What I'm Seeing Now


Is This How Builders Will Be Attaching Front Porch Roofs Now?

On each of my last three pre-drywall inspections in Northern Virginia, I have wondered -- is this how builders will be attaching front porch roofs now?

I have been astounded. 

Contacting an architect friend of mine with photos, I asked if this is how they are teaching architects to draw stuff up in schools today!

These are three different houses, in three different areas, and three different builders.

Porch Number One

These are the two beams supporting the outside of the front porch roof.

There are no nails, bolts, or straps.

The beams are merely resting there -

securely glued in tightly with poly-foam!

Porch Number Two

These are the two beams supporting the long front porch roof on this house.

These beams are the face of the porch you would see from the street.  They are about 35' long.

A bit blurry when cropped, but nonetheless, it is obvious that these beams are not attached to anything.

There isn't even foam on this one!

And they aren't completely inserted or resting on the studs below.

Porch Number Three

This is another outside double beam, on yet a third property.

It has two toe nails into the left beam, and a couple from below.

Of course toe nailing won't stop the beams from being pulled out.

What I have seen in the past is a long ledger beam against the house, bolted to the structure of the house.  The roof trusses are then strapped to that ledger beam.

In addition, all protruding double beams were lag bolted or through bolted into the house structure.

In a high wind, hurricane or tornado, inadequate attachment would mean that front porch roof, not terribly heavy as compared to nature, could pull out or fly off!


I do not believe this is how an architect drew this up!

For sure I could teach a class at any architecture school, complete with photos, and a sarcastic, funny lesson plan.  The title of the class? 


My recommendation:  I don't know about you, but I find this trend to slap things up and nail gun a house together to be dangerous.  It is not professionalIt will not last.

Builders, supervisors and construction "professionals" are at fault.  It is a scary trend.

The house to the left was built by my grandmother near Chevy Chase Circle off Connecticut Avenue in Washington DC.  Beginning in 1908 it took two years to build.  The family moved in in 1910.  It still has the ORIGINAL wood siding!

Think carefully -- do you need a home inspection on new construction?



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • April 16 2014 04:20AM


That is referred to as air support.

I would expect to see some means of attachment as well.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Maybe they are looking for kindling in the near future!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

On our planet...in real life....in Wisconsin...these things require permits and inspections at various stages...our house was designed and house plans approved with a walk out deck....and had to have separate permits....and fees of course...and inspections.....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

Nail hit on head Jim.  Or, should I say, air support hit on head...

Raymond - kindling to be sure!  That's what it will be one day!

S&D - these houses were already INSPECTED by the county and approved for drywall!  The top photo is the same house with the hideous flashing that I posted the other day. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi Jay,

No attachmets? No plates anywhere either. That foam and those toe nails  will help hold it in place for a couple of months till all the extra weight gets on the front dormers. Oh noy! That will take some work to change out and make right.

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 6 years ago

One thing is crystal clear.

"Approved by the county" has little to no meaning.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Jay...all I can say is this is scary, with the snow weight load we have in the north country these structures wouldn't survive the first winter.

Posted by Steve Loynd, 800-926-5653, White Mountains NH ( Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., ) over 6 years ago

Funny how the builders have a different understanding of what is required, when they should know what is required Jay.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 6 years ago

I caught Lenn's reblogg of this post.  Great post and great point about getting a Home Inspection.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 6 years ago

It is schmuck work all around Clint.

Agreed Lenn.  Then there are the guys who claim to have had inspections done...

I had a flip yesterday where the guy said he had all the county approvals.  My report included over 20 codes I told him the county somehow "missed."  When all was said and done, gee, he had pulled no permits.  He thought nobody would notice...

Steve - this roof would pull out in short order.  My clients, of course, had no idea.  They said it looked good to them!

Tom - that this got so far, and almost got covered by drywall is a hideous commentary on the builder in the first photo. 

Gene - that's the only point people need to understand!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

There must be some drywall screws hidden in there somewhere?

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 6 years ago

My question in this is: Where are the city building inspectors? Are they all paid off with a bottle of whiskey to look the other way, or do the inspectors not know better either?


Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) over 6 years ago

That or double-sided tape Jeff.

I can't answer that Sylvia.  When things are approved, they should have been looked at though!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Front porches are very common here. I can see this post is worthy of a re-blog.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Thank you Tammie.  Is this how they are doing it in your area?  Have you had any recent inspections to see?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, I do not think you understand the gripping power of foam ;) I am sure it is an engineered product.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

And Don, when so much ABC gum is out there, fruit or mint flavored, why in the world would anyone go with foam?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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