What I'm Seeing Now

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Lean To The Left, Lean To The Right, A Leaning Gazebo, Is Best Upright!

It's the old college try, putting up a gazebo, with its many elements.  But sometimes a college cheer applies when one of these gets put up:  Lean to the left, Lean to the right, A leaning gazebo, Is best upright!

A gazebo is a structure that requires a fair degree of professional carpentry experience.  There are a lot of angles!  Things need to be fitted properly, connected properly, supported properly and safe.  If those elements are not all done well, a gazebo can be a dangerous attraction!  I say attraction because I love them, and think they are attractive.  If I had one, it would be used!  I'd even wire it for Internet connection and spend some computer/TV time there!

I'm going to bet that this little unit was not built professionally.

There are many reasons I think this:

1.  It's leaning!  And that is probably because as things are connected one to the other, if one section is not attached properly it will have an effect on the other connected elements.  Whether the problem is gravity, wind or connection, the leaning exists!

2.  There is no guardrail to speak of.  That little strip in the middle of the screen is no protection against falling!  And a rail similar to what is on the deck should surround the gazebo so children and animals cannot get through the screen.

3.  There is a cantilever.  To the right, the cantilever is where a section of the floor is sticking out beyond the exterior beam.  A gazebo should have all its eight points supported and founded.  And in this case, the floor joists for this hut are 2x6"s!  Even though they are 16" apart, such a cantilever is NOT recommended.  Those are very undersized joists.

Not very large, this gazebo is only 8' from side to side.  That's an okay size, but usually they are a bit larger, like 12'.  That makes them more accommodating to a table and sitting chairs.  But this is a very nice little spot as behind the house there is a common area and bicycle path.  So it's a comfy, private space.  There's a classy  ceiling fan and a screen door, so the mosquitoes and heat won't get to you so much! 

It's the old college try!

But all in all, this is not a very safe place.  And once things lean, they usually continue to move in that direction.

My recommendation:  a gazebo is not a project an amateur should tackle, even with plans downloaded from the Internet!  And given my concerns, I am willing to bet there is no permit for this installation.  The county would not let those three concerns above slide in favor of the beauty of the spot!

 

 

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 30 commentsJay Markanich • September 25 2011 04:25AM

Comments

Dear Jay -
I love your sense of humor! Hope that I get to meet you one day!
Just imagine if they put one too many people out there!
Have a happy day -
Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) almost 7 years ago

My, aren't we up early today Lynn!  That little gazebo is a bit of a danger.  People don't know how much weight can be added to structures like that, especially when leaning.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

yes, this does not look like a good situation.  And, not sure which is worse - an amateur thinking he could do it or a professional who did it like an amateur.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 7 years ago

Hard to tell Debbie!  I hope it was the former, but today we just don't know!  For sure there was no permit.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

HERE, HERE!!!  Why do consumers believe that anyone can construct anything just because the parts come in a kit???

BTW, I hate cantilevers, in decks, in gazebos, in second levels of a house, in bay windows, in balconies, etc.  Hate them, hate them.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

But Lenn, many do!  As you know.  We see it all over.  I love gazeboes (sp?), and would love to have one on my deck.  I would do what I said - wire it up!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay....in my town, the building dept. would make them remove that entire structure and pull a permit to start again or just do without.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 7 years ago

You do find some interesting things don't you..

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) almost 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay. What's the prob man? There is a tower in Italy that has been leaning for centuries...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) almost 7 years ago

HA!  I wouldn't "wire it up".  I'd install small footers and put some sturdy posts under the dang overhang. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Can you buy dynamite in your state?

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 -) almost 7 years ago

Oh gee Jay...you are always so critical of architechture that has a little humor and personality....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 7 years ago

Good morning Jay. I think number 1 was the best clue. It's leaning. lol. Someone was pretty proud of that structure when it was first done. I don't think the average person thinks about the top heaviness and wind factors when building such a project. As always good call.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) almost 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Yikes...this photo brings one word to mind - Timber!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 7 years ago

Jay, is that the "new structural window screen" I have been hearing about? :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Jay,

That is not gazebo it is a leanto. Lean to something... the ground

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, no matter how you look it it....it is leaning. You are getting very funny with your post title...a talent for sure. I enjoy coming over to learn and to enjoy! It sounds like you think it needs to come down.... Permits...people...don't invest without those permits.... Have a great Sunday!

Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) almost 7 years ago

Barbara - this is unsafe and I am sure the local county would do the same thing here.

James - every day!  This is Mr. Jay's Neighborhood!

It has Michael, and I don't know why we don't mimic that more here!

Lenn - I would wire up my gazebo (pronounced gaze bow), not this one!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Never tried Ken!  But I bet there's something out there on the Internet people can mix up.

Sally and David - this one is all character and personality!

Randy - that speaks to attachment, and some of that you can't see!

Lisa - that is the word I used when I showed it to my clients when they arrived!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Shadow Over The Caspian Sea - that's it exactly!  And so few have heard about it.  I'm surprised we don't see it more.

Don - it's a'leanin'!  Maybe every time the wind blows it leans a little more!

Thanks Jeanean - I think it should be started again, properly, professionally and with a permit!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Crikey mate!  That is an accident waiting to happen.  I wonder how old that gazebo is...

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hard to tell Justin, but it really didn't look that old.  Maybe it's getting older really quick!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

How about some wall bracing?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 7 years ago

Reubs - a 45 degree brace anchored into the ground on the right side, slowly righting and then supporting the gaze bow plumb?  Works for me.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Wow.  What an expensive thing to have fooled around with.  That looks terrible and is unsafe and could have been a beautiful addition.

Posted by Debbie Walsh, Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036 (Shahar Management) almost 7 years ago

I love gazeboes Debra!  This one could have been nicer though...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

PUCC !

People UnClear On The Concept.

The concept here is 'bracing'. Straighten the frame, incorporate the bracing in the guardrail design. Angular compression brace framing under the cantilevering to point load transfer the columns, this is work but the understructure can be corrected. 

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 7 years ago

Robert - all around lack of undersupport and plumb!  Just a bad job, probably unprofessional.  I recommend a hand grenade.

How you been?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Yes, Blowing it up and starting new might be less work.

I've been busy, with little time to be on AR. That's why I'm reading and commenting on peoples blogs all at the same time.

It's tax season for me and I've also been learning an electronic version of my reporting system.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 7 years ago

Yummie Robert.  Yikes, sorry to interrupt!  Get back to work.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

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