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.
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."
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