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Old 11-19-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
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Is this common in older houses?


Is it common for exterior load bearing walls to become out of plumb with cathedral ceilings? The house is 30 years old. Most of the walls are perfectly plumb, but I noticed the wall where the cathedral ceiling spans isn't. I also noticed a dip in the roof that started 15 years ago. It hasn't appeared to get any worse. I also haven't noticed the drywall crack at any point. Should I be concerned to the point where I do something about it? I don't know of any fixes other than redoing that portion of the house. The top plates seem to run in a straight line and do not appear to bow at all, yet my level shows the load bearing wall is out of plumb in one area. The area that is out of plumb is only about 10 to 15ft in length.

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Old 11-19-2008, 09:21 PM   #2
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Is this common in older houses?


I wouldn't consider a 30 year old house "older". If it were 130 years old, then yes you might see some out of plumb walls, but on a 30 year old house, you should not. If it were me, I would investigate and see if the cathedral roof framing is done properly. If its a full cathedral with no collar ties, you need a ridge beam, not a ridge board. This is sometimes misunderstood and can have the results you are experiencing.

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Old 11-19-2008, 09:25 PM   #3
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Is this common in older houses?


What pitch is the vault at? Could be possible that the roof truss are not engineered or that being the house is 30 years old the roof truss are not engineered properly. That would make it very likely that the load of a vaulted ceiling will push out on the walls. Were the walls ever perfectly plumb is a question as well. The top plates may seem to be straight but if the walls have been pushed out by the roof they definatly are not. If there are no cracks in the drywall seams I would not worry about fixing the walls to be plumb. However, pulling the ceiling and installing collar ties would ensure the truss did not push the walls out any further.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:45 PM   #4
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Is this common in older houses?


it could be lacking a structural ridge. that's why its down in the center and the center wall are out. BOB
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:06 PM   #5
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Is this common in older houses?


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Originally Posted by mpepin View Post
I wouldn't consider a 30 year old house "older". If it were 130 years old, then yes you might see some out of plumb walls, but on a 30 year old house, you should not. If it were me, I would investigate and see if the cathedral roof framing is done properly. If its a full cathedral with no collar ties, you need a ridge beam, not a ridge board. This is sometimes misunderstood and can have the results you are experiencing.

It just has a 2x8 (or possibly 2x10) at the ridge.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:08 PM   #6
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Is this common in older houses?


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What pitch is the vault at? Could be possible that the roof truss are not engineered or that being the house is 30 years old the roof truss are not engineered properly. That would make it very likely that the load of a vaulted ceiling will push out on the walls. Were the walls ever perfectly plumb is a question as well. The top plates may seem to be straight but if the walls have been pushed out by the roof they definatly are not. If there are no cracks in the drywall seams I would not worry about fixing the walls to be plumb. However, pulling the ceiling and installing collar ties would ensure the truss did not push the walls out any further.

The pitch is 4/12. I live in the south, so there is no snow load.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:08 PM   #7
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Is this common in older houses?


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it could be lacking a structural ridge. that's why its down in the center and the center wall are out. BOB
Can you please explain this further?
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:28 PM   #8
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Is this common in older houses?




The ridge in blue has a center wall supporting the rafters in the center. The rest of the rafters do not have a center support. Both the left and right of the house have a truss system with a normal ceiling. I have outlined the sagging rafter in red. I had the roof replaced three years ago and the roofers sistered a portion of the rafter to remove the sag. It is no longer visible. Is there anything I can do to brace the walls or make them more ridgid?

Last edited by bluefitness; 11-19-2008 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:35 AM   #9
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Is this common in older houses?


the ridge I'm referring to might not pertain to your question, Your taking about trusses. how is your roof framed? with trusses or is it conventional framed. with ridge, rafters.cut and installed on site,
You would be better off posting a picture of the ceiling or area in question. BOB
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:32 AM   #10
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Is this common in older houses?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DIYJIMBONL View Post
What pitch is the vault at? Could be possible that the roof truss are not engineered or that being the house is 30 years old the roof truss are not engineered properly. That would make it very likely that the load of a vaulted ceiling will push out on the walls. Were the walls ever perfectly plumb is a question as well. The top plates may seem to be straight but if the walls have been pushed out by the roof they definatly are not. If there are no cracks in the drywall seams I would not worry about fixing the walls to be plumb. However, pulling the ceiling and installing collar ties would ensure the truss did not push the walls out any further.
If it is a true full cathedral ceiling, it would be constructed with rafters and not with trusses.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:34 AM   #11
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Is this common in older houses?


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it could be lacking a structural ridge. that's why its down in the center and the center wall are out. BOB
Sounds like you're on the right track bob....I'd second this point, and focus there as a start.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:10 AM   #12
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Is this common in older houses?


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the ridge I'm referring to might not pertain to your question, Your taking about trusses. how is your roof framed? with trusses or is it conventional framed. with ridge, rafters.cut and installed on site,
You would be better off posting a picture of the ceiling or area in question. BOB
It is conventional framed. They cut the rafters on site. The area in question does not have trusses. What are you referring to when you say it might be lacking a structural ridge? I can't take a picture of the problem because the rafters are sealed under drywall. There is no cracking or sagging in the ceiling. The roof had a sag in it, but it is no longer visible because the roofers sistered a board to it just for aesthetic purposes (to remove the sag).





I didn't draw the other side of the load bearing wall. About 10 to 15 feet of it span without any center support. Then the remaining rafters have a center wall that goes down to the floor.

Last edited by bluefitness; 11-20-2008 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:13 PM   #13
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Is this common in older houses?


your saying that the walls are not plumb in the area of the cathedral ceiling. which from that my first thought would to visualize this in my head, that the walls are leaning out at the top and for this to take shape the ridge must be sagging in the middle. is there any type of cross support going across this span any where along the rafters..if not this would require a structural ridge. which the ridge would be designed to support the roof load.
The ones that I have built would be constructed of LVL's and Steel plates sandwiched between them. which the term structural ridge. BOB.

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