Utilitarian, a fancy and I might add a little hard to pronounce word that means useful, practical, handy. The opposite of which is useless, worthless and unhandy. Is unhandy a word? Any how, in my eventful explorations of houses, I find all manner of attempts at reinventing the wheel. Some people put forth great effort merely to accomplish failure. Leaving behind monuments to their creativity and misguided endeavor.
So it was recently while traversing a roof top. A high roof with a low pitch. If I'm going to be that high, I'd rather be on a gentle slope. Not to pick on any of my fellow inspectors, but this was an instance where being up close and personal was very revealing and somewhat amusing.
Before I step onto any roof I scan the field, just to see if anything jumps out at me. I look at the shingles close to me, the gutter, the penetrations and step on to the roof. On this low pitched roof things were leaping out at me.
One of the most frequent issues I find with low sloped roofs is penetrations that have been incorrectly flashed. Almost every time the plumbing vents have a typical sloped roof flashing collar installed on the pipe that has been slathered with tar and or caulk to "seal" it.
Through this particular roof were several pipes which drew me like a tractor beam. The first one I examined had some wonderful variations on the caulking theme, one that was new to me. I love finding new tricks to tell my clients NOT to do.
The rubber collar was very loosey goosey, not even closely sealing off the pipe from rain and the elements. Since this sloped roof vent had been installed under the rolled asphalt covering, it could not be easily replaced with another wrong one. This problem screamed for a solution outside the box.
The person who found this solution is a creative thinker. Instead of the usual and ugly black roof tar or sticky old caulk, expandable fire caulk was sprayed in from below. No leaks and its fire safe!
Then there was the pipe in the pipe. Um, how exactly is that water proof? Oh right, more fire caulk. You have to love expandable foam.
I have saved the best for last.
The roof vent installed near the lower part of the slope. Wait that's not the best part. Can you see the problem here? I would bet most people can, with the exception of the person who installed the vent.
It's backwards! The screened opening faces up the slope in the direction the water flows.
I think this problem needs another solution from a spray can.