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Site built trusses

Chris Bernhardt

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Did an inspection on an older house with several additions. In one of the additions there are 2"x4" trusses that were stapled and also had metal plate connectors added but the stapling is sloppy and its obvious that the plates were hand hammered on and look like hell. The chords just don't look like they have sound connections.

If it was my house I would fix them but should it be concluded that its a deficiency if there is no failure yet? The trusses are probably 20 years old.

Chris, Oregon

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In spite of my fear of being hammered-on like those truss members you were talking about, I'll offer my two cents.

You are a sharp guy, Chris. I trust your opinion, without asking for pictures or anything else. Regardless of the strength of the members, truss systems fail at bad joints. If the joints are bad, the system is bad. I would call it out. It was done poorly by a clueless "handyman."

Not that it would change my answer, but I'm just curious: floor truss or roof truss?

The day will be interesting when, as you enter a home, a seller says, "Oh, my husband is SO handy."

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It looks like your basic slammed together truss. POS.

It's going to move continually, albeit slowly, until the entire assembly has that sort of twisted saggy look. Takes about 20-30 years, so it should be showing up if you eyeball the exterior wall & roof lines.

Nothing's going to happen quickly, unless a tornado or high wind decides to speed up what gravity is already doing. Given the tragedy in Alabama yesterday, it's not hard to imagine that roof blowing up, down, or sideways in a high wind, and folks could get killed.

I'd write it as a badly constructed assembly, describe a few specifics, tell them it will settle continually, and if a high wind gets involved, it might fail catastrophically. Refer it to a general contractor for bracing & reinforcement. If someone asks when, tell them 1987.

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