What I'm Seeing Now


Slap Happy "Carpentry"

For sure, slap happy "carpentry."

The quotes are because one might say carpentry is involved, but it is not.

It might be better said slap unhappy "carpentry."

But that is just me.

This is a garage roof that has had attention!

And the wrong kind.

One end bulges upward and the other sinks downward.

It can't make up its mind.

It might even be the one "fix" caused the other problem.

I suspect that the right side in this photo used to sag, like the left.

And I don't know if in the photo to the right this was the first "repair" or not.  The cross beam in the bottom of the photo is the only in the garage that could have been used for the new vertical support.

To me this seems like the more recent "repair" as it is not painted.

And it might be to try to correct another sag downward as exists on the other side of the roof.

Why do I think that?

Because, clearly, the cause of the sag was painted, without bothering to repair it.

There was an improperly-supported joint in the ridge beam.  Such as it was, the roof sagged over time.  Physics, and gravity, always do what they do.

Mother Nature will enforce codes even when the carpenter does not, or the "carpenter" does not obey standard carpentry procedures.  Physics and gravity, as I said, always do what they do.

An attempt was made to shore up the trusses with boards nailed into the collar ties.  But it has not worked.  So, what to do?

I know.  Paint it!  And put on some new shingles!  And sell it!

My recommendation:  finding this in the garage I was interested in the roof.  Getting up into the attic I found that the same "carpenter" had apparently been there too, doing this same kind of thing.  Oh, and under the kitchen to "shore up" the extra weight introduced by a new granite-covered kitchen island.  The marble test on the floor was pretty indicative!  Well, sags happen.  I've seen the bumper stickers!  And there were sags all over this place, up, down, inside and out.  My clients moved on.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 14 commentsJay Markanich • October 21 2015 01:20AM


Good morning Jay. Your client was wise to move on and avoid future heartache. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 3 years ago

Good morning Jay.  Someone will take the home and hopefully repair it.  Frankly I would walk away, looks like too much work for me to take on.  

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 3 years ago

I would guess that the ridge to the right is where the garage is attached to the house. If so, quite a common and understandable physical manifestation. And what you refer to as the ridge "beam" is actually a ridge board and not a structural member. A sagging ridge is typically caused by the exterior walls splaying outward causing the ridge to sag. Looking at your second picture I can see quite a bit of separation from the ridge board in two rafters, which would indicate movement in the exterior walls, causing the dip. I touched on this a while back http://activerain.com/blogsview/4412891/the-weight-of-gravity

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 3 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Or get Uncle Joe to come over and fix it! Call the cavalry and have an old fashioned razing and raising.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 3 years ago

Wayne - this Flipper was flipped out, methinks.

James - of all the conditions in the house this was probably the least.  I didn't get photos of everything because by the time I pointed out the dip in the kitchen floor, and showed them why, we were basically done.

Jim - detached garage.  The rafter circled on the right is the third from the garage door.   None of the rafters is bird mouthed into the top plate.  I have always called that a ridge beam, and the way this is done it is definitely structural!  The crack is where the sag is located.   In the right photo surely there was splaying, as it can be seen from below as there was never a center post that I can tell.  The "repair" is as you see.  The ridge board you said is separating is an addition done some time ago, and is composed of separate ridge members.  They attempted to extend the garage.  It's a mess.

Raymond - perhaps a truck load of Joes would work!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Sorry, that drawing is incorrect. The beam supports the roof, the board is essentially a nailer. Your garage has a board. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 3 years ago

Ah!  Gravity!!!

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Jay, thanks for the engineering lesson.  I have found that your informative posts have practical applications in everyday life.  Keep them coming!

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 3 years ago

I had one the other day where the homeowner decided he needed a third bay to his garage. He statred by attaching directly to the original trusses, the premanufactured trusses he ordered did not match the pitch of the original and there was a step down that appeared like a sag. But yours is a mess! I would actually be afraid to park my car in there...lol

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

Jim - that diagram comes out of a carpentry book in my basement!  It's dated 1982, so perhaps they call them boards now!  I have always used the word 'beam.'  My bad.

I have a friend who is a roofer for 30 some years.  Every time I say 'kick out flashing' he teases me and says, "You mean diverter flashing?"

In the future when everything is PVC and I generically use the term 'ridge beam' to describe it  (because I am old and stodgy and my book is dated 1982), someone will come along and say, 'That is a PVC board.'  Then I will come back, 'Technically it's a PVC extrusion.'  See, I can split hairs too!  I pedantic I!

Have the girls watched any baseball recently?  It sounded like they had moved on, or the older one anyway.

I came from a house today Lenn, where someone asked me why the pipe was sagging.  A PVC plumbing pipe, 3/4" spanned about 12' and was sagging.  I said, "Gravity."  I did wink, to show that wasn't a slam!

Stephen - no matter what you call it, beam or board, Lenn has the solution.  Get rid of gravity. 

Fred - what's a little higher and lower here and there?  Kind of like reading a green.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay- as gravity keeps taking its toll on me, I hope that whoever shores me up does a better job!!!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 3 years ago

Unfortunately, Kathy, we all sag with time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Looks like "SAG" Happy Carpentry.   Beams and boards, boards and beams; play nice boys.

Posted by DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 ), Highest Ranked Mortgage Loan Originator Virginia (American National Bank & Trust) over 3 years ago

And that beam was snap, crackle and pop, Deanna.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

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