What I'm Seeing Now

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We Don't Need No Stinkin' Flashing!

Apparently the roof was leaking.  So two things were done to "solve" the problem.  A new layer of shingles was laid over the first (not always the best solution).  And instead of placing flashing where it was needed, a few tubes of caulking were expended to stop any leaking! 

Note:  CAULKING IS NOT FLASHING!

This is what I saw from behind this house.  Before I went inside I knew what we would be dealing with.  This is a big red flag!

It is obvious that the roof sheathing is rotting.  And from repairs on the siding it was obvious that the leaking wasn't stopped!

My moisture meter was the first tool I got out of the bag.  We went to the basement first.  Under and all around the wall under this chimney box was moisture detected at over 30%.  My meter only goes to 30%, and the needle jumped there, indicating that the moisture content is far higher.  The actual content could be 75% for all we know.  But 30% is sufficient to tell that the moisture intrusion is active.

The middle level was the same way, with comparable moisture all around and over the fireplace.

The house was generally moist, for this and other reasons.  And there was mold evidence in the exposed wood in the unfinished furnace room in the basement.

My recommendation:  When you see unprofessional work, expect it to influence other areas of the house.  A house is made up of different, integrated systems which either work together properly and in harmony, or not.

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 31 commentsJay Markanich • July 20 2010 06:27AM

Comments

In Maine, flashing is critical with snow, spring thaw.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 8 years ago

Andrew - caulking, I mean flashing, is essential anywhere there is water!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Some people just trust their contractors.   So many people use unlicensed contractors and are surprised when they didn't do things properly.

Posted by Yvette Chisholm, Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500 (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) about 8 years ago

I think that's true, Yvette.  But this may have been a homeowner job too.  Given that it was apparently done at the same time as the roof shingles, you may be right - terrific contractor!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Here's the bottom line. 

Home owners DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.

If they know and/or admit that there are defects, the onus is on them to repair/replace.

As long as the home owner can avoid admitting that there is a defect, it is that much longer they they can avoid maintenance/repair.

Don't forget Lenn's Law #370.  A property is free of defects until a home buyer discovers one.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Jay so sad that people really think that an easy fix will resolve the problems. When they were first looking to get it done, somebody probably told them that they would have to remove the shingles, look at the sheeting, replace, re-flash and new roof, total cost $12,000. The alternative was probably $4,500. Now the fix will be strip all roof shingles and sheathing, strip the wallboard pull up flooring, and rebuild from the bottom up, total cost maybe pushing $40,000. Yep that was worth it.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 8 years ago

Lenn - wow, how many Laws do you have?  But you are right - out front was the sign on the sign, "Honey, Stop The Car!"  Like Ed says, now there are huge repairs necessary.  And I'm not sure the chimney was the only source of moisture in the basement!

Ed - you hit that nail on the head!  You can't cheap out on repairs and hope to kick that can down the road.  It will bite sooner or later.  As to kicking the can down the road, see "Government Debt..."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Wow..putting a new layer of shingles over an existing layer..not smart! This homeowner definitely likes to take short cuts..hard telling where else he did the same thing!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) about 8 years ago

Ewwww....gotta love those ...one squeeze fixes..meaning to be temporary ? Probably not .

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 8 years ago

Dorie - there was a clue out front (that post to come) that warned me that there were two layers of shingles.  From there I extrapolated that there would be other problems.  Around back I saw there were!

S&D - not a fix at all!  There were many other things in the house just as bad...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Hard to imagine the owners didn't know they had a problem. My question, why didn't the Selling agent ask when listing the property? ...surely the agent could see/smell the obviou signs. jay

Posted by Jay Lloyd, Allpro Home Inspection (Cape Coral Florida) about 8 years ago

Jay - the smell was not obvious except in the unifinished part of the basement.  There were other problems there, and, apparently, also contributing to the mold in that room.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay,

Two layers of shingles may or may not have been an issue.  It may be an appropriate method of reroofing, if other factors are in order.  IMO.

Methods hardly matter if skills are lacking, and the presence of caulking, "Flashing in a bucket," in lieu of flashing speaks volumes about the skill level.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) about 8 years ago

Jeez I thought caulking was the fix-all for every thing. :-)

Posted by Bill Travis, Broker/Owner (Captain Bill Realty, LLC) about 8 years ago

I'm viewing a similar problem with a client/condo owner where the HOA is going to repaint and suggests replacing wood/flashing before that is done....an architect is in HELL somewhere for this !!!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) about 8 years ago

Mike - I agree, which is done around here, sometimes very well.  I will have another post which explains why I think they did the second layer.  This kind of work is typical around here these days, to which I refer as "7-11 Construction."

Bill - thou forgetest the royal duct tape.

Wallace - perhaps many of them!  It isn't always easy to "just replace the flashing."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

"7-11 Construction"

LOL

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) about 8 years ago

It's true, man!

You got a better term for it?

 

(;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay,

It fits.  I like it.

Also I like the "That's how my Daddy always did it, and he never had any problems..." School of Roofing. 

Works in conjunction with "Never Answering the Phone After It Rains" Customer Service.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) about 8 years ago

Mike - that school seems to be everywhere.  Once I answered the phone during a lightening storm and got zapped in my ear!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay, Caulk is like duct tape, quick fixes.  Moisture is not something to fool around with since you can not always see the damage that is being done underneath until it becomes a really costly repair.

Gloria

Posted by Gloria Todor, & Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA (Century 21 Absolute Realty ) about 8 years ago

As it did in this case, Gloria.  My client emailed me this morning to say she is looking for another house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay, for our Pan Am cockpit we carried a set of tools:

Pair of pliers
Screw drivers (flat and phillips)
High speed tape
Bubble gum

Us pilots could fix anything. :-)

 

 

Posted by Bill Travis, Broker/Owner (Captain Bill Realty, LLC) about 8 years ago

I think that many people do this and it is only a quick fix...

Posted by Jennifer Dulmaine, Seth Campbell Realty Group (Keller Williams Realty) about 8 years ago

Bill - again, no duct tape?!

Jen - I think this may have been there for a while!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

I think that caulking could be a good product for Billy Jays to sell.

Posted by Troy Pappas, Virginia Beach Home Inspector (Safe House Property Inspections) about 8 years ago

Well, Troy, his products are typically new uses for old products or very creative new products!  You and I have seen caulking used in very interesting ways, but it is about as new as duct tape!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay, they put warning labels on all kinds of products, but some of the ones that should have labels are lacking.

Maybe something like, "Do not use unless you know what your doing".

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) about 8 years ago

What do you want to bet, Jack, that they used rubber gloves?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay, great blog!  I am assuming that you have a ladder?  We are running into inspectors without ladders all of a sudden.  It baffles me how someone can perform an inspection without a ladder....be like me selling houses without a computer!

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) about 8 years ago

It might be insurance related Damon.  A lot of inspectors are falling and OSHA says home inspectors statistically fall off of 1 in 2000 roofs, and recommends that they should not go onto high roofs.  Many insurance companies will only extend insurance with special riders, and they aren't cheap.

I fell 13 years ago and shattered everything in my left leg.  It is still a mess...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

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