What I'm Seeing Now

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The 1850 Structure Of A House Resting On A Single Point

It is always interesting to see how things are done in former times and I found the 1850 structure of a house resting on a single point.

The house was built in a way I have never seen.

Literally the foundation and supportive locations were carved out of rock!

A cellar revealed that around the original structure, which had been added to many times over the years, has its exterior structure resting on rock.  The wood joists were made to fit an area cut out of and rimmed by rock.

Rock should be very permanent and strong.  However, from inside this rock did not appear to be as strong as intended.

The structure was dropping in the center of the house.

From different locations in the house a marble would roll toward the same point!

That point was a bit of a dip, with a bounce.

Not good.

Crawling under the house to have a look, and making my way over to that point, I saw why things are sagging. 

THE FLOORS ARE SAGGING BECAUSE THREE MAIN SUPPORT JOISTS IN THE HOUSE COME TO REST ON A SINGLE POINT.  AND THAT POINT HAS APPARENTLY BEEN SLOWLY CRUMBLING FOR A WHILE!  THE ROCK IS NOT SOLID ROCK!  IT LOOKS TO BE SEDIMENTARY, AND A COMBINATION OF SANDSTONE AND SHALE.  THE STRATA ARE CRACKING AND FALLING APART.  THE ROCKS CAN LITERALLY BE REMOVED BY HAND.

The bounce inside bothered me a lot too!  I didn't like being there!

The house has not been occupied for over a year.  My client said that the house had been under contract a couple of months ago but it had fallen off after a home inspection.  But they were unable to get a copy of that inspection as the agent said it had been "misplaced."

Alrighty then!

It was worth the creepy crawl over there!

My recommendation:  sometimes a home inspection requires the humble hands-and-knees approach.  It's good to be able to see as much as can be seen.  Especially when there is such an evident problem inside a house.  Investigation is just that, and when a house can be investigated as much as possible it can be very revealing!  Even worth the creepy crawl in a creepy crawl space.  Maybe I can add the CCC  designation to my certifications - C ertified C reepy C rawler. That's me!

 

 

 

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 14 commentsJay Markanich • April 25 2014 02:21AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay....I've been in a few homes that were built during the real estate boom and the deflection in the floor was like a trampoline....the "on center" must have been quite a span!!! I think the building inspector was "over-worked"with inspections...ha

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 4 years ago

Yes, good old erosion.  But, usually erosion is caused by wind and water, so it may make you wonder what's happened underneath there all these years.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 4 years ago

I just have this thing about crawling under a home regardless of the foundation.  I'll leave that up to you guys. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, Got to love some of those older structures. Looks like a little pier work is in need.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

We had one for sale almost identical and I believe because of other foundation problems and age it is going to be torn down.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 4 years ago

You just can't trust those 1850 inspectors Barbara!

It is dry there Debbie, not erosion.  That is simply flaking apart!

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do James!

Don - surely in this case!  Not sure what would be best as the whole house has sunken over time.

This is an estate sale, and the people have been gone for over a year Raymond.  Don't know where it will go from here.  If someone crawls under there this is evident.  Far back, but evident!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, I don't know how you do it!  I would have to go for the DDCC (Doesn't Do Creepy Crawlers)

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 4 years ago

You may come with me any time Kathy.  The buddy system is the best way to go.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Yikes, when you say "bounce" all I can see is a trampoline collapsing! Not good.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 4 years ago

I admit that once I saw why things were sagging and bouncing I was a little scared of being there Tom!  We got out right away.  Inspection concluded!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Ah yes the rolling marble and bouncy floor.  I wish I didn't know what you are talking about.  Hope they buyers figured out it's not a good thing.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 4 years ago

Seems to me I did the Creepy Crawly dance at your house Cindy.

You know, I can be Creepy Crawly without dancing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, you see things that my inspectors wouldn't, simply for the fact that the history of a home here in Oregon isn't as long as the ones you inspect. I would imagine you can shed some light on some pretty substantial foundational problems, such as this, for example. 

Great photos and explanation. Oh boy, what a challenge!!!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) about 4 years ago

It took some doing in getting over there Gayle.  Glad I did.  I really wanted to see the source of the sag and bounce.  I found it!

My client called last night to say that his mother saw the photo and told him I saved his life.

Aw, shucks.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

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