What I'm Seeing Now


New Construction Porch Roof - Shimmed And Glued. And The Beat Goes On

I'm not sure why I continue to see this kind of work, the new construction front porch roof - shimmed and glued.  And the beat goes on.

Certainly I am at the point of wondering if this is not considered the "way to do it now," and it's how an architect or builder would spec and build their own houses.

Rather than cutting the supporting studs properly, the outside front porch beams needed to be supported with a shim.  Shims are not long-term support.  Cut the stud supports at the proper height!

Note the special stabilizing chunks of wood on each side.  That will strengthen it!  And maybe a little puff of poly foam to finish it off.  You note the sarcasm.

And on the inside, there is not one single attachment to the house - not one nail or screw, no bolt or strap - except poly foam.  The front porch beams are literally glued to the house!


My eighth grade shop teacher, Mr. Brautigam, would not only have given me a D for this work, indoors and out (because I was 14 and NOT a professional, so the D would be credit for trying and giving it my best shot), but right now he is probably turning over in his grave.  He had a way of smiling and shaking his head to tell me to redo something.  He is shaking more than his head at this stuff!  And probably not smiling!

Gosh, they could have at least thrown in a drywall screw or two, and some duct tape...

My recommendation:  while the builders tell people they don't "need" a home inspection as unnecessary, it is obvious that all new construction does.  But frankly, when work like this is so routine nowadays, I wonder if they even know what to do about it.  My optimism is fading.  Glued, not screwed.  Oh boy!




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 39 commentsJay Markanich • February 25 2013 03:18AM


Jay, C'mon, that foamy stuff has superhuman powers and won't degrade over the next 50 years.  Yep, that sucker is secured tight!   Seriously, Not a SINGLE true form of attachment to the house?  They better hope the DC area doesn't get another one of those earth shaking thingies....

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

Earth shaking thingies?  Really, BLiz?  Is this a scientific term? 

Recently had a builder tell me I was wasting my client's money by suggesting a home inspection.  Want to know what that "waste of money" found?  Lets just say it ended up saving them a small fortune down the road.

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

Well, Bliz, as you know that never happens here, or hurricanes.

Tish - that is a bona fide home inspector term.  Believe me...  I think builders are shocked with some of the information home inspectors provide them about their homes.



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

Morning Jay I was told by that certain person he was thinking of using super glue or duct tape but got voted out in favor of the foam.  :~)

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 8 years ago

Pretty on the outside just doesn't get it....and some of this is less than attractive...and not "constructive"

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

Could be James.  We all know how much stronger foam is.

The outside is just as much of a disaster as the inside S&D!  And, not constructive, as you well say!

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

That is incrediable.  But not surprizing.  So the budget did not cover the cost of screws and nails.

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

Jay, I thought poly foam was an insulator and not glue. I hope this isn't a trend in new construction.

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

Everyone with a tool belt and a hammer thinks they're a contractor and a builder these days.  It's actually kind of scary!

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

Welcome to the "NEW NORM" in home building. The builders seem to be taking every cut they can when building. And the local inspectors are passing everything in sight. WHY?

I'm at a loss for words when it comes to the building officials passing what is obviously wrong.

Have a great day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 8 years ago

 "Glued, not screwed" may be stated a little to early. 

The owner will get "screwed" in the end.  I hope no one gets offended,

Thanks for the post!!!

Posted by Matt Keough, New Castle County, DE, Matt Keough Agent New Castle County Delaware (Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Sounds like a huge liability issue for the future.  Wow, how could any builder allow this?  Terrible.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) almost 8 years ago

The subject matter bears repeating and observation....Subs need to be supervised and inspections must be consistent and expected during the process...good post here

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 8 years ago

You know, the more you see something the more it becomes "normal". Are they importing workers from third world countries now? You woulda got a "D" for that? Hey... that's passing... I'll take it!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 8 years ago

Cutting the support posts to the correct height would require proper measuring and planning. That is a little to hard! (Note the sarcasm)

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) almost 8 years ago


Are you saying that this house had already passed city/county frame inspection? If it did, the problem in your area is NOT with the builders.

Wouldn't fly here, and our homes are one-fourth the price.

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

Unbelievable! Well, really it is believable, sad to say. ALL homes need an inspection whether they are new construction or not. I'm shaking my head right along with Mr. Brautigam.

Posted by Randy Bocook, Selling Coastal Georgia (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) almost 8 years ago

Holy Cow!  Just when you thought you'd seen it all, something else comes along.  It really amazes me.  Doesn't anybody on the framing crew understand when they're putting people's health and safety at risk?  

Posted by Tom Jansson, Chicago Area Home Inspector - InterNACHI Certified (Acuity Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

Someone forgot to measure twice I guess. I especially like the blocking on the sides. You have to give the builder some credit for air sealing. 

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) almost 8 years ago

Well, I'm impressed!  I had no idea anyone but my old neighbor knew how to build like that.  I'll bet they're related.

Posted by Monica Hess, Kentucky's Feng Shui Master (Feng Shui This Kentucky) almost 8 years ago

Jay, It really is too bad because there are some good builders out there. But all too often we see sub-par craftsmanship.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay - this is truly scary what builders are putting into the market. I guess they just don't build houses like they use to...

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) almost 8 years ago

Wow, this is scary!!!!  That is why I never trust a builder who doesn't want you looking at the framed house. 

Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Jay --  are you sure they didn't put the nails into the boards before they covered them with the insulating foam?  (not likely, I am sure.)

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 8 years ago

Stan - not at this house!  A couple of lags can't cost that much, can they?

Right Mike, it is not glue!  And not for anything but sealant.

Marc - that appears to be the new trend now.  At least they all have each other!

Clint - if this is the new normal we are all finished!  There are too many new normals now that look to finish us!

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

Matt - sometimes you get the elevator and sometimes you get the shaft!

Paula - I am always shocked by this sort of thing, although you would think by now that I would not be.

Richie - that is why the supervisor is supposed to be present, on site, every day.

Fred - I call it 7-11 construction and yes.  And you never give a 14 year old a failing grade when trying to learn in shop class, at least when he gives his best effort!

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

Than - sarcasm?  There was sarcasm?

Richard - I did not see any failure stickers, so the answer must be yes.  The electrical inspector was there when we were and he passed it - no stickers.  I found two electrical things.

Randy - he was a good guy.  And together you look like bobble heads on the dash board.

Tom - the day you and I see it all will never arrive!  Do they understand that,you ask?  Um.....


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

Rob - the cutest blocking in town!

Monica - they may be!  Or both related to Uncle Bob.

Don - this was sub par.  I have done many inspections in this neighborhood and the supervisor actually likes me despite my smashing stuff on my inspections!  I wonder how long that will continue!

S&L - they don't, in many ways good and many ways bad.

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

Kim - they are making it harder and harder to do inspections.  They keep adding layers of criteria the inspector needs to meet.

Steven - there are gaps on both sides.  What would they be nailed into?  Toe nailed downward?  Not sufficient, if it is there.

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

Jay - Those poly foam blobs remind me of giant globs of bubble gum!  They look horrible!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) almost 8 years ago

Pretty much Myrl!  I don't think they chew for very long though...

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

I think that's that new Lincoln log style of building isn't it, Jay.  As long as nothing bumps into it, it's good.  I don't see a lot of that, but I've seen plenty of other crazy construction kerfuffles.  Oy!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 8 years ago

Got a little play side to side Mike?  That makes it better able to withstand earthquakes?  I guess!

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

While the framing wasn't nailed, the buyer would have been screwed if not for you.

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) almost 8 years ago

As always this is very informative. It is very very difficult, if not imposssible, to get a builder to agree to inspection.. and even if the do, then it is difficult to negotiate how any dispute will be resolved.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 8 years ago
Foam is becoming the new duct tape. They'll soon be doing TV series on it and writing cute little 'How To' books. Too bad mice an insects can eat their way right through it.
Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 8 years ago

Is it any wonder builders are getting sued frequently. Forgive my ignorance, but isn't that a "structural problem"?

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) almost 8 years ago
I think some builders think that they can get away with doing cheap work. Those are the people who don't think long term or take pride of their work or creation.
Posted by Wika Hutchinson, Broker, CRIS, SFR, CDPE almost 8 years ago

Rafi - this was the same house as the interesting door installation.  There were more things yet!

Joan - I am not sure why this would be a dispute, but certainly the builder would want to bring this into compliance with "normal" carpentry.  You frighten me by making me wonder if this becomes a dispute!    ;>)

Robert - I have told people that for years, especially when they use it to "seal" where the AC lines enter the house.  Mouse highway.

Pamela - if it isn't, it surely is one in embryo.  And embryoes grow up to become what they are!

Wika - I am going to doubt that this was written as an architectural spec, but worry that it might be the "regular" way of doing things now.

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

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