It goes without saying - you can't see inside a flat, front porch roof.
This is one of those basic, flat, 12'x12' front porch roofs. Instead of the usual EPDM, it had a metal roof surface.
Sections of metal had been seamed together.
The seams were rusting, and swelling, and cracking in many places.
There were puddles all over.
The surrounding dentil molding just under the roof lip was rotting all around.
Underneath the moisture meter registered that the wood was saturated. The meter can show where moisture is most present, and where it is not.
Wood is considered saturated at 28%, and the meter gage only goes to 30% for wood, so above 30% is irrelevant.
There was no definitive thermal signature to try to understand a pattern or moisture location.
But even if there was, it is hard to see inside to see what's going on with the wood structure. Is there enough rot to compromise the roof? How could we know?
So this is a difficult call. What should be done? The sellers aren't going to want to take things apart to have a peeky to see how much expense they will be in for! That is a Pandora's Box!
The buyers are concerned that they are inheriting a big deal, perhaps having to replace the entire roof structure and surface.
My recommendation: the home inspector can only observe and report. We should not speculate. We cannot predict what is going on inside such a space. We cannot tell what repairs the buyers will be in for. We cannot estimate how much this will cost. And believe me, I am asked those kinds of questions all the time! Documenting with photographs is a good thing to be sure, but does not answer any of the above questions. The home inspector can only observe and report. The home inspector SHOULD ONLY observe and report.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560