Truss problems?

My clients today had a new roof put on recently. The roof members are trusses on a gabled roof with cathedral ceilings in a large portion of the house. While the roofers were there, I guess they were just dropping packages of shingles onto the roof as they worked, and as this was going on, several large cracks developed in the drywall below. Some were over a half inch, but had been repaired by the time I got there. I was told that some of the drywall had even partially come down by pulling right over the drywall screw heads. I could not see any structural damage to the trusses, but of course was visually limited in the inspection due to space, design, insulation, vents, etc. The homeowner is really nervous about the roof as the drywaller / painter would not warranty the work due to his suspicions of structural problems. The roofer would not come out to inspect the problems and told the homeowner to hire a home inspector. I know what that’s all about. He just wants someone to sign off on the work to eliminate his liability. I guess what my real question is, does anyone here think that simply by dropping packages of shingles on the roof, that this type of damage is possible, and do you think the trusses were just transferring the force to the drywall below. I found no truss damage in what was seen, btw.

If I am understanding your discription of conditions and structual materials existing, it would appear that a structual engineer or a Truss Manuf’s. Rep. may be warrented, unless you can visually see each and every truss yourself.

I believe damage can be done to rafters or trusses, if they are abused (ie: Roofing Contr’s crew members dropping bundles of shingles on the decking) while preparing to repair/replace the existing roof. Factor 80lbs.+/- per bundle, probably stacked, invarious areas of the roof.

I think, that what you might think or feel about the existing conditions might get you in trouble, if you don’t know for certain. I mean the trusses are not fully visible, the drywall has been repaired, which means you can’t visually verify the damage you were told about, etc.

I’d absolutely recommend further investigation by one of the previously mentioned pro’s. This a CYA instance if I ever saw one.

Even in areas with minimal snow loading, model codes require that all roofs including trusses need to be designed for at least a minimum roof live load that considers contractors on the roof with materials.

Wood has a much higher strength under impact or short duration loading, so I would suspect there may be some type of problem with the trusses as a possibility. I would defer it to specialists.


Thanks. That was pretty much my line of thought also. The roofer paid for this inspection and I believe he was under the impression that this would be an easy out for the liability. BTW, I am impressed here. I have been a member of ASHI for the last year and I am definitely going to let it lapse there and come to what appears to be a superior group of folks.

Jerry Emery

Peace of Mind Home Inspection Service LLC
Serving Danville Indiana and the greater Indianapolis Area.
Hablamos Espanol!

No, I find that hard to believe. Shingle bundles are only dropped one at a time as they come off the conveyor belt. On a pitched roof they’re usually laid down with bundles stacked on each other. Not slammed down or thrown down.