Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections documents handyman DIY repairs to a roof from a recent home inspection. Noted were displaced shingles, recently repaired and failed which, because they were displaced, I was able to tell there wasn’t a necessary tar paper underlayment installed. If you plan to conduct DIY repairs on your roof, please follow the installation instructions found on every package of roof shingles! Better yet, hire a roofing contractor.
If your roof isn’t too steeply pitched and has material that won’t be damaged by walking on it, AND you are mentally and physically fit to do so, carefully inspect it in good weather. Look for broken or missing shingles, missing or damaged flashing and seals around vent pipes and chimneys and damage to boards along the eaves. Shingle damage up-slope will often cause water damage far downhill. Check the chimney cap and screen and look down the flues for obstructions or animal nests. If you can’t or don’t want to get on the roof, you might want to use a ladder around the perimeter. Pay close attention to valleys and flashings; these are the primary leak-generators. Some simple, easy fixes now can prevent thousands of dollars of water damage later.
Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections discovers improperly installed roof coverings at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island. Without sufficient eave overlap, the underlying fascia trim, sheathing, and rafters are vulnerable to water and insect damage. Water and insect damage were presenting in many areas of this particular home. A qualified roofing contractor will likely advise the installation of a metal drip-edge flashing detail, installed under the roof coverings and overlapping the wood fascia board to help prevent water and insect damage; a roofing contractor may also want to improve the roof covering overlap/overhang as well.
Plumbing vent caps are installed during construction to pressure test the drain-waste-vent plumbing system before it’s filled with water and used regularly. Once the test is passed (e.g., the pipes hold pressure and don’t leak), these caps are supposed to be removed to ensure proper drainage within the home. This vent cap was discovered at a 1999 home on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. Surprisingly, I call this out all the time. If the vent has been abandoned, the cap is appropriate; but this usually isn’t the case. Usually, the plumbing contractor forgets to get back on the roof to remove caps. So, if you see caps, I’d remove them if the pipes aren’t abandoned.
At a recent home inspection in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, I discovered a substantial amount of corrosion presenting at standing seam metal roof coverings. Of course, rust and corrosion will only worsen over time with exposure to the elements, so I advised further evaluation by a qualified roofing contractor to make necessary repairs. Fortunately, there was no evidence (yet) of water intrusion to the interior at the time of inspection, but this is another great reason that it’s important to annually inspect and maintain your roof, even a metal roof.
When you see water stains on the ceiling, together with plastic Tupperware, you know there’s likely an active roof leak! Of course, I use very expensive equipment to confirm (e.g., moisture meter and infrared thermography camera), but this one was obvious. With water intrusion, there’s always the possibility of underlying damage not visible without invasive inspection; it wouldn’t hurt to open the ceiling and look for possible mold growth. This was discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.
If you note that some, or any, of your black ABS vent pipes on the roof are capped, there’s a good chance that the contractor forgot to remove the caps after construction. These caps are designed to pressure test the vent and drainage system to make sure they don’t leak as a condition of the building inspection. After the test, the contractor is supposed to remove these caps but this step is sometimes missed. So, if you see caps atop your roof, take them off unless the pipe itself has been abandoned (e.g., from a remodel).
Handyman framing practices, rafters heavily shimmed at their bases, was noted in the attic of a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. While there weren’t any visible issues presenting within the home at the time of inspection, this really should be corrected by a qualified framing contractor to ensure the roof’s structural integrity is maintained over time.
Exposed fiberglass underlayment and granular loss were noted at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. This was likely caused by someone pressure washing moss off the roof system. The issue is that moss has rhizomes, or roots, that imbed into the roof coverings. When mechanically removed, they take with them the asphalt and granules from the roof coverings, exposing the underlying fiberglass mat, and rendering the roof system compromised. I strongly recommend against the practice of pressure washing as I’ve seen too many roofs destroyed by this practice. Treating your roof on a semi-annual basis with zinc granules is advised to help prevent moss growth. If the growth is pronounced, treatment more often will help speed the process, but it will take time. Personally, I like a perfect roof, so I treat my new roof four (4) times annually with zinc granules readily available at all hardware stores. Some homeowners prefer Tide with bleach, others say baking soda works. Treat, don’t pressure wash!
Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections explains 3TAB asphalt composition roof life expectancy and what to look for in these roofs when inspecting. This video is great because it shows, side-by-side, a newly installed 3TAB roof adjacent a 3TAB roof in poor condition. Thanks for watching!