What I'm Seeing Now

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Magical Load-Bearing Glass Doors

Every now and then I see what some "contractor" thinks are magical load-bearing glass doors.

How can that be, you ask?

Well, it can't.  Just because the NEW WAVE of contractors to flood the repair market think doors are magically load bearing, they are not.

Removing walls and structure to "open up" a room is very popular these days!  But structural rules have to be met. 

Mother Nature is the cruelest and most impudent enforcer of her own codes than any government or agency.

My post yesterday inspired this post today.  We'll see what happens over there.

Well I can show you what happened here.

The photo is taken from the far wall in a recently finished porch.

The former deck was converted into a new room, complete with heating and air conditioning, and insulation in the ceiling, walls and floor.

It was very pretty as far as rooms go, with a full and wonderful glass view of the woods behind the house.

The room is not very old!

The former sliding glass doors which opened to the deck were replaced with larger doors, with a transom, that span the entire opening.

The problem here is that there is a bedroom above that wall, and a roof above that.

This span, from side to side, is 14' wide.

As soon as I walked into the room to set my things down I noticed the problem.

Can you see it?

I demonstrated the VERY BIG problem to my clients by trying to slide those doors closed.  They would not move.  Thus begun the home inspection.

Can you see the sag in the very center of the door?  It is about 1" of a sag.

No header was placed over that 14' span.  Given the roof height and structure there is NO room for a header!  Doors alone cannot hold that load, never mind with a transom!

THIS SAGGING IS JUST GETTING STARTED!  IT WILL CONTINUE.  GRAVITY WORKS EVERY TIME.  EVENTUALLY THE GLASS WILL CRACK AND BREAK, FOLLOWED BY A CATASTROPHIC COLLAPSE.  THIS WAS NOT THOUGHT OUT PROFESSIONALLY.

There is only one thing that can be done at this point.  The sellers, who obviously know the doors do not close, will not be interested in its repair as this will be a huge expense, requiring a structural-engineering plan and a complete re-do.  The buyers will not want to inherit what they know is a problem to come.

So, what to do?

My recommendation:  it is not likely that buyers will notice something like this on their own.  Their google eyes only saw the beautiful room, and it is beautiful!  The experienced home inspector noticed this within seconds of entering the kitchen.  THAT is why a home inspection is so very necessary.  Alright, it may not be the only reason, but experience is the meat and potatoes of why you employed him!  And the rest you get along with that experience?  Gravy!

 

 

 

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 23 commentsJay Markanich • September 02 2013 04:20AM

Comments

Having an eye to identifying a future problem and knowing the force of gravity...a span without support is why Jay is the man to call for all things inspection...not to be confused with Billy Jay ...who might well overlook  such an issue.

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

I think I would have noticed that sag.  But you are right many agents and buyers wouldn't have noticed it.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 7 years ago

Jay, not having a home inspection is something I never, ever recommend. I certainly notice things in a home that a buyer might not notice, but not on the scale needed. Sometimes I don't understand what is going on, I might not even see it. A professionally done home inspection is very, very necessary to protect a buyer from hidden and not so hidden issues.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

S&D - I think Billy might have an infomercial remedy!

Cindy - you are probably right!  But those buyers surely did not!  They might have had they tried the doors during their first walk through!

Andrea - experienced agents might have seen this, or asked for the permit that finished the room.  A permit would have required the submission of a plan, which would have included a header.

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

Jay, was this permitted?  And if it was, was it signed off?  Great information.  Have a great Labor Day.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 7 years ago

Certainly not Gabe.  I'm getting new tires on the car today!  Woohoo!

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

It would seem to me the transom should have been a beam. Not really rocket science unless you're a new wave contractor. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

Fix it and fix it now. remove the jealousy windows and replace the transom with a real header beam. Then close it all back up. Problem solved.

"But the windows are really neat looking said the buyer".

Have a great Holiday 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) over 7 years ago

I think this would not have happened if the original work had done with a permit, or am I wrong, Jay?

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) over 7 years ago

Jay, It's scary to think what will happen to this house if nothing is done! "Catastrophic collapse" is the right phrase. Surely the homeowners were aware that something wasn't right. Don't you think??

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 7 years ago

Jim - yep!  But the way the wall is constructed now it would be hard to get a the beam support at the ends.  There must be a load-bearing point under the floor!

In this case it will be a bit more difficult than that Clint.  On the sides, and in the room underneath.  But I don't think it will be my client's problem!

You are right Sylvia.  Plans would have demonstrated proper everything, under, over and on the sides and then approved.

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

Tom - I am sure the homeowners know the doors don't close and probably realize why!

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

Hi Jay.... this is what results when a permit is not pulled for the work to be done.... what ashame...how can a contractor construct ANY opening without a header...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) over 7 years ago

Jay, they need those new fangled anti-gravity doors. Funny I just had a roof were they removed two support post, I guess they are optional ;)

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

Jay -- and if one were to somehow get the doors closed, they wouldn't open back up again, with that much weight on top of them.  Even if there is folder of all the permits which were pulled, it is still best to get a home inspector involved.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 7 years ago

Don't know Barbara!  But I think it's a big deal!

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

Don - "open concept!", right?  That's the new craze!  But never mind the support.  Old school.

They don't budge hardly Steven.  I'm CERTAIN the sellers knew that!

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

Just add a lally column right there in the middle of the doorway and paint it white.  Good as new ;)

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Boom Josh!  Done and done!

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

Hi jay,

So the buyer is going to walk on this home? Many homes should be walked on just to show the sellers these items need to be taken care of no matter if the sellers think so or not.

Have a good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

I think so Clint.  There were many things found during the inspection, but this was the biggest.

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

Jay, those open floor plans are very popular, but homeowners would not be too excited if the roof caved in.   Great post.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 7 years ago

Thanks Joan.  And that is the bottom line!

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

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