What I'm Seeing Now

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The Nail Gun

The nail gun.

I see this all the time on new construction.

I see it often on old construction, from under a floor.

And that is nails and brads, sometimes 30 or more, that were shot through wall cladding or sub-floor material that completely missed the intended anchor stud or joist.

Does that mean the cladding or sub-floor is loosely held in place?

YES!

And when many studs in a row are missed, or many floor joists in a row are missed, things can knock, warp, squeek or otherwise remain improperly attached.

Nail guns are good!  They can be set to insert a nail or brad to just the right depth.  They improve productivity as things can get nailed much more quickly.  When a nail gun is on the scene more nails will actually be used to attach things then when nailed manually.

However, when I was a kid and nailing something, I KNEW when I hit the stud or the floor joist.  When I missed I simply moved over 1/2" and tried again.  Then I removed the old nail, which was nailed into nothing.

These days, though, you cannot so easily feel if you hit the stud or joist!  And the problem above results.  So you have to pay especial attention!  Carpenters and assistants should be cognizant of when studs and joists are hit or missed.  Such cognizance represents the difference between a good or not-so-good job!

My recommendation:  on new construction look to see what has been nailed improperly.  My client on this site mentioned it to the supervisor who was amenable to having the capenter return to add more brads.  This was not the only stud!  There were many!  Perhaps the return call will help this carpenter be more aware next time. 

 

 

 

 

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 63 commentsJay Markanich • October 03 2013 03:53AM

Comments

Trust the builder but confirm and that sir is your job .  I've been up for a couple of hours I think it's about time for a nap before I go to work. 

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

The builder is only as good as the supervisor's attention James, if he pays attention at all.

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

Good morning Jay,

Missing the mark like Rex Morgan's comic strip this week.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 7 years ago

Yes, that is sloppy work.  You would think that they could feel and hear the difference.  Good catch.  The creaking can be really annoying.  I do have a number of customers complaining about this and it's usually do to the plywood not being securely attached.  We will often add more screws to help reduce this, but it should have been done right the first time.

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

When I use my nail gun I can tell when the nail is set.  I have never used a brad gun Debbie, so I am not sure if you can tell.  But still, they should at least check.  The time to fix the squeek is between carpeting!

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

Hi Jay,

The sad part is this decking comes with the lines to follow already on the sheet. but if they don't build the structure correctly then the lines could be off. Kinda like the operator of the nail gun.

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 7 years ago
"Perhaps the return call will help this carpenter be more aware next time."
 
What's that old saying?  From your lips to God's ears!!!

I maintain that this is not an operator problem.  This is a supervisory problem.
Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Right-o Clint.  But if it is not lined an experienced carpenter knows how to find the stud, even through the sheathing.

I said that in the second comment Lenn.  I agree!

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

Jay, one would think the carpenter would be checking to make sure, or that the builder would be there to supervise and make sure their end product is a good one. Sadly it is not so. 

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

Smooch Andrea.  That is what I said to James in #2 and Lenn just before you!  This is definitely a supervisory problem! 

Remember the builder's contention:  there are a million inspections!  You don't need a private inspection!

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

Jay, A good friend of mine says an employee will not do as you expect, only what you will inspect.  Seems like that may be the case here.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

That is QUITE the case when dealing with new construction Evelyn, which is why you should never buy the builder's claim that a private inspection is not needed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago
Jay, I've used pneumatic systems for over 40 years, including brads, and just as you said, you can definitely feel the difference. This is either laziness or inexperience. Either way it's inexcusable. It's really no different with conventional nails. I've seen similar behavior there too. I had to retail the sheathing in my present home in a large number of areas because a lot of nails never hit a joist.
Posted by Bill and MaryAnn Wagner, Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate (Wagner Real Estate Group) almost 7 years ago

I was at an inspection that the seller had installed hardwood flooring that was shifting. After some investigating it was discovered that the nailer had run out of cleats and they just kept nailing row after row. Kind of like guns in the old cowboy movies. They always had an endless supply of bulletts.  

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) almost 7 years ago

Doubt if the return visit will make the "carpenter" and I use that term loosely... more aware next time. he probably went right back doing what he was doing before he got the call.... missing studs! That building superintendant should get thirty lashes with a wet noodle! Whackarini!! (perfect Italian)

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 7 years ago

I would go with inexperience Bill.  Or a careless attitude.  The lack'o Golden Rule.

That's classic Scott, and typical of 7-11 Construction.  They drive by the 7-11, "I need four carpenters today!"  "Oh, I carpenter!  I carpenter!"

Is that like linguini Fred?  And is that perfect Italian?  (I don't speak it...).

Oh, and yes he should.  "I supervisor!  I supervisor!"

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

Jay, it looks like every nail miss s perfectly aligned. My guess is the sheet is off which might make every one of them off.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 7 years ago

And on many studs along just that wall Mike.  And other walls!

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

Excellent new construction tip, I will pass this on.

Posted by Vanessa Saunders, From Manhattan to the Catskills of New York (Global Property Systems Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

It is certainly a lot easier to "feel" whether the nail is missing things, or whether the sheathing is snugged up tight, if nailing is done by hand.

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

I learned a long time ago when I dabbled in new construction that paying good money from the top down was very important. That sets the performance for everyone else..The opposite is true too. Good post

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 7 years ago

Pass on Vanessa!

For sure Charlie.  I remember those days well.

The opposite is always true Richie. 

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

Get that dude a gun with a stud finder

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

That's not bad Joshua!  Apparently this problem, having been around a while, stimulated the capitalist tool maker and he came up with a solution to dope nailing "pros...".

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

P.s.  Do you think the guy of the caliber of this nailing "pro" would think to spend the money to improve his game?

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

I thought you could feel the difference even with using a nail gun.  As usual, you highlight something we all need to know, Jay.  Thanks again

Posted by Elise Harron, Rural Vacant Land and Development Specialist (Dirt Road Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Although it is more difficult to know you missed the stud, an experienced carpenter should be able to notice the brads went further into the sheet. Now they add more brads and you end up with a serrated piece of wood.

Posted by Matt Brady, The Mortgage Answer Man (Finance Of America) almost 7 years ago

One has to pay attention Elise!  That is proactive!

Matt - they shoot those things fast.  I listen to them and it is a machine gun. 

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

Time is Money!  and unfortunately people worry more about price than quality...

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) almost 7 years ago

Robert - everything they save is accrued to the bonuses at the end of the year.  Hence the motivation.

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

Jay, I think that sub contractor needs a new set of glasses so they can check their work better. What a mess.

Posted by Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate, Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties (RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales) almost 7 years ago

Good one here, Jay.  It's sad to say but the photo made me laugh.  Are we really that lazy people?  Come on, do a quality job!

Posted by Matt Kombrink, Your #1 Source For Real Estate (RE/MAX All Pro) almost 7 years ago

Glad to see you caught that and got them to come back and fix it.  You definitely earned your keep on that one.

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) almost 7 years ago

H&L - this was not the only stud!  There were many others.

Lazy or not, Matt, this guy still has his Second Amendment nail gun rights.

Marc - the buyer was pleased.  Well, let's just say my buyer clients are always pleased!

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

Jay -- missing the studs is not really helpful in constructing a solid building.  Know how it felt when missed the beams when I was nailing sheet rock - very obvious.  Trying to go too quickly leads to such problems.

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

Wow.  That is really incredible to see.  Nice line up.  What about their using the really cheap stud finder to help out!

Posted by Jay & Michelle Lieberman, Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos (Keller Williams World Class) almost 7 years ago

I've seen it used a lot. . I wish I have the chance to use one of those. . one day. ..I bet they are fun to use. . 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 7 years ago

That's pretty bad aim. Why wouldn't they use a stud finder to make sure the job was done right?

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) almost 7 years ago

You'd think it would be very simple to take the right precautions to make sure that things like this did not happen.

Posted by Trisha Bush-LeFore, Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area (Preferred Properties Land & Homes) almost 7 years ago

Jay, unfortunately in the quality versus time scenario, the quality usually seems to suffer. BTW, if you can see it, they can see it!

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

Steven - with drywall, screws or nails, you know when you miss!

J&M - the installer is outside the house, probably on a ladder or scaffold.  I doubt he would have a stud finder.

Fernando - they are great tools, when used right.

Suzanne - iff'n they have one at all!

 

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

It is simple Trisha.  But experience helps too.  This could be regular unprofessionalism.

That's right Tom.  Which is why I said in comment #2 that this is a supervisor issue.

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

Wow Jay I have to admit that I have seen this many times and never realized that they missed the mark. Excellent view from someone who knows construction. Every time I think I know lots about the way homes are put together I find out there is something I did not know.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) almost 7 years ago

Missing the stud is a sign of sloppy workmanship on the part of the nailgun operator. It is also a sign of poor management on the part of the contractor to allow it to happen. The contractors need to have a good plan for quality control that makes sure the sloppy work does not continue and does not go on without the re-work to make things right.

Posted by John Mosier, Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142 (Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert) almost 7 years ago

Noah - I see it all the time in basements too, where the floor panels have not been nailed, sometimes dozens of nails in a row.

John - sloppy to be sure!  In my opinion, what you say is true, but the supervisor has the ultimate responsibility.

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

It makes sense that you would not feel whether you hit or missed your intended target when using a nail gun. They should definitely make sure they have actually done the job they were there to do.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) almost 7 years ago

there seems to be a serious lack of work ethic in construction there days.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 7 years ago

Great Tips,Jay. Thanks. You are educating me well.

                               Best,

                               Eli

Posted by Charlotte Luxury Real Estate, Eli Magids (Keller Williams - Ballantyne Area) almost 7 years ago

I would be embarrassed if my husband ever had something like that pointed out to him on a job site. It's a sign of carelessness, sloppiness and just not giving a darn. 

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) almost 7 years ago

I think your "nailed" this one.  Seriously, this is a very important and informative post.  Thanks for sharing this information.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 7 years ago

Jay, in reading this post, I could not help but think about the man who was in the news yesterday.  He was building a deck for his neighbor and a nail from his nail gun hit something, rebounded, and came close to puncturing his aortic artery.  I have great respect for nail guns and admiration for those who use them.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) almost 7 years ago

oh come on now Jay he was close doesnt that count for something??? lol

Posted by David Shamansky, Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg (US Mortgages - David Shamansky) almost 7 years ago

I agree with the majority of your blog and the context of it.   However, the sheathing on the wall where the staples missed does not mean they did not move over and reshoot it. So it does not necessarily mean it is loose unless you can confirm that...which in this case would be easy.  Sometimes it is not so easy to tell.

Frankly ...the supervisor should have caught those mistakes before your client ever saw it...that is part of his job. I am sure it raised your antennae up a few inches...

 

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) almost 7 years ago

I love my nail gun and I make every nail count...

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) almost 7 years ago
Wow! Wow!! Here is an excellent example of visually seeing an awful job. Just imagine all that is not seen. The word 'nightmare' comes to mind. Good heads up, Jay.
Posted by Jane Chaulklin-Schott, TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836 (TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766) almost 7 years ago

Talk about an example of some person working on auto-pilot in the wrong direction...

Posted by MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) almost 7 years ago

That is the point of the inspection Gerard!

Such lazy construction has been the rule for 15 years or so, in my experience Tammy.

Eli - I come to AR to get edjumakated too.

That sums it up Sue.  That is why the pre-drywall inspection is so important.

Joan - that or braded it.

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

Sharon - my wife's cousin used one a few years ago and shot a ricocheted nail into his eye.  Yes, he lost the eye.  They are dangerous tools.

It does David - horse shoes, hand grenades, dancing and nuclear war.

Mike - this was one of many studs so missed.  I could push on them to see that they were not nailed.  We inspect what we expect!

Paul - I love mine too!  It really saves the hands these days.

Thanks Jane.  A lot of the flooring was the same way.

Michelle - auto pilot to be sure.  And some habits need to be broken.

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

Goes to the quality of construction. Nobody checks their work it seems. Maybe they caught the mistake and fixed it. No way to tell?

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) almost 7 years ago

Pushing on the wall at the many studs that were missed proved they had not yet done the fix Bill.  But they did after the inspection!

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

That is what happens when you "assume" you hit the nail on the head...it may have been the head...but not in the right place !

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

I see this quite often too. You are so wright about hand nailing compared to using a gun. Hard to "feel" the whether the nail has gone into wood. 

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

That is the way of the gun S&D!  I like nail guns personally - they are fast and set the nails right.  But you have to do it right.

Jim - there is a little feel with the gun, but not so much.  With a drill you can tell when you miss the stud with a drywall screw though!

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

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