What I'm Seeing Now

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Black Goop

Even before going around back to see what the roof had to show, I was able to confidently say to my client that I suspected a second layer of shingles over the first.  The roof looked newer, but the plumbing penetration sleeve was covered with black goop.

"How do you know that?" was her question.

My answer - "Experience."

Roof tar, or what I call "black goop," is what a non-professional will use for roof repairs.  It does not last long, being deteriorated by the sun's UV rays, and it cracks and leaks.

Even from the ground my client could see the black goop, front and rear, slathered all over the plumbing penetration sleeve.

Why do they do this?  Because they wanted to put a second shingle layer over the first without having to fit new sleeves under the first layer.  Too much work!  So they sealed previous cracks or gaps on the old sleeves with the tar.

The second layer of shingles is clearly visible at the lower left.

Black goop is a fine product, when used UNDER things like the edges of a ridge vent, an attic fan or other flashed locations on a roof.  But it should be hidden from the sun.  If so, it lasts a very long time and is an excellent sealer.  Professional roofers use it!  But they use it properly!

The next door neighbor had also re-shingled the house.  Their roofer, an obvious professional, cut the shingles properly and protected the plumbing penetrations with new sleeves.

Showing my client the contrast with a side-to-side comparison was an immediate and valuable object lesson in proper roofing.

When I see black goop improperly used, it is an immediate red flag.

And when we could see the leaking and rotting of the roof from the inside the attic, my concerns were warranted.

A second layer of shingles is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is commonly done.  But it must be done properly or the homeowner is set up for future problems.  Thinking that there is a new roof homeowners are lulled into a false security and unconcerned about what can be a brewing problem.

My recommendation:  look for black goop!  And if you see it, look also for other signs of unprofessional work.  You are likely to find them!

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 29 commentsJay Markanich • July 21 2010 06:17AM

Comments

Goop...another one size fixes all fix it remedy...awww gee whiz Jay...ya never let anyone take the e-z or the goopy way out.....as well they should not !

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

Thanks, Jay....that was good information....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 8 years ago

Jay,

The shame of it is, it usually is no harder to do it right.  A lot of roofers put in so much effort messing up when they could do a great job with no extra effort.

I would rather replace pipe boots than fool with tar.  They can be done in just a few minutes.

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

Another good post on things to notice when looking at homes.  Thanks Jay.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 8 years ago

S&D - One size fits all to some people.  This was definitely the goopy way out.

Barbara - Anytime! Anytime at all!  More to come...

Mike - I don't think these guys were professionals.  They may have been "roofers" though...

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

Cindy - it seems there are a million things to look for doesn't it?  Well, there are!

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

It is kind of nice to have something screaming pay close attention on this one there will be a lot to find.

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

Jay what you probably couldn't see because of all that black goop was the duct tape primer they used.

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

Jay - My last roofer was the best I ever used during my building career.  He used more flashing cement than any other roofer I'd used; and he used it correctly.  Not one of his roofs have ever leaked.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) about 8 years ago

You are a WEALTH of great information.  Thanks for posting often, and thanks for posting with humor.  Your photographs make everything come to life, too.  If I miss your blog for a few days, I always catch up on the "archives".  You share "must-read" blogging!

Posted by Cara Marcelle Mancuso, Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY (Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ) about 8 years ago

I know this is just day to day stuff for you, but I really appreciate your sharing your knowledge - it helps us all look much more knowledgable when we know this kind of thing.  Thank you!

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) about 8 years ago

Yes, this goop is very noticeable and done unprofessionally, I had a contractor tell me this was the way to fix the problem..needless to say my buyers didn't use them!

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

Very good John!  "Correctly" is always the key.

Wow, Cara, that is very nice to say!  Thank you!

Susan - that's half the battle!

Jen - well, I am glad you didn't say it.

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

Whoa!  Almost missed these!

Troy - I thought we were in for a ride.  My client backed out yesterday.

And, Ed, had I known that I would NEVER had said anything!

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

Jay, you are such a blessing to us here on ActiveRain!  I love reading your posts for the great practical tips.  I will add "Black Goop" to my list of other technical terms that expose the handy homeowner who should have hired a professional!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) about 8 years ago

Thank you Kathryn!  This is why we inspectors post here!

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

Funny, Jay that is what I call it.

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

Black goop - great title.  Thanks for sharing this information.  As lenders get tighter and roofs are looked at more cautiously by all, it's great to have some quick things to notice and point out to potential buyers.

Posted by Tristan Emond, Rapid City Homes Sales Specialist (Mindful Living Realty) about 8 years ago

Why do you always have to make it about race?  why?

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) about 8 years ago

Hi Jay, a nice illustration of black goop or maybe it could be called liquid duct tape.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Dale Ganfield about 8 years ago

Jack - my buyer didn't think so!  She did back out...  that was only one teensy problem, there were many others.

Tristan - there are lots of little signs.  You get used to them after a while...

Alan - C'mon, I was just calling a goop a goop.

Dale - didn't have to do much to illustrate it!

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

Hi Jay, Black goop....that was my brother-in-laws material of choice for years! When I went to look at the roof after a mysterious leak, there was so much goop and the roof was so hot the sole of my shoe stuck and sunk in the goop....(I'm not kidding). They just recently reroofed properly, but it took 2 full days of removing 3 layers of shingles and gallons of goop! jay

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

Jay - seen that myself!  I once purchased work shoes from Sears that were unconditionally guaranteed that the soles would survive the tops, no matter what!  I went up on a roof with black goop and my soles melted!  I took them in to Sears for the promised new pair, which they gave me.  But I noticed that after that the deal changed - they put on a time frame!

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

It really highlights the concept that it truly is the "little things" that can great "big issues" down the road.  It's also interesting when a client asks if they should just put a second layer of shingles on when it's time to re-roof.  They always mention the cost savings.  I then ask if their roofer mentioned the life expectancy of the new shingles will only be about 60-70% as long as its rating due to the additional heat build up underneath the second layer (because the first layer is already there).  I always get "they didn't mention that" response.

Thanks for pointing out what quality looks like....always a helpful reminder.

Posted by Craig Frazer, Real Estate, RE/MAX Metro, Davis & Salt Lake County about 8 years ago

That's the idea Craig!  And I agree, it is almost never a good idea to put on a second layer.  That's what I meant when I said buyer purchase a home with a false sense that the roof is good and will last.

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

Hi Jay,

I appreciate your posts so much, you give a lot of your experience to us to share...especially good lessons in why clients should have a professional home inspection performed.

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) about 8 years ago

Thank you very much!  And this client backed away from this house, Bill, but this was not the only problem! 

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

Who coined the name black "goop". Why couldn't they just say black "crap"?

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

It's my word, Bill, so the answer is     ...       ME.

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

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