Some roof designs are designed for heavy loads, not only because of the style of the roof, but its size. One thing you don't want to see is a cracked roof truss.
This is a hip roof, with two large gable penetrations. This creates a lot of valleys on the roof. So many valleys sets up a design for long supports.
The long truss in the center of the photo to the right is one of four in the house.
It holds a lot of weight. There are roof sections from both sides tied into it, with collar ties everywhere (the horizontal members) that help stabilize the sections and keep the roof from lifting upward with heat.
Because these long trusses carry so much load, where they anchor to the house structural support is very important.
Surprisingly this truss rests on a corner.
They notched out the end so it fitted around the corner at a lower point and would align with the level of the roof sheath and other rafters.
But less than half of the truss actually rested on the support!
It cracked! This arrangement was too little support!
Looking into the crack, this did not happen yesterday. The house is 14 years old and I am thinking it happened not long after construction!
Emailing all this info to a structural engineer friend, he said it needs to be addressed, but it has been there a while so shoring up is probably all that can be done at this point.
THE TRUSS IS LIKELY TO CRACK MORE.
The owner has been there from day one. The new owner would like to feel comfortable.
And my job is done.
There were some fun emails last night between the buyer (retired fighter pilot) and engineer (rugby coach) because the buyer went to Clemson and the engineer to VA Tech. They had some fun together last night, including me in on their antics.
BUT THE PROBLEM NEEDS TO BE SOLVED AND IT WILL!
My recommendation: this house design created a large attic space where everything was easily visible. Some attics aren't so accommodating. When it isn't dangerous or too difficult, the attic needs to be investigated as completely as possible to see what can be seen. And take a good flashlight with you...
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560