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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I am in the due diligence period for a house that was inspected yesterday. I had the opportunity to go over the state of the place while the inspector was doing his thing. I wanted to ask for some insight on an issue with a problematic opening between the two main roos=ms in the front of the house. There is a "beam" spanning the full width of the main room that joins the fireplace/living room with the kitchen. The roof support beams/members look to be resting on top of whatever this structural member(s) is that is encased in plaster board. That support beam is sagging 1.5 inches lower at the center than what is measured where that "beam" meets the walls. There are cracks in the beam's plaster, and what looks like pinching in the plaster at the top center.
It looks as if somebody decided to remove a wall that once divided that living room and the kitchen. If so, I suppose they neglected to properly engineer a supporting member required to span that new 17 foot wide opening. Obviously we can't really know what is going on under there without getting into that plaster... but it sounds hollow, rather than there being one thick solid wooden beam under the plaster.
My question is.... Is the easiest/least costly solution here to put back a supporting wall to provide the support necessary to hold that roof in place? Maybe even just a 5-6 foot long section of wall at the center? Maybe replace half of the wall, only having half of the opening into the other room.
It is a 1952 flat roof (very low pitch) house.
What do you all think?




 

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retired framer
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If the walls are not showing cracks around the beam, you might assume there is enough support for the weight they carry.
So the hidden beam is to small for the load and may be a little destructive but simple enough to make stronger.
Open concept was also being done in mid century modern houses, so it could be original to the house.
So before adding a wall for support you would want to be sure there is support below the floor for that.
Did you check the roof for a corresponding dip, or has the roof been corrected for slope from above.
What ever you do could change things at the roofing that might need attention at the same time.
 

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It looks as if somebody decided to remove a wall that once divided that living room and the kitchen.
That's exactly what happened. Once you open the sheetrock you can see how serious it is. Simplest solution would be a decorative column in the middle ... or a bookshelf or room divider.

I would use that as a negotiating point ... ask about if the work was permitted, inspected, etc. It’s a potentially serious item.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, Nealtw & HFE
I don't see major cracking in walls at beam ends... though I see little crack fixing/patching done at the one end that terminates close to the top of the window, which may be from quakes... California desert. As for the roof... I personally did not get on the roof. Inspector did. Still waiting on report. It is an older tar/gravel membrane roof? Looks like torch, but much more grainy. Can't tell... didn't get up there. I have a pic shot from side. Can't really make out from the angle about a corresponding dip in the roof. The roof is pretty much shot. Neighbor told me it hasn't been replaced since 1970's. Just patch work. Inspector said as much... roof is past prime. As you can see... roof is pretty darn flat, typical of a 50's California desert house we see out here. Anywho, if it is just the hidden bean that is likely too small for the load... what, besides a supporting wall/post, would be a way to strengthen that beam? Or would a new engineered beam be needed? That, I would think, would be the costliest?
Pics:



 

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retired framer
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If the roof is at end of life and maybe in need of replacement then I think with some investigating it would be fixable one way or other. Of coarse, I would be looking for a fair discount for things that the seller is already aware of.
You might ask for quotes they may have received when considering fixing it before listing it for sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Nealtw, seller is out of state. She has not seen the home in many years, and has no knowledge of current issues.... other than what her agent has described in the visual disclosure form. The Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure is "Crack in paint of overhead beam as noted. Buyer strongly recommended to obtain professional inspection." Also noted by seller is that property has been rental over 10 years and seller has not seen property for a number of years. So, that is what I will be bargaining against... seller has stated that she is married to her number, though that was before my buyer inspection was performed. I will iron it out, or walk. Old Bulldog Push Matic panel and seller agent had the carpet pulled up in the two bedrooms just before my inspection... and they revealed (and pulled a few up and broke apart) asbestos vinyl tiles and black mastic adhesive. Oops.

Anyway... if we are talking about keeping a full opening like current situation, are we looking at LVL type engineered beam in order to satisfy load? Are there other ways to strengthen what is there without wall or engineered beam?
 

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Married to the price? Care to share? And what part of the world is it located?
I would propose a 30% reduction in price due to the structural issues, and the roof.

Guaranteed there is little to NO insulation in the tiny space between the drywall and roofing materials. I can not tell for sure but it looks to me that a new roof is needed SOON.

The outside pics do not show an air conditioner, and if your in the desert SW your going to want one. There is no room for duct work in the existing ceiling. These semi modern homes were the rage in Tucson in the mid 70's into the 80's when electricity was 0.04 a kwh, Tucson is 0.13 now.

Run away
 

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If you don't want a post holding up the middle, or some kind of middle wall section with like a TV hanging and fireplace ... and the roof is " shot "

Get it the structural issue and roof well documented. Get the price down.

Considering it's flat, sagging possibly ... new roof, plus energy efficiency ( insulation, air conditioning, heat ) and rain water catchment would probably be smart; I'd be thinking: new pitched roof using trusses.

But if the roof is actually structurally sound, maybe just remove existing material, get eyes on the wood, then insulation boards on top, new drip edging and new rolled roofing or a membrane. White seal coat over it.
 

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retired framer
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Nealtw, seller is out of state. She has not seen the home in many years, and has no knowledge of current issues.... other than what her agent has described in the visual disclosure form. The Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure is "Crack in paint of overhead beam as noted. Buyer strongly recommended to obtain professional inspection." Also noted by seller is that property has been rental over 10 years and seller has not seen property for a number of years. So, that is what I will be bargaining against... seller has stated that she is married to her number, though that was before my buyer inspection was performed. I will iron it out, or walk. Old Bulldog Push Matic panel and seller agent had the carpet pulled up in the two bedrooms just before my inspection... and they revealed (and pulled a few up and broke apart) asbestos vinyl tiles and black mastic adhesive. Oops.

Anyway... if we are talking about keeping a full opening like current situation, are we looking at LVL type engineered beam in order to satisfy load? Are there other ways to strengthen what is there without wall or engineered beam?
What ever a beam you would need would be engineered maybe with out an engineer. But you could put some huge beam in the size of box they built around that.
Price depends on how many people show interest.
 
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