How to Look

at a House


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HOME INSPECTION
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We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

   These two checks are meant for preliminary evaluation only. We still recommend that you consult a construction professional or engineer before tearing down any interior walls or ceilings. There are sometimes secondary engineering issues that may need to be worked out. When a homeowner takes out the ceilings in a living room, for example, to expose the roof rafters and create a dramatic cathedral ceiling, there’s a new problem that must be solved: the ceiling joists act as a stiffener (by triangulation) to keep the roof rafters from splaying the tops of the walls outward where they bear. Alternate stiffening members must be installed, such as collar ties.

   There are also electric receptacles and switches, along with plumbing, that may be in the wall to be removed that have to be considered. Sometimes removing the plumbing or electrical is a straightforward job, especially if the removed material is at the end of a run. But, if the pipes or wiring are in the middle of a transfer of electricity or fluids to other points in the home, the work becomes more complicated.

   You should also be prepared for the possibility of a few minor cracks around the area of a removed wall, even one that is not load-bearing. This is because, although a wall is not designed to be load-bearing, it still ends up transferring some of the weight above it to the ground; and, when you remove the wall, the load distribution shifts and the structural members adjust a little. Any cracks that occur will happen in the first few months after the work is done and, once repaired, should not happen again.

   We are always willing, during your home inspection, to take a few minutes to check on the load-bearing status of a wall you want to make disappear, and discuss what the wall removal process entails.

   To find out how much you can safely cut out of a floor joist when remodeling a house, go to our blog: How much can I cut out of a floor joist?


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

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