American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
2767 Dewey Avenue
Rochester, NY 14616
Office: 585-349-3900
Fax: 585-349-3834
www.InspectNY.com

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Roof Supports

Roof Framing

When roof systems are not designed or installed properly deflection can occur. Deflection is defined as the bending of wood due to forces, or loads, placed on them. There are five (5) different types of loads that any structure must be able to withstand: dead load, live load, shear load, point load, and spread load. Some of these forces are the natural result of gravity tugging at the building, dragging it down. Some are the result of wind gusts, snow loads, or ground movement.

The type of load refereed to as spread load is the outward force on walls caused by the downward-and-outward force of rafters, usually because of heavy snow pressing down on the roof. If a house isn't prepared to handle this type of load, it could cave in or suffer partial collapse or failure. More likely, the framing members will bend under the loads causing deflection.

When a roof is inadequately supported, the main ridge board at the peak of the roof, is pushed downward and the roof rafters push the exterior walls outward. Not only will the roof from the outside look unsightly, but also cracks will form on the walls and ceilings, and perhaps windows and doors will become out of square preventing them from operating correctly. Dealing with the various loads that are placed on a house actually means preventing deflection. Proper building and design practices can prevent the negative effects on the house by loads.

Older or existing homes run the risk of being built with practices that are considered to be unsafe or improper by today's standards. If a roof system is found to be not supported properly, proper corrective measures should be taken to prevent deflection.

Many times in older buildings, the ridge board or peak of the roof is not properly supported causing displaced spread loads. Additional support posts or columns are needed to be installed to prevent possible failures from loads. An adequate and sturdy column can be made with the use of common 2"X4"s. An example of an adequate support is by taking two pieces of 2"X4" and nailing them together to form a corner (see Figure 1). Making the corner is done to prevent the 2"X4"s from bending or bowing under any extreme weights. The posts are to be placed in the attic vertically from the peak of the roof, to the attic floor (see Figure 2). When placing the posts on the attic floor it is extremely important to place this directly above a load bearing wall. These columns should be placed under the ridge board approximately every 4'-5' throughout the attic. Now when a spread load is placed on the roof, the weight can easily be transferred through the house as intended.

Many times signs of past problems from spread loads are detected in homes. It is very important to have the roof system inspected to confirm if supports were installed or not, and if they were properly installed.

2"X4" Top View (Corner) Roof Support Post Placement

 


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Gunther Home Inspections, Inc.
Voice 585-349-3900 - Fax 585-349-3834
2767 Dewey Avenue - Rochester, NY 14616
www.InspectNY.com

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