - and like some people have commented here, sometimes you find out in the middle of the night!

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

When we built our house...the master suite has a large walk in closet...I remember my Dad's sage words of advice to David..."Don't make the closet that big, she'll think she has to fill it up !"  And the rest is history...of course she did !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

Yes, Sally, I know...  And is David allowed even a small portion?  I am not, so if he is the universe is totally out of whack.

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

Jay, the shelving sure looks good, but can it hold the weight. I thought molly bolts were the best invention since sliced bread. lol

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

That, Michael, is assuming that sliced bread is the best invention!

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

Big closets are a huge selling point in active adult communities, especially where the homes do not come with or do not offer basements. It's easy to take shortcuts with closet installation so you really have to double check this kind of thing.

Posted by Bill Ness, 55Places.com, Active Adult Community Guide (55Places.com) over 8 years ago

Big closets are great however 80's homes in Dallas area have small closets so most people add extra wardrobes to their bedrooms.

 

Posted by Pelin Guzel (Dallas Homes For Sale - Plano Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Bill - and I do check!  New construction must be looked at carefully.

Pelin - I see wardrobes in bedrooms also!

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

Mr Jay,

I am not so dumb as to have neglected to notice that you had referenced my tape selections in the fields of aviation. I wish to reiterate that the tape held up fines, until I had an accidental crash near my backyard. It did as intended. The tape got me home when an individual I had been counting on for a financial bailout, who shalls go unnamed, was a big flop. The key is preparadnesses.

Nutsy

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

You fogged me with this one Nutsy!  Tape selections in aviation?  Can you explain?

And next time, don't end up in the Third World where they don't understand refrigeration and your clams will stay healthy!

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

Mr Jay,

You are being a weasel again. You had stated that you did not approve of the way I had taped this aircraft together when I made my heroic return from Mexico. You inusulated me yet again in a veiled manner, now you are acting as if your aging brain forgot not only to send me my bailout but, also, that you had implied that taping the different tale on the plain was a bad idea.

Nutsy

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

Oh! I get it now!  So, Nutsy,

1.  You need your own avatar and to stop using my friend Steve's.
2.  Taped?  Those ends were LASHED together by Eagle Scouts, including Eaglet.  Eaglet is famous for his clove hitches, which can be seen at both sides of the lashing example to the right.  Tape cannot hold at a high altitude.
3.  The tail of the plane we left you was adorned with my famous logo - The Eagle Has Landed. 
4.  You returned from Guatemala, not Mexico.

Have you been eating hemlock again, thinking it was old carrots?  That will have severe effects on the brain.  Are the white of your eyes red?  Are your leg joints swollen?  Those are a couple of symptoms of hemlock poisoning.  Please let me know.

I am concerned.

 

Hemlock ----------------------->

 

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

Mr Jay,

I left Guatamala but the plane was outside Oaxaca so, technically, I flewed from Mexico to Washington when the tail came looser and I did that nose dive into that wood shack. I am not allowed to get my owned avatar until I am 21.

Nutsy

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

Valerie - clothing is very, very heavy.  Good racks are essential.  Glad to alert you!

Nutsy - Guatemala, we saw you take off!  And the tail looks intact there - it's the wings you seemed to knock off.  I will have to check that avatar rule.

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

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