Roof encapsulated roof

Hi guys,
could use your input on a roof i inspected today. 1977 handyman special.
A new roof structure was built on top of the old roof (literally). I didn’t see any gusset plates or any other connections between the new and old other then toe nailing to the old sheathing. In one of the two pictures i’ve attached you can see the rafters are saw cut at the old roof and toe nailed in place. The other pictures shows support struts again toe nailed to the old sheathing. I think the collar ties are not low enough on the spread to do any type of support.
When reporting this, would you also highly recommend a structure engineer to be consulted?

I would like to know what supports the vertical 2x4’s in the first photo, and I am suspicious of the short sistered 2x6 on the rafter in the second photo. Engineer? Maybe, maybe not. Hard to tell by the photos.

I dont see any issues with it. Are the shorter rafters lined up with the rafters underneath?

If that house is a 1977, judging from the shingles, the extra roof was probably put on in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Surely there should be permits for it. It not, it is probably a tear down or will need to be certified / re-engineered by a structrual engineer. -

I would call it out to seek further review by a qualified contractor i don’t believe a engineer is called for. Also i hate see roofs being done that way it is a death trap for fire fighters

Among other deficiencies the ridge board is not big enough. Look at the cut end of the rafters. It appears that the rafters are 2 x 6 and so is the ridge board. For 2x6 rafters the ridge board should be a 2 x 8. IRC 802.3.

I agree with William. Was this permitted and if so did it ever go through any inspection processes by the local AHJ?

At the very minimum it’s an extreme fire hazard and very dangerous if a fire ever broke out or spread to that area.

That’s called an “over-frame” and it’s common, but this one is not done well. The bottom cuts of the jack rafters should rest on a 2x10 (lying flat on the original roof) nailed to the the original rafters.
The vertical posts supporting the ridge should be nailed to a 2x lying flat and nailed to the origianl rafters. The idea for both of these is to get a better attachment to the original roof and to spread the load out a little.

They have nailed a strongback along the base of the central posts which will help distribute the load, but won’t help prevent uplift. Those posts are at best toe-nailed to under underlying rafters to which they directly transfer their load by stacking directly over them.

It’s more of a quality issue than anything else. If the area gets high winds you might recommend additional hardware to fasten the overframe to the original roof (to “resist uplift”). Otherwise, it’s just old-time framing that’s a little on the low-end side.

I would recommend a permit search before an engineer evaluation. The contractor’s plans should have the engineer/architect’s seal. If it has been approved by the AHJ, I would note the workmanship and leave it at that.

It’s ugly, but why is it a fire hazard any more than any other attic? The electrical looks OK. It’s been there since '77… any sign of failure?

Because the double roof system makes it hard to fight the fire from both sides. Firefighters hate roof overs like that.

Despite all the problems noted, the good thing is it shouldn’t leak.:smiley:


I assume, from the pictures, that you crawled the attic (between the old and new roof). I have, yet, to see or hear about a local codie who does this.

Ergo, they didn’t know about this.

A fine point here, Jim, and no slam intended.

Around here, the Architect or SE (usually, just an Architect, for residential) certifies the plans and puts their seal on it.

Then, the local codies look at the seal and say to themselves, “Well, the Architect certified it and, therefore, he has all the liability of it is wrong. We are off the hook it it fails.” Nuff said.

Then, the builder decides that they can do it better (read: Cheaper, more profit) and do whatever they want.

Around here, if the builder varies from the Architect plans, that, in itself, is a code violation.

But, the codies have no liability (state court rulings), so they don’t, really, check.

Then, the whole thing falls down. Then, the process of finding out who is “at fault” (read: who pays!) begins.

And the builder has, long ago, closed his LLC and went bye, bye.

So, if it was me, I would call it out, refer to an SE and pass off my liability to the SE (or the buyer, if they don’t take the advice that I gave them).

Hope this helps;

I was a Fire Fighter and this would be a nightmare and very dangerous to fight .
In most cases by the time it was discovered it it would be to late. Anyway just my thought to point it out to the buyer As a home owner i would like to know.But the other hand i still have part of the brain that is a Fire Fighter

But it’s very, very common and not against any code.

No, you’re right but it doesn’t change the fact that double roof system makes it hard to fight the fire from both sides and Firefighters hate roof overs like that.

So when a person puts an addition onto their home, in addition to worrying about compliance with building codes they have to worry about firefighters?

Additions are done that way all the time. Unless you see something leaning, sagging, or leaking, I would say:

“Additions or alterations have been made to this property. Therefore, you should request documentation that should include permits and any warranties or guarantees that might be applicable, because we do not approve of, or tacitly endorse, any work that was completed without permits or by unlicensed contractors, and latent defects could exist.”

You don’t have to recommend a further evaluation every time you see an addition. Put the burden on the buyer and their agent to seek out permits.