Roofing

The Return of the Rains

The return of the winter rains have occurred in Salem, Oregon.    Although our wonderful indian summer was enjoyable, it prolonged my inability to find leaks effectively.

Now that a sufficient soaking rain has occurred I can once again find leaks that are not readily visible.

Check out this skylight I inspected recently:

Visual inspection of a leaking skylight on a Salem Oregon Home inspection

Looks good right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The visible surface of the drywall appeared to be just fine with no stains or bubbles or any tell tale signs of problems.  Thank goodness I have a highly advanced thermal camera:

Thermal image showing skylight roof leakage on a Salem Oregon home Inspection

Those blue areas are current moisture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sad to see the sunshine go away but my effectiveness as a home inspector just went up a few notches!

Multi-Layer Roofs

Multi- Layer roofs are roofs that have had an additional layer of roofing added over the top of a layer that has reached the end of its useful life.

Multi-layer roofs are the goto solution for house “flippers” and people that need a new roof surface but would like to do it as inexpensively as possible.

Salem, Oregon home inspection showing a multi layer roof

The edge of the roof is the best location to determine if you have a multi-layer roof.

There are some benefits and some problems with this situation:
The main upside to going over the top of an existing layer of shingles is cost. The labor that it takes to remove the old roof and the dump costs can be directly subtracted from the cost of the new roof. In general this savings equals around 10 to 20 percent of the cost of the new roof. If you are planing to move in the near future this saving may seem like a good deal.

Now lets look at the downsides. Wear and tear: Multi layer roofs are usually not warranted by the shingle manufactures and they will not last as long. How much shorter the new shingle’s life will be depends on many variables but two thirds to three quarters the life is a safe bet. Also multi-layer roofs will have more issues with nail pops, or fasteners that poke through the surface of the new shingles. This condition is due to the fasteners not being long enough to penetrate through the old shingles and in to the wood sheathing properly.

As a local Salem, Oregon home inspector I see these type roofs often and it is important my client understands what a multi-layer roof actually means. Most shingles are at least 20 year products (if they are installed correctly!) so even on a multi-layer roof you should have at least 12-15 years of relatively trouble free roofing.

Seller’s inspections are good for everyone!

Buyer: “I do not want that home.”

Listing agent: “….but the defect in the roof is relatively minor, and can be fixed for a few hundred dollars.”

Buyer: “If the contractors did this wrong who knows where else they cut corners!”
fungus growing on roof sheathing on this new home Missing building paper on this home's roof in Dallas Oregon.  Noted on a home inspection.
This situation happens more often than you would think. A good home inspector is paid to enter a home and tell the client about how the home works and how the house compares to a perfect house. Home inspectors that have been in the business for some time rely heavily on professionals in the real estate field who refer us. Finding relatively small material defects that cause our clients to want to scrap the deal happens more often than most of us would prefer. Our client’s risk tolerance is not up for us to decide and a relatively minor defect in one person’s eyes can be looming shadow over the entire rest of the house in another’s.

To combat the dreaded “surprise defects,” seller’s inspections have become more and more popular. In my opinion these inspections are one of the best things that can be done by a seller to prepare their home to sell.

There is no such thing as a “perfect” home. This is one the first things that I tell a client, whether they’re buying or selling a home. The purpose of a good home inspection is to be a consultation. As a comparison I use a “perfect home,” as a fictitious example of the ways and a home could be better.

Every home has issues and as a part of preparing your home to sell, it should be in the best possible condition. Repair issues that can be easily taken care of, by a seller, can and do scare away buyers. This can only be prevented by discovering defects early. This early discovery allows you to take care of the issue on your terms.

Having your home inspected first can also attract buyers. If a buyer knows that there are no big issues with a home they will be more comfortable. Another benifit to consider……
Buyer’s agents may be more likely to show your home if they know that it will not be a waste of time.

Seller inspections are good for everyone involved in the transaction

Leaks in the Roof tracked back to Problems with Original Installation and some Ideas for a quick and dirty Tar Seal

The other day I helped a client with an unfortunate situation: her home’s roof was leaking.


The worst part of this issue was the fact that she had paid roofers to find and repair this leak multiple times.

This last summer she even had the drywall repaired under the leak
figuring that the roofers had actually done what they had been paid to
do.

By the time she got a hold of me she had reached the end of her
rope and was on the edge of tears. I told her that I would be happy to
come do an inspection to locate the leak and hopefully give her some unbiased answers.


When I got to her home she showed me the areas of concern. I crawled up
in her attic and there was little doubt as to the source of the leakage.
The valleys were soaking wet.


Roofing like other construction trades is relatively basic but just
because it’s basic does not mean that it should be slapped together any
old way. The installation guidelines must be strictly followed.
Something as simple as an additional bevel cut into the end of a shingle
can be the difference between proper installation an leakage.

There are many different ways to do a proper valley installation. Each style has their own particular guidelines.

This particular home had a “Closed cut valley.”

 

-1. The first part of this installation is the lining of the valley
with an additional layer of building paper or metal liner.
This layer
serves to be a ‘last line of defense’ if all of the other layers of
protection fail.

-This step was likely neglected on this particular
roof.


 

-2. The next step is that one entire roof slope (the smaller section of roof or lower slope) of shingles should be
installed completely and extended past the center line at least 12
inches.

-It is difficult to determine if this guideline was followed.


-3. The next step is to roof the other adjoining roof slope.  Along with this step the top edge of the shingles must be cut-back and beveled to prevent water infiltration. The acute angle that is at the tips of these extended shingles may
act as a scoop and funnel if they are not provided with an additional
cut to bevel this edge.

-This step was neglected on this roof.

-4. When all of the shingles that are close to the valley are fastened to the roof it is important to hold the
fasteners away from the center line of the valley at least six inches.

-This step was also not adhered to precisely.

The bad news is that my client has some work ahead of her.  She is not quite ready to sell and the rest of her roof has at least 5 more good years of service.  It is not a great financial decision to properly repair the valleys since the rest of her roof will need replacement in the near future. So what kind of patching options are there?

Since the valleys are the issue it is possible to seal the leaks with a generous coat of tar.  However most tar (flexible asphalt based sealers) are recommended to be installed when the surface is dry.  With a little research I found this stuff:

http://www.dewittproducts.com/catalog.asp?prodid=627618&showprevnext=1

This product claims that it is specially formulated to be installed upon wet surfaces! Sounds pretty good to me!

I also discovered a great little post from someone in a similar situation about how to apply the goop: http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/roof/patch1/tar/temporary.htm

The person in the above post makes it pretty clear that the tar is a TEMPORARY SEAL!!! This is an important point and as long as a good layer is reapplied in the summer my client should be leak free until she is ready to replace the entire roof.

Powered by ScribeFire.

How old is your roof? This Salem Oregon Inspection has a trick!

My favorite part of being a home inspector here in Salem, Oregon is learning CONSTANTLY! For an attentive observer, there are always things to learn about.

A few years ago I was on a roof and the agent asked me how old the roof was. I told her that I couldn’t really tell, but that I guessed that it was maybe 1 or 2 years old. She asked me why didn’t I look at the date stamp on the flashing boot?

………….(•blank-home-inspector-look•) The wha…….?

Yup, every so often even the know-it-all home inspector has something to learn. Right there, stamped for all whom know where to look, is the date that the flashing was made. Of course this is not an exact date of roof installation but it is usually within 6 months.

Pretty neat little trick.

That is NOT how to clean moss of your roof!

First time home buyers are fantastic.  Never before have you had to do any kind of maintenance on the place that you were living.  If there was a problem you just called the landlord.

Now, you are going to be in charge of an ENTIRE house!!  It can be intimidating, especially after a good home inspection!  Not to fear you first timers, there have been lots of people in your shoes and many with even less technical understanding of the maintenance issues that plague your new home.

In the Salem, Oregon area one very common issue that will require attention is moss growth on your roof.  To be fair, this is not a life and death issue, however with less than a few hours of attention a year this issue can be effectively controlled.

Moss tends to grow in the shady sides of the home.  Mostly this has to do with the 8 months or so that your roof will stay wet in these areas.  This constant moisture creates an ideal location for algae population.  If moss is allowed to flourish unchecked it can create little pockets that catch and hold moisture.  Also the moss can actually begin to lift the shingles.  All of this catching and lifting will slow the water that is running down the slope and the longer water is on your roof the shorter the life of your roof will be.

Ok, we know that moss is not good but how do we control it?  Moss killer.

Moss does not like reactive metals like zinc and copper.  Commercial available moss killers like, “MossOut or any of the other sprays or powders are best.

  • The moss control measures that do not work or maybe work too well, at the expense of the life of your roof are: Strips of zinc that claim to leach onto the roof and kill moss continually.  These strips are good only in theory and only tend to protect about two feet of the down hill roof surface.
  • Also, moss will die if treated with laundry detergents, however laundry soaps have surfactants (read: de-greasers).  Composite shingles are made of asphalt (read: grease!).  These detergents can quickly chew holes in your roof!!
  • Power washers.  Please, please DO NOT power wash your composite shingle roof.  The idea behind killing moss is to prolong the life of your roof.  You will quickly shorten the life of the roof you are trying to prolong by blowing it to smithereens with a well meaning power washer.

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to find a roof leak

Can you tell me how to  find, how to find a roof leak ……..

While most people complain about our recent downpours they have been providing me with much-needed rain to make leaks light up.  One of the biggest benefits having a thermal image camera is the ability to see things you can’t see with your visual senses.  A recent inspection on a home on Sesame Street and no I don’t need you to tell me how to get there, I found a leak that wasn’t showing through the finished surfaces yet….

Although advanced in age the surface of the roof did appear to be satisfactory.  On initial scans from the kitchen and family room there did appear to be an interesting cool spot in the family room and upon further investigation this cool spot did in fact turn out to be a current wet spot. This was roof leak.

Although no Big bird or other Muppets could be noted during my investigation, I did provide some much-needed information for my clients.   Thermal Imaging again proved its value and ensured my client’s home would be a safe and dry place to live

Builders are Just Human or You Still Need a Home Inspection on a new Salem Oregon Home

I was poking around one of the many good deals in real estate here in Salem, Oregon the other day and I noticed this “small” roof leak.

I love my job.  Above and beyond me finding problems with my client’s new homes, my job is to educate them on how their home works.  Most people who are willing to climb on a roof could notice that this roof vent is out-of-place but explaining the vital function of the roof vent is my job and I love it.

Home inspections are more than just a check list of the “problems” in a home.   They are a great start in the educational process that we as homeowners need to actively pursue.

 

 

Kickout Flashing

Kick-out flashing is an important and misunderstood type of flashing for today’s tight building systems.  The guys at InterNACHI wrote a great article on the finer points of Kick-out flashing and its importance:

By Nick Gromicko, Rob London and Kenton Shepard http://www.nachi.org/kick-out-flashing.htm

Kickout flashing, also known as diverter flashing, is a special type of flashing that diverts rainwater away from the cladding and into the gutter. When installed properly, they provide excellent protection against the penetration of water into the building envelope. Several factors can lead to rainwater intrusion, but a missing kickout flashing, in particular, often results in concentrated areas of water accumulation and potentially severe damage to exterior wakick-out-flashinglls.

Inspectors should make sure that kickouts are present where they are needed and that they are installed correctly. Water penetration into the cladding can occasionally be observed on the exterior wall in the form of vertical water stains, although inspectors should not rely on visual identification. There may be severe damage with little or no visible evidence.

Inspectors may observe the following problems associated with kickout flashing:

The kickout was never installed.

•The need for kickout flashing developed fairly recently and the builder may not have been aware that one was required. The increased amount of insulation and building wrap that is used in modern construction makes buildings less breathable and more likely to sustain water damage. Kickout flashing prevents rainwater from being absorbed into the wall and is more essential than ever.

The following are locations where kickout flashing is critical:

•anywhere a roof and exterior wall intersect, where the wall continues past the lower roof-edge and gutter. If a kickout flashing is absent in this location, large amounts of water may miss the gutter, penetrate the siding, and become trapped inside the wall; and

•where gutters terminate at the side of a chimney. The kickout was improperly installed.

•The bottom seam of the flashing must be watertight. If it is not, water will leak through the seam and may penetrate the cladding. missing-kick-out-flashing

•The angle of the diverter should never be less than 110 degrees. The kick-out was modified by the homeowner.

•Homeowners who do not understand the importance of kickouts may choose to alter them because they are unsightly. A common way this is done is to shorten their height to less than the standard six inches (although some manufacturers permit four inches), which will greatly reduce their effectiveness. Kickout flashings should be the same height as the side wall flashings.

•Homeowners may also make kickout flashings less conspicuous by cutting them flush with the wall. In summary, kickout flashing should be present and properly installed in order to direct rainwater away from the cladding.

All content copyright © 2006-2009 the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc.

All content is Copywritten and is the property of Perfection Inspection Inc.  Any usage that is not expressly permitted by Perfection Inspection Inc. is considered infringement and is punishable by law.