Roof tragedy?

I was doing an inspection today and ran across this structural problem in the attic. I never make assumptions on the structural integrity of anything but this was for a buddy of mine. The ridge board was bowed in both directions and snapped in some places. Is this a deal breaker? The home is 101 years old.

Any information would be appreciated,


It depends more on what the house looks like from the outside and any interior symptoms. That framing can be braced and improved by any competent carpenter but that will not magically eliminate sagging issues visible on the roof, bowed exterior walls and cracks in the walls etc. The crawlspace/floor system likely has issues too so much more inspecting needs to be done first.

100 Years old … Bet if you went to a rest home, the remaining 100 year olds bend, sag, lean, tilt and aren’t as staight as the 35 year old nurses and orderlies.

If he likes it - FIX it.

Looks like it was dormered improperly. I’d refer it to a Framing Contractor.

The ridge board may have moved because something (a rafter?) pushed on it. In the worst case, the rafters have spread and that’s something that should be evaluated and repaired by a licensed contractor in my opinion. The wall structure could be affected if the rafters have spread. The gap at the bottom suggests to me that the rafters have spread, and I don’t see any collar ties to prevent that from happening.

Ozzy, considering the age of that structure, a full structural analysis should be performed, either by an expert framing contractor or engineer/architect.
It appears that some of the sheathing boards were cut to indicate a dormer installation and that would explain the plumb cut extreme on a few rafters in the last picture.
More pictures would be helpful, but in any case, there is a problem there that has to have been magnified elsewhere in the structure, ie., lack of rafter ties causing exterior walls to open in the outward position.
Dips in the roof and/or sags, to much weight from roof coverings.

Further evaluation is definitely required. There is failure of structural members in these photos and needs to be address by someone qualified in structural framing. :slight_smile:

Requires repairs they can hire an engineer if they want to specify how the repairs should be done and I would recommend that but given the age a good contractor with a lot of experience could probably teach the enginneer a thing or two. This kind of stuff going wrong with old buildings is common. It ain’t never going to be perfect if they want that it will be cheaper to raze it and start over. It can be “stabilized” if they want to live with the rest.

I’m with Bruce. It depends on the amount of sagging that has taken place. However, I see this as a chance to make money for your pal. These sorts of things can look real bad, but like Brian said, can actually be fairly easy/inexpensive to stabilize. Once it’s structurally stabilized, it’s no longer a structural issue, but a cosmetic issue. Cosmetic issues, usually anyway, won’t affect the ability of the home to be insured or of the lender to issue a mortgage.

Thank you, for all the insight. After carefully reading all your replies I remembered that the place had new windows and since it was for a friend, I tested them all, with one in the front corner of the house catching on the jamb. Then I remembered all the doors on the first floor hit the jambs one scraping the floor and really hard to close. These too were new. Under the two front rooms that were additions I found two screw jacks. I also noticed the sidewalk was new. I looked it up on google earth, and there was the house, except with a massive tree in the front yard. I did end up suggesting a structural engineer. I am guessing when they interrupted the soil, some of the main support to the home may have been depleted. On my way to meet with a contractor.

Thanks again,

Ozzy Muro


I believe the issues in your pictures are a symptom of something much more critical. I would start with the foundation.