Could the upstairs sagging be a bigger issue than we thought?

Jane wrote:

“We are purchasing a home and noticed an upstairs landing seemed a bit off kilter. We called a structural engineer to walk through the home and he said a beam was slightly sagging on the first floor causing the landing issue. He said less than 5/8-inch sag but just eyeballed it. Two exterior doors are also failing to close properly but the regular inspector said this was due to the knobs. It just seems between the upstairs floor and two doors not closing there might be something bigger going on? Should we get a 2nd opinion? Are these common issues?”

Answer:

I’m never really impressed with an engineer that doesn’t take any measurements!  Our field does not lend itself to eyeballing.  If we see multiple items that indicate excessive deflection (sagging) or foundation settling, we will record comprehensive floor level measurements across the affected area or the entire home to help us determine the problem.  We then look at the directions and locations of cracks, doors that are misaligned and even look for areas of the sheetrock that have been patched to help determine if the problem is now stable or if the problem is worsening.  I don’t know if you still have time in your due diligence period or if it can be extended (usually can) but you might benefit from a more scientific approach to evaluate the structure.

 

Follow-up:

Turns out that the “structural engineer” that did the first inspection was actually an “electrical engineer” and he probably should not have been making official judgements on structural items.  Always inquire of your engineer to find out their area of expertise!