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nayak143 06-10-2009 12:03 PM

Sagging Roof
6 Attachment(s)
Hi Everyone,
I know similar questions have been asked and I did go over them. I am buying an old house (build in 1912). The roof is sagging.

I have added the pictures here. The recent owner have been there since 2006 and she does not know much about it, except the rooms in attic were constructed just before she bought it. The roof and the dormer were already there, meaning the dormer should be atleast be 10 yrs old.
Since the attic is finished I have no way of seeing if they have provided additional support to arrest the sagging roof. The attic has eve space and hence they may have put in proper kneel wall. There is also a dry wall running in the center (partition for rooms) along the same direction as the roof.
Is there anyway to find if the sagging is stopped without opening the roof?
If the sagging is not arrested, how to fix it at this point?


redline 06-10-2009 03:47 PM

The last picture of the exterior of the roof seems to show that the ridge line of the roof seems straight.
Would need more photos from different angles for a better understanding.
How much does it sag?
Over what span?
is it just one side of the roof or both sides? (front and back)

nayak143 06-10-2009 04:49 PM

The ridge sags in the middle. The dormer is on the other side. I will try to get a picture from the other side.
Again the sag is in the middle and the bulge is on both sides of the walls. In the last picture, just above the door, the roof bulges out.
The sag is kind of over the full span. From the other side you can see a semi circle sag over the full span of the ridge.

redline 06-10-2009 07:19 PM

If the rooms in the attic were added but the floor joists (old attic) were not properly size then the added weight of the rooms may have caused the roof to sag. If the knee walls were added but there is not support below them then they are not doing their job and are just adding more weight to the 2nd floor.

Does the floor in the 2nd level sag?
Does the ceiling on the 1st floor sag?

The added weight of the remodeled 2nd floor plus the prior owners furniture/beds... would have put additional strain on the 1st floor ceiling as that is what would be carrying the roof/2nd floor load.

redline 06-10-2009 07:25 PM

I would either cut a small hole in the floor or pull a small area of plywood to see what size the floor joist are that support the 2nd floor. Or you may be able to going into a first floor closet and remove a small section of the ceiling to see what size the 2nd floor joist are.

If they are 6" than that is too small.

Many people do an attic remodel but fail to realize that the floor to the attic is normally not built to hold constant loads of people and furniture.

nayak143 06-10-2009 08:37 PM

Thanks redline. I did not look at the first floor ceiling. Will do this asap and will update the post. Also will try to make a hole in the second floor (attic) ceiling and see what's up there.

Scuba_Dave 06-10-2009 09:24 PM

My 2nd floor was mostly finished - from the 50's
The floor joists are 2x6
You should have an attic access panel, tey may have covered it over
If so I would make a new one
Walk-in closet (or any closet) is best location if not used for storage

Ed the Roofer 06-11-2009 12:17 AM

Maybe you are right and maybe you are not.

Are you sure, that what you are looking at is not just an optical illusion?

The gutter has it's high point located in the center of the eave and drops downward to both ends, where I presume there are 2 downspouts located, but I couldn't see them in the photo.

By the high point of the gutter being in the middle of the roof, you may just be thinking that the roof is sagging in the center.

It does not look like it is from the photos you supplied so far.

I have seen severe sagging and it is usually just a cosmetic aesthetic nuance, but not structurally unsound, just settling from the many years of Live and Dead Load accumulations.


redline 06-11-2009 09:24 AM


Originally Posted by nayak143 (Post 285731)
Also will try to make a hole in the second floor (attic) ceiling and see what's up there.

If the floors on the second floor have a sag then you would feel it when you walk across them if it was that bad. or use a level and see how far the floor sags. If the floor does not sag then the problem may be in the roof members.

Are you confortable on a ladder?
You could run a string line from one side of the ridge of the roof and the other side and see if there is a severe sag.

You also have a chimney in the middle of the roof. Older homes have chimneys that settle and may get caught on the framing of a house and pull that section down with it. Would need further investigation to determine.

Do you know if the prior owners removed a load bearing wall on the first floor ?

redline 06-11-2009 09:30 AM

Is there a bathroom on the 2nd floor?
Is it located in the middle of the home?
If you walk across the 2nd floor does the floor tend to bounce?
If you do a small jump/hop on the second floor does the floor have a severe bounce?

redline 06-11-2009 09:35 AM

Did you check to see if the second floor remodel had a permit?

nayak143 06-11-2009 02:12 PM

Redline and Ed. Honestly I was not expecting too many responses. You guys are great.
Floor on the second floor is good. No sagging and actually feels sturdy. There is a bathroom on the right end.
Not sure if the chimney pulled it down. But the first floor is a little sunk in the middle(floor is sloping towards the chimney) and it looked like they provide more support in the basement to fix this. There are metal columns and additional support from chimney to the floor.
I did not check the permit records.
I will add more information and pictures soon.

Thanks again.

Scuba_Dave 06-11-2009 02:16 PM

It may be just the picture
But it does look like the chimney is slanted slightly to the left
In some cases that can happen over time
In other cases its very shortly after being built
My 2x6 floor (old wood) is also very sturdy

redline 06-11-2009 03:50 PM


Originally Posted by nayak143 (Post 285474)
I am buying an old house (build in 1912). The roof is sagging.

Is this your first home buying experience?
Have you asked other friends/relatives to look at the roof and see if it is sagging?
Have you had a inspector check out the entire home? ---wiring, plumbing, sewer, furnace...---

nayak143 06-11-2009 07:05 PM

This is my first house. I did get it inspected and the inspector was concerned about the roof. Contractor is taking a look at the house but in the meantime I am trying to understand the issue as much as I can.
Like everyone I am scared that I will be taken for a ride. In this economy this is a huge investment for me but had to do this for my kids.

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