7 Things to Keep in Mind When Inspecting a Timber Home

October 13, 2022


When it comes to inspecting a timber home, many of the inspectors don’t even know what they don’t know. They don’t know what information they don’t have. Conducting an inspection of a home not even knowing that you are not qualified to inspect it is a bad position for you to be in.

Timber homes have some different key factors that are very different from normal homes, and it’s important for home inspectors to understand them. If you are looking for a professional inspector for timber home inspection, you should visit a reliable local company to do everything for you. Let's read through this article…

1. Moisture

Though timber homes are built from green logs, they may be built using logs that have been kiln-dried so that their moisture content is no higher than 19%. Some timber homes may have been built using logs with a moisture content somewhere between these two extremes. Moisture content is important because as long as timbers continue to lose bound water -- which is the water contained in the wood's cell material, as opposed to the water in the cell cavities -- the logs will continue to shrink in diameter. The timber walls will settle when the logs will start to shrink, which will result in a loss of height. In a home built with green logs, it’s possible for an 8-foot tall wall to lose 6 inches in height by the time the home has finished settling.

2. Gabled Ends

If the home consists of a gable roof and the gables are built using green logs, the gable wall will settle as the timbers go dry. Normally, the ridge ends are supported by the gabled wall at each end of the roof. If that wall is losing height because the logs are settling, what’s happening to each end of the ridge? Roof connections are going to be stressed until some roof or wall framing component breaks or becomes disconnected if the ridge is securely fastened to the timbers. This is bad. Which component breaks or where the disconnection happens will vary depending on how the home is built.

3. Doors and Windows

What will happen to the doors and windows if the walls are going to lose height? Will they stick or they’ll start to break?

If the service provider understands timber homes properly, the doors and windows will have a settling space above them so that the weight of the wall will not bear on the doors or windows. The space is typically covered with trim which is installed to slide as settling takes place. It may become a big problem if a new home is built with green logs that have no settling installed above the doors and windows. The expert must notice this condition, otherwise, it will cost a great deal of money.

4. Staircases

Anything that is connected to the walls also loses height if the walls lose height. If a staircase rests on a floor at the bottom and, at the same time, is attached to a landing or to floor joists that are losing height as the walls settle, after a while, the treads will no longer be level. There are many solutions to this issue, but the professional must know which one will be suitable.

5. Partition Walls

Partition walls are typically framed conventionally in most timber homes. The partition walls will not settle even if the log walls do so. If the partition walls are framed from floor to ceiling, as they would be in a conventional home, something bad will happen as the settling log walls transfer weight to the partition walls that were not designed to bear weight. The stress will build until the weakest component fails.

The intersections of conventional walls and log walls are needed to be framed using methods that will allow the log walls to settle while the conventional walls stay put. The house owner will face many problems if a proper connection method is not used. The same also goes for other portions of the home that intersect the log walls but don’t settle at the same rate as the logs themselves. This might be a fence or an architectural feature of some sort.

6. Plumbing Pipes and Rigid Conduit

Plumbing pipes and rigid conduits that are installed vertically will accumulate stress as log walls settle In homes of two stories and more. There are several ways to accommodate settling. The methods of using slip joints and coils can be used for overcoming this problem. Flexible copper tubing is sometimes used instead of rigid copper pipe. It’s also possible to see the methods and materials used, but sometimes you have to take a smart guess. Do not forget to disclaim anything you can’t see.

7. Screw Jacks

Timber homes sometimes use screw jacks in order to accommodate settling, which must be adjusted from time to time. You have to know where to look for screw jacks because they are often hidden behind the trim. Posts that support porch roofs and lofts are common places to find screw jacks. They may be installed at the top or bottom of a post.


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