Heal Joint Attic Repair from Inspection Report

jaysgardenOctober 4, 2011

Just getting around to some home inspection report repairs.

One issue in the report dealt with a heal joint in the attic. It stated,

"1) One of the rafters lacks a heal joint connection to the ceiling joist at the north side of the main attic area. It is recommended that solid blocking be installed. "

Check the link below for a photo of the inspection report page that deals with this issue, photos of the actual issue and photos of possible repair scenarios.

My question is what is the proper repair? Take a look at the 2 photos dealing with repairs and suggest if one is better than the other or some other option.

Thanks for the advice.


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The "problem" description and the pictures in your link don't correlate with my understanding of "heel joint", so I can't make any suggestions. Blocking will not do squat on a tension member, which is the joisting.

Your home inspector has a lifetime's worth of overtime employment if these are the nits he picks...if it ain't broke don't fix it. There are cracked wood structurals around the world that came off the skid that way.

On the other hand, the doubled and tripled members, what do they head off?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 6:02AM
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That double is resting on a wall below and that triple kind of has something to do with a tray ceiling below. I attached a few more photos.

I agree that the inspector's terminology of heel joint, where the double and triple terminate are wrong. I'm no framing carpenter but my search of the term heel joint mostly deals with trusses)where the top and bottom chord meet)

Maybe my question should be is it improper the way this double and triple is terminated, without any connection(at the double and triple's end face) to another framing
member? I am taking the home inspector at his word that something improper is done here.

I have contacted the home inspector but he has not returned any messages.

I added a few more photos.

In the preface of the inspection report it states:

Items noted for "Review/Repair as Needed" in black refers to a deferred maintenance condition and or component(s) or condition(s) that should be monitored with a possible need for future repairs.

Items noted for "Review/Repair as Needed" in orange are considered to be a defect of functional concern
and or a system/component not performing as intended. The condition(s) and or component(s) should be reviewed and repaired by an appropriate person.

The inspector refers to the term "heal joint" in two places on report page. Under the Orange Review Repair and under the black Review Repair I attached a photo of what I think he is referring to under the Orange section and I understand that.

It is what he is referring to under the black section that is the topic of this post and is puzzling me.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 8:05AM
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Re: the double & triple header supporting the tray ceiling; they appear to be resting on something (photos 6&9 ), perhaps a wall at right angles running north/south?

Further, there is a two stud post to the right of the triple (looking east). I am ASSUMING there is ample load bearing under this area.
If that is the case, tieing the headers into the joist is unnecessary, though I agree it "looks" sloppy.*
If not the case, you need a competent carpenter or structural eng. to advise a correction. I cannot see all the details, but blocking will do nothing.
* A piece of plywood long (~64") and wide centered over this area with a close nailing pattern would solve any concerns about separation though I don't think that's an issue.
Since your attic is stick framed, not truss construction, I'd bet that the rafters have seat cuts, or birds mouths...or heel joints. The joint prohibits the rafter sliding off the sill plate. The joist nailed to the rafter prevents roof loads from pushing walls apart. I do not see how blocking applies here. Rafter and joist must be tied together, typically a load in shear(nailing).
The twisting evinced in photo 17 is typical of SPF as it dries. If that is what the inspector is citing I'd say he's picking fly $hit out of pepper.
Is re-sale contingent on this inspection?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 6:07AM
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Alphonse....I bought the house months ago and like I said I was just getting around to some of the inspection report issues. The inspector did say that what he sees in the attic is no big issue with only one twisted rafter and 2 that have cracks. He said he would be more concerned if there were like 10 rafters with cracks and a lot more that were twisted. But I'm a nit-picker.

I think I'm just going to remedy the twisted rafter at the south side of the attic. I'll drill a hole thru rafter and joist and pull together with bolt? Been told to keep it high to not pull the drywall ceiling fastener to pop.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 7:21AM
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"I think I'm just going to remedy the twisted rafter at the south side of the attic. I'll drill a hole thru rafter and joist and pull together with bolt? Been told to keep it high to not pull the drywall ceiling fastener to pop."

You could do that, and it's wise caution about drywall popping. But be careful where you put holes through joists/rafters.

It appears that what the blocking alluded to by inspector in this case is between the pairs of rafters...compression elements that prevent twisting, just like X braces. A common strategy was to run a lengthwise member (2x) atop the joists and toenail the rafters.

If you use blocking remember to allow airflow from soffit to ridge.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 8:00AM
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Alphonse...are you suggesting using blocking to fix the twisting rafter shown in picture 17?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 9:38AM
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I'm saying that's what I think the inspector meant, which I initially misunderstood.
There are a number of ways to "fix" the issue. A c-clamp would work. So would the through bolt, just be careful where you put the hole.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 6:06AM
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