Question for pro roof framers/ incl

ohmmm_gwApril 30, 2010

This house is 6 years old. Slab foundation. Roof is 12/12 with some 12/9 pitches.

Took some photos of the attic area and a potential problem area. The one valley rafter was installed with just the very tip of the rafter resting on the beam. Now I am not a carpenter, but I have watched enough episodes of This Old House and read enough articles in Fine Homebuilding to realize, hmm...this was not done right.

Looking at other framing cuts and connections in the attic does not give me great confidence that a fine job was done.

Not a good feeling when this is right in the heart of tornado alley.

So is there a way to fix that valley rafter so it has proper support underneath it?

The last photos show a lot of 2x supports in the attic area. The attic space was wired for a potential conversion to living space back when the house was built.

Anyway, I am wondering if the 2x's that I have arrows pointing to were just temporary supports when the roof was built? Can those be removed or do they need to stay in place?

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I think it's as bad as you fear. I have never seen a set of prints where a stick-framed roof was spec'ed to be 2x4 rafters. I can't make out the spans, etc., in the pictures, but short spans of 2x6's are more likely. They realized the weakness and added the mid-span supports and struts. The bearing deficiency on the valley (which looks very undersized to me) came to be I think, because it was meant to bear a little further down, but the beam was in the way. They could have extended/supplemented the bearing point (like the prepared-for joist, missing from the hanger) but for some reason did not. They could have cut a bird's mouth on the valley rafter tail and supported it with an angled joist hanger to the beam. I take it that the roof flares out at the bottom. So perhaps some of the roof load is being carried further out, but it still looks very poor. If I were planning on keeping the house I'd consult a structural engineer.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 8:44PM
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No, I am none too happy with the quality of the workmanship, the longer I live here and see how things were done.

The rafters are 2x6s on 24" spans.

If they built it and then realized it needed all those supports, clearly it was not designed properly, or they did not follow the design and decided they knew better.

I bought the house from out of state, so it was more difficult to really remember what all I saw when I looked at it. The home inspector made no mention of all the extra supports in the attic.

That pretty much rules out ever using it as living space if all those 2x4 and 2x6 supports have to stay where they are at.

The photo below shows the exterior of the roof and the valley rafter area that is in the above attic photos.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 9:41PM
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In pic. #6 the elements are the purlin rafter and braces which are common in stick frame construction, and unless you have a great deal of unobstructed attic area, don't count on finishing the attic
Here is a link that will broaden your horizons.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 10:50PM
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You could probably add some blocking under the valley rafter connection if you don't live in an area with a heavy snow load. It is best to transfer the valley rafter load to the top plate of the exterior wall as directly as possible but if necessary you could put blocking between the I-joists if you put blocks on each side of the I-joists and use metal hangers (look at any I-joist installation manual).

The roof framing appears to be sloppy field built trusses. In my opinion, the most important issue is the connections. If they are well nailed or have metal plates it might be OK. Look for excessive deflection or connections that are separating.

I wouldn't be storing anything heavy in this attic space.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:59AM
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Not a heavy snow load area. Wind loads and hail storms...yes...tornado alley. 45 mph gusts throughout the day are not unusual in this location.

I will see if I can get blocking under that valley rafter. I will need to reference some photos or illustrations on how best to do that. I will research a bit more.

The nailing and angle cuts, well, as you can see, leave something to be desired. If it was not a 45 or 90, apparently they did not know how to handle it too well. I am not sure they actually knew how to read a tape measure from the looks of some of the connections.

It would have been nice to be able to get plywood decking down in there and use the space, but I would have to redo all the HVAC snakework they ran.

This is a slab foundation, so no basement storage. That leaves the garage or the attic.

It is just frustrating to see space that could have been effectively used, was just not given any thought during building.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 1:34PM
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