Roof structure. No bracing. Any issue?

The house is probably over 70 years old. The sheathing was upgraded to plywood at some point in time. Another home inspector (also a licensed contractor) stated that the rafters should have been braced to hold the extra load. You can see that no bracing is present. From the ground, there were no sags.

What say you?

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what i say is you are between a rock and a hard place. i’m also alicensed contrator and am certainly impressed by the previous inspectors report that the rafters should have additional bracing perhaps he is an engineer as well. the strucure being 70 years it would be impratical to apply a current buiding code. by using rational analysis (engineering speak for i don’t know) you could conclude that becase there is no apparent sagging that the roof is capable of supporting the applied loads. let us know how you decide to frame your narritive on this issue.

I always recommend old roof framing practices be “upgraded” even if no sagging is present due to snow loads. The new plywood on top you mentioned just adds more reason for bracing and brings it to a reasonable “repair” item versus just an “upgrade”. This is a good example of issues that can be legally reported or not reported as deemed necessary by an inspector based on the exact conditions, rafter spans and overall opinion of that inspector.

I don’t like the way the rafters and ceiling joists connections are made. They stack and are not lapped for strength. It appears plywood gussets were added on one joint. And it also appears that the rafters bear on a cantilevered section of the ceiling joists (out over the soffit?).


“Framing does not meet current framing standards/practices. Some modifications have been made already. Additional framing or reinforcement may be required. Seek advice from framing contractor and design professional.”

should you guys be more concerned with wind load as opposed to snow load. i know i’m a florida boy but i did not realise that S.C. recieved significant snow

I’d say even though it’s not conventionally framed, and there is no apparent issues, you could have the framing braced-framed-altered but personally I do not see any logical reason at the time of this inspection.

If the framing concerns you, being 70 years old, and still holding strong, have a contractor do what ever he may think is necessary to bring the framing close or up to to current framing standards. Or get three free estimates, ideas-suggestions to upgrade the framing from licensed contractors before you close escrow.

It does good pretty good for an old house Joe…

If I was buying it I wouldn’t loose any sleep over it.

We had 18 inches here a few years ago, typically much less but it does snow about every year. Ice storms are common too. We also had a hurricane once, Hugo came through in 1989.

Every 10 years we get 6 inches that stays around about 3 days. There are exceptions, however.

So you’re saying the roof framing is sure holding up very well?----:smiley:

I should add that this is a pre-listing inspection. Actually, it’s a post listing inspection. One buyer already walked. Partly because the 1st inspector had nothing nice to say about the roof structure. (The inspection was aborted…no report from the 1st guy.)

Well…Put Bruces auto-comment in the report Joe—:stuck_out_tongue:


So far… but it may have limits or have hidden stress cracks now that could react with wind from another direction.

Since it’s an inspection for a seller, this is what I came up with. Thanks Larry.

“The attic framing does not meet current framing standards or practices. Some modifications have been made which impose heavier loads than the original structure supported. Snow may add even more weight. While no sags were apparent, additional framing, bracing, or reinforcement may be required or prudent. We recommend that you seek advice from a licensed general contractor.”

That’ll save ya Joe…Nice—:smiley:

Especially a Pre-Listing Inspection…if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, but since some other nit wit might…good comment…!!

I never use the word upgrade… and as for justifying same because of snow load…please…this is the Carolina’s…there is no snow load unless you are in the mountains.

I would have simply stated that the framing does not follow basic building principles, which it does not as one can see by looking at how several of the rafters were spliced.

Being that the roof is not sagging (and if not signs of stress are showing on the exterior walls) I would simply recommend a licensed general contractor familiar with framing principles evaluate same.

By stating the above you are not tied to code (which did not exist back then) yet are relieving yourself of liability and directing your client to get a more qualified opinion.



For a prelisting inspection, I would advise:

“While future inspectors may wish to compare the engineering design of the attic to modern day standards and call it ‘deficient’ in that regard, I found the attic to be in good repair with a 70-year track record of withstanding area winds and snow loads. Should future inspection reports insist upon making an issue of this attic’s failure to comply with modern building standards in the face of its obvious successful record, I would recommend that the seller NOT choose an expensive remodeling option but, instead, obtain a certification of the structural integrity of the attic from a licensed structural engineer.”

Nice comment, and good recommendation.

If I inspect an older roof system and it doesn’t meet today’s building code but it’s holding up good with no obvious sags or depressions in the roof field, and no pulling of structural members, my report will not recommend upgrades.

I agree with David, why note something as defective, improper, far from meeting today’s standard, and does not meet code?
Hell, of course it don’t meet codes, they weren’t invented when this house was built.

We have to understand, that we are not Code Enforcement #1, and that these existing buildings, some have been there for 100 years.
Unless you find problems as such as WDI, rot, moisture intrusions, sagging, structural failures, components pulling apart, one should only report that what he observes is not quite up to today’s standard, but has proven the test of time.
Upgrades are only necessary when involving safety for the occupants.

If someone wants to live in a 100 year old structure that is sound, why not?

We seem to forget the fact that not all buildings were built to today’s standards, the standard changes every single day, so which standard should we use?
One has to establish it’s condition for when it was built and how it fared the test of time. If it looks like near failure, I guess you could comfortably say it is time for an upgrade or repair.
Don’t forget that in some of these old houses, the framing lumber was rough sawn and usually bigger structurally than required, so 1/2" of dry rot on the sides of the beam does not indicate that it is near failure. I means there is a moisture problem and monitoring, correction or upgrading might be prudent in the future.
The floor is sagging, so therefore I have to note that there is a structural
failure on the support piers below and recommend a structural engineer to evaluate.
Come on, give me a break, the darn thing is been there for 50 to 100 years, what do you think will happen to my house in 100 years?
Well, I won’t be here for one thing. :mrgreen:

And I am sure the foundation will start to deteriorate, settle, crack, and start giving way to some of the elements of time.

So what do we say?

Well, my observations have shown that the structure had no doubt proven the test of time to this date.
How much longer will it resist failures from that impact is unknown.
Future upgrades in the structural capacities for snow load, dead weight of the structure might be reasonable, given the age of the structure.
What did not fail for 50- years or more might fail tomorrow.
Today’s more recent standard in the industry has improved the structural capacities required to sustain the elements, thermal characteristics, and assemblies to provide a safe sheltered and safe home.


I agree, the splicing of most of the rafters mid span was never an accepted building practice and should be called out as a defect. I also don’t differentiate between a prelisting or buyers inspection. A defect is a defect no matter what side of the fence you are on.