What do you guys think...

The attic has these “supports”. There are about 8-10 of these. I think the roof is not stable. I am going to recommend a structural engineer, but wanted to get your thoughts. Also note the plastic in the attic. This is also in many places. I think maybe from a water leak. Roof has 2 layers, but does not look bad.

The home was probably built during the early to mid 50’s…which during that time such framing was common, especially with hip roofs which typically are strong.

I suspect that previous owner(s) felt the need to add bracing when installing an additional layer of roofing…although the bracing is erratic…probably they used what lumber was laying around.

Other then what appears to be old water stains, the roof framing members look in good condition.

Depending on the spans (and species of the wood) I would probably not recommend a S.E.

It is my experience that many of these roofs have more of a problem with venting than structural issues.

What was the width of the house by the way?
(my guess is less than 24 feet, probably 20 feet…a 2x6 can span between 9 - 12.5 ft depending on the grade, species and spacing)

The house was built in 1967 according to the buyer. The width is about 20 feet. I walked the roof and it felt pretty solid. Yes, I walked it before I went in the attic.

I think Jeff’s got it right.

Signs of failure?
If it feels solid and it’s not sagging… it’s mostly just quality issues with the framing. To justify the expense of a SI it’s probably a good idea to have something specific to point at.

OK, thanks for the help. Just curious. What does a SE charge?

I directed a client to the one I personally use…he charged my client $150.00 and provided a stamped letter that all was well. I think the most I have ever paid was around $350.00 but that is usually for larger projects which require more detailed drawings. Regardless, its cheap insurance.

I think it depends on where you are and how busy the local SI’s are. Around here, they’re real busy and I think are closer to $250 just to show up.

Structural Engineers are not needed for “framing” issues - even if an issue actually exists. As I stated in another thread, it’s like hiring an electrician to change a light bulb.

$550 is a normal SE charge in my area. . .


I think it needs to be pointed out that there are times where an SE should be called for framing issues.

A GC can only replace what is there and or follow designs as approved by an SE, Architect, and or use approved engineering data as in the case of certain framing issues (span charts)…however they can not calculate loads themselves.

I look at it like this; an Architect designs, an Engineer calculates and the GC follows the plan and designs set forth by the other two.

While a good GC knows pretty much what will work in residential construction simply from working with Architects and SE’s, a GC license does not afford him to certify the strength and or the integrity of a structure.

Last year I had a friend contact me about doing some tile work in his kitchen. This is a very expensive home and the remodeling work was very signifcant as well.

Prior to putting any tile down on a floor (crawlspace), I go under and check same. I could tell that he had some issues (girder spacing and joist spans) and advised him to contact an engineer to to run the numbers. Unbeknownst to me, he contacted another builder (who is also an HI ~ ASHI btw) who informed him that he simply could sister a 2x10 to the girder and it would be fine.

Just before other GC was to do the work I happened to stop by to go over tile selection. My friend said the GC would start and finish the work needed in the crawl by tomorrow. Knowing that it was not a 1 day job I asked to see the engineering papers to which he said the other GC said he didn’t need an engineer. I informed my friend that I was not going to put tile down until it was checked…there was no way I could guarantee my work knowing what I saw under the crawl. In short, in called an engineer who gave him the correct fix which amounted to more than sistering up a single 2x10. Because he felt the other GC did not know what he was doing (which he didn’t) I actually ended up getting that work as well (not that I wanted it but he was in a hurry to get the home on the market and needed the remodeling work finished). It took my crew over a week to make the necessary changes and even then it was a pain the rear.

Even when a person can trace roof loads going all the way down to the footer, who is to say that the footer is correct. While the house in this post is a simple bread box, most modern homes have designs that are beyond what most GC and HI’s are use to.

While I am pretty confident as guestimating what is needed, I have no problem in deferring to an SE on foundation and serious framing issues. If the clients fails to adhere to my direction (bringing in a SE) then thats his business, however if he does adhere to bad advice that I have given him then I bought it.

I am sure you know this but I just wanted to point out that there are indeed times when an SE could be called to check on framing issues. T



Structural Engineers are certainly qualified to make framing recommendations. Load calcs and design strength criteria are a separate issue and do require engineering, however, simple stacked framing (in most cases) does not.

There are standard tables that are used for dimensional lumber with regard to spans and minimum design strength, which is what we’re talking about with stacked-framing. In most cases, you can go to your local Building and Safety Department and obtain the required minimums in your area.

“Engineered” framing systems include things like shear walls, trusses, etc. These items will require engineer approval/design and will be based on many factors of the building design and potential loads, and will vary geographically.