Structural Framing Checklist in Pittsburgh
Home inspectors are often referred to as house “doctors.” While this is a fair comparison in some respects, physicians have several advantages when assessing problems with a patient. A doctor can ask, “Where does it hurt?” They can poke and prod until they hear the word “ouch!” Then they can take a look inside by having an X-ray or an MRI performed to determine the source of the pain.
On the other hand, you won’t find a home inspector asking a support beam, “So, how are we feeling today?” If you do, it’s time to find a new inspector. Since much of a home’s structural framing is hidden, home inspectors must use their years of experience and knowledge, instead of an X-ray, to pinpoint defects with the home’s skeleton.
Certified home inspectors, like those at A-Pro Home Inspection Pittsburgh, perform comprehensive visual checkups that can reveal structural issues that may not be apparent to families in the market for a new home. Beyond the visual assessment, simply walking on a floor can let the inspector know that there’s trouble down below. For example, the inspector will note whether the entire floor or a section of it feels spongy or bouncy, which may be a sign of sub-floor water damage or weakened floor joists. Other problems can be found through observation, such as with visible roof trusses and joists in crawlspaces.
Here is a checklist of a few wall, floor, and roof framing problems that will be evaluated by your A-Pro home inspector in Pittsburgh:
Uneven Floors: The inspector will report on whether the floor is level. Uneven floors are a common problem, especially in older homes. Does the floor seem to slope up or down when walked upon? Is there a noticeable hump? In either case, further, inspection will be done to determine if the issue has been caused by questionable construction practices or by foundation and soil shifting due to settling and/or moisture changes. Other possible culprits are water-damaged floor joists or aging basement window frames that have begun to sag. Among other evaluations, the inspector will check the foundation for damage, evaluate drywall cracks, and test interior doors to see if they open and close normally.
When accessible, an inspection of the home’s crawlspace may show floor joists that are deteriorating or separating from the structure; missing, poorly installed, improperly spaced, or failing support posts holding up the central beam; or foundation issues, such as heaving or settling concrete slab caused by a faulty design, moisture penetration, or other factors.
A-Pro home inspectors in Pittsburgh take this analysis one step further by performing a free foundation level survey (a $150 value) with every complete home inspection. This service documents floor variations in every room of the home, identifying areas of immediate concern and providing a recorded baseline to be compared against future foundation level surveys. When rechecked, the homeowners have a record of the original levels in the inspection report so they can determine if the home is settling and at what rate. A-Pro inspectors use a special digital meter that accurately measures floor elevation.
Wall Framing Problems: Your inspector will report on walls that are bowed, out of vertical alignment, cracked, or bulging. The size and direction of the cracks will help the inspector determine the root cause, whether they’re small, web-like cracks that may indicate moisture problems behind the wall or diagonal cracks that are often seen when foundational settlement has occurred. Less worrisome, are cracks over windows and doors, which are often associated with normal framing shrinkage and expansion.
Roof Framing Issues: Visible rafters will be checked for conditions including sagging; warping; wood rot, which can significantly reduce member strength; broken or damaged components; wrong choice of type or size of fasteners used to attach hangers; missing or corroded gusset plates; missing nails; sliced T-reinforcements; loose bracing; removed or cut web members; and an insufficient number of braces. The inspector will also look for signs of truss uplift, which often results in drywall cracks.