Real Estate Inspections...what's really important when it come to problems? By Steve Gladstone Chief Inspector Stonehollow Inspections Part 2

By
Home Inspector with Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections & Testing

 

Okay I'm only up to part two and I'm off schedule already. Forgive me , I live a busy life.

2. Roofing problems 

As a home inspector we are constantly evaluating roofs.  Last year I helped author an excellent textbook on roofing for Kaplan Professional schools. The book covers many aspects of roof inspection and was many chapters and pages but I will be less wordy here.

If a roof is asphalt shingles for the most part expect a life expectancy of 17-25 years. The thicker they are the more likely they might make it that long. Wood shingles rarely go much over 25 years and that really depends on the exposure to the weather and the amount of insulation and ventilation in the attic. Terra Cotta & Cement tile roofs can last many years 30 to 50 years, as can slate and asbestos roofs (sometimes they can go more).  But they all need frequent re-inspection from someone with a keen eye. 

While we work off an educated guess, most of the time even a brand new roof can leak and many times the common denominator is the supervision or lack of it on the job of the roofing companies owner or lead roofer.

Many roofs are snuck in without a permit or the building department might not make a big deal. But more and more big expenses for roofing and re-roofing are becoming the norm.

While I'm at it...it really doesn't matter how many layers of roofing are on the home...as all of them should be removed before another layer is installed. No ifs and or buts. Why would you want to nail thru a 20 year old material that is cracking and losing its weathertightness. Get rid of all the old stuff. Examine the plywood or whatever materials used for the roof sheathing and make sure it is not delaminating (coming apart).  Then add ice and water shield to prevent additional water protection.   

Putting a new  and fully warranted roof on a home before you sell, is a brilliant way to make a buyer feel that the owner is taking good care of the home.

Inspection tips: for buyer's and sellers... wash the ceiling areas of a room with a bright beam from a flashlight. Look for water dripping, unevenness, plaster cracks or fractures and stains.  Home sellers should disclose any previous leakage and offer quotes on items not yet repaired.  Don't forget to look at the ceilings of closets. These are often never repaired.

Skylights, vent stacks, venting , chimneys and flashing details all need annual re-inspection.

New buyers don't want the hassle of shopping for a new roof, nor do they want to supervise or check quality control. They just want to know it's been done and there's a warranty.

Realtors should never make light of leakage or roofing issues as water entering can quickly escalate into mold mitigation, stored item damages and illness.

More shortly... can you guess what #3 is ... Think bugs! 

 

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Rainer
104,204
Rosario Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
GRI, SRES - DDR Realty - Orange County, NY
Thanks for the roofing tips. I find concern for roof condition to be foremost with buyers.
Aug 03, 2007 02:08 AM #1
Rainer
67,462
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp
Good post.  In regards to wood roofs, I think you are a bit high on the life expectancy.  In the old days, when roof shakes were made of Old Growth Cedar, they lasted a long time.  Today, shakes come primarily from second growth wood that does not have the rot resistance that the old growth had.  You can get pressure treated wood shakes that, in my opinion, are ugly.  Some jurisdictions (California for one) have banned new wood roofs because of the fire hazard.
Aug 03, 2007 05:01 AM #2
Rainer
639,083
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Stephen:

Good tips and reminders. Yes, roofs and foundations are always the buyers biggest concern; number three is septic systems. This is what we deal with over here in Texas. Most people don't realize any problems with the roof until they begin to see signs on the ceiling. You are so right, for the owner, self-check these areas with a bright flash light, that will tell the tale.

Will be looking for #3 blog. 

Aug 03, 2007 08:49 AM #3
Rainer
15,867
Don Rider
EZ Rider Home Inspections LLC. - Bossier City, LA
Shreveport Bossier Home Inspector

Stephen,

Great post on roofs, This is an area that there is a problem 9 out of 10 inspections I do.

 

Don

Aug 03, 2007 09:43 AM #4
Rainer
33,546
Stephen Gladstone
Stonehollow Fine Home Inspections & Testing - Stamford, CT
David... I really am not a fan of wood roofs and they tend to last longer in certain climates but not all. Also the kiss of death is mounting them on plywood and not skip sheathing. Thanks everyone for your comments.  Steve
Aug 03, 2007 02:12 PM #5
Rainer
67,462
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp
Steve, You are absolutely right about the plywood versus skip sheathing comment.  I've noticed recently a lot of builders are using tar paper over skip sheathing when the do shake roofs.  I think this probably defeats the purpose, but don't have any direct evidence.
Aug 03, 2007 08:58 PM #6
Rainer
29,533
Harold Miller
Miller Home Inspection - Camano Island, WA
Certified Professional Home Inspector

Stephen

I have to totally agree with your comment on having a complete tear off performed before installing the new roof. Roof coverings just don't perform as well, and don't last as long when there are multiple layers. I am not sure why codes even allow 3 layers. I think it is a false economy. Good post!

Oct 28, 2007 03:46 AM #7
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Rainer
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Stephen Gladstone

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