What I'm Seeing Now

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Looked Up, Looked Down, Looked All Around

Entering the garage I looked up at the ceiling.  I always look up first.

As I looked up, what did I see?  A swelling stain in the drywall.  One of many actually. 

But this one looked like a question mark!

(I couldn't take it's picture with the flash, as the swollen stuff was whited out.  And there wasn't enough light to take it without a flash.  But I did find some orange cellophane and used it as a makeshift filter, and viola!  Eat your heart out Thornton...)

I began questioning what I saw!

So I looked down.

What did I see?  Puddles!

So what's a home inspector to do?  I looked all around!  I went into the garage attic.

 

 

On the left I saw wet!

On the right I saw wet!

About now I'm thinking there is a roof leak.

Gee, it seemed to me that the clues were everywhere.

But what is the source?

This is a new roof!  An expensive new roof.

It was raining furiously so the picture is taken from a bedroom window (I know, I'm a baby...).

The homeowner wanted to preserve this cupola on top of the garage roof.  It isn't a real cupola, as those are intended to allow for ventilation.

It is merely sitting on the top of the garage roof and they wanted it to stay.

How is it attached?  NAILS!

This roofer decided to not put any flashing around it, apparently to maintain its antique appearance.  THEY DECIDED TO CAULK IT INSTEAD!

Well, beauty is one thing, physics is another.

Water will get into what it is allowed to get into and gravity works!

And this water is getting into the garage!  Through the roof.  Around this cupola. 

This is just one more example of a quillion examples that caulking does not flashing make!

Roofers know this!  Why did they do it?  They were asked to try to seal it to maintain the beauty of the cupola, or they thought this would work.  Maybe they only hoped it would work, at least until the warranty expires.

EITHER WAY, IT IS AN UNPROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION.  IF THE CLIENT WANTS SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T WORK, YOU EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT IT WON'T WORK AND OFFER A SOLUTION THAT WILL!

My recommendation:  When you go places, feel free to look up, look down, and look all around!  Don't worry, your pants won't fall down.  But you might just see some interesting stuff!

And that question mark stain was really convenient, wasn't it!?

 

 

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 53 commentsJay Markanich • September 11 2011 04:43AM

Comments

Jay, this is the most entertaining home inspector blog post that I have read all year!

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) about 9 years ago

Thanks Maria!  But I try to be instructive at the same time I am silly.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay. I do not think I have seen a water stain in the shape of a question mark before...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Or taken with a cellophane filter!  What do you use for filters Michael?

That was ONE convenient stain!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I hope they can find that roofer and that he will fix the issue and all the ensuing damage.  Cutting corners causes all sorts of other issues.  Nice post.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 9 years ago

Nice Post Jay.  I'm assuming the roofer paid for the fix.  I have always enjoyed the inspectors stories.  Keep it up.

Posted by Lawrence Evans (Team Limejuicer/Remax) about 9 years ago

I'm still impressed with the photography.  It was hard to concentrate on the roofing issue with the unique photographs!  Another great inspection post!  Thanks!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 9 years ago

Seeing a question mark stain is kind of like seeing a cloud shaped like a "bear" or something isn't it?  :)  Very unique and cool thing!  Thanks for sharing.  I am glad my cupola has flashing!

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) about 9 years ago

Jay, maybe the question mark was intended to make the homeowner ask why she used that roofer.  Those pictures show some pretty serious water issues.  Oy!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 9 years ago

I had a "Jay Markanich" moment about a week ago.  The home inspector came down from the roof and described an odd spot on the roof, where two roofs meet. I knew what he was talking about.  There is caulk involved and I knew that just was not right, because "Jay Markanich says so." 

The cupola is pretty, even if it is not a real cupola. 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 9 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Thank you for another great blog...what a shame, all the homeowner wanted was a non-leaking roof and their cupola.  I guess their roofer hadn't run across this in an installation before!

Posted by Bill Blankenship (Lisa Von Domek & Associates, LLC / Real Living Real Estate Group) about 9 years ago

The sign with the big question mark. Why buy this house? Lettering was on the wall.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) about 9 years ago
This is a great explanation. Caulking is not the same as flashing. Listen to the professional. Aesthetics do not matter when water is the potential trespasser. This is why you hire a home inspector to evaluate a home you wish to purchase. It is also why I have Sellers hire a home inspector before the listing even goes on the market.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) about 9 years ago

Jay, didn't I see this cupola being sold as an entire kit, complete with the nails and caulk, by our very own Billy Jays?

There is always a price to pay for beauty...

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 9 years ago

Love the question mark - too funny. Why the HECK would the roofer not install the new roof properly around the "cupola" ???Roofing company better be paying for repairs. Always an amusing post - thanks for sharing and have a great day.

Posted by K.C. McLaughlin, Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC (RE/MAX United) about 9 years ago

Killer post!  I just had a "look up" moment yesterday.  The mark was more in the shape of an "L", but clearly drove me to the roof.  No cupola.  Don't get the appeal of that, but to each their own..thanks again!

Posted by Kimberley Kelly, SFR, HAFA, GREEN, I do Real Estate like I played polo-to WIN! (HK Lane, Christie's International Affiliate, 760-285-3578) about 9 years ago

Water - the path of least resistance always leads down. Good luck

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) about 9 years ago

Roofer should know better on how to fix the issue. They better be coming back to correct the issue.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) about 9 years ago

Jay, I can't believe this was done by a professional roofing company. You would think they would have insisted the job be done right.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 9 years ago
A roofer? Really. A professionally licensed roofer did this?
Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (eXp Realty) about 9 years ago

The question mark is a sign that something was wrong and you found it. Thank you for sharing such a great story,. Have a great Sunday

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay....I hope that homeowner goes after the roofer for that repair and all costs.....incredible.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) about 9 years ago

Maybe the home and its owners had a real interest in punctuation marks (LOL)?

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) about 9 years ago

Jay I am reminded of the very first time I heard of the word "flashing". When I was young, naive and innocent, I had a handyman install an extra fireplace with a chimney for me in a family room and it was taking too long and going over budget. He asked me if I wanted flashing. I thought this was an extra or something flashy and I said NO.....just finish up and seal (caulk) the whole area and move on...The first rain brought in what I call  "weeping walls"....Now, I have flashing on the brain...good post

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 9 years ago

Jay,

I love the question mark evidence that originally caught your attention. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, I hope you had a chance to talk to the roofers and explain that we have all learned here they need drywall screws, liquid foam and duct tape.

What were they thinking ? Give them a Billy Jays catalog when you do see them.

And I won't even mention the poke at Michael

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) about 9 years ago

Don't know if they can find the roofers or not Debbie, but this wasn't the only roofing issue!  And wait til you see the post about the foundation "repairs!"

Lawrence - I just did the inspection on Friday.  Don't know where they have gotten with the roofer, if anywhere.

Thanks Sherri, but I am no photographer!  Fer sher.

I'm glad it has flashing too Joy.  Shapes in nature really are cool.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Mike - the homeowners are not present, having moved out some time ago.  But they have had a lot of work done on the house!  Two most posts to come.

Thanks Maureen!  Caulking no worko.  But you already knew that...

Lisa - it doesn't matter.  They know how things are supposed to be flashed.  Wait til the next post...

Not the only problems Harry!  There was much more.  Now in negotiation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Cheryl - and the recent rains would be a great test!

Andrea - not yet, but knowing him, and after this post, it might just be!

K.C. - Isn't nature funny?  I don't know if they can even find that roofer!  We should know soon.  They are negotiating now.

An "L" Kimberley?  Pretty much the same message, just not quite as cute.  But a good red flag!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Charlie - that's why you look up and down and all around!

We'll see Mike!  Don't know where this will go.  And this isn't the only problem!

Michael - most people simply don't know.  And they might have been told it was a "special" caulk, who knows.

Charita - don't know about the licensed, but I know they weren't professionals!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

You're welcome Scott.  I got the question mark tip as soon as I entered the garage!

Barbara - for this and tomorrow's post too!  There was more yet going on!

Melissa - or the roof did!  Good thing it isn't Chinese drywall or the question mark would have looked a lot different.

Richie - the school of hard knocks is a cruel, but effective teacher!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

And as soon as I walked into the garage Steve!  There were many stains and swollen areas, but I focused on the question mark first!

Good point Don.  I should always have an official and approved Billy Jays catalog with me.

Michael and I talk by phone a lot, so he knows this was an holy kiss.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, "Tar" the orginal "caulk"---didn't work then---doesn't work now

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 9 years ago

Good afternoon Jay. Good use of cellophane as a filter. Amazing how often flashing or the lack of it is the culprit when leaks are present.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) about 9 years ago

I do like how the stain showed up as a question mark.    Kind of ironic.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) about 9 years ago

Jay, it's amazing that the roofer would just nail and caulk in on there and not explain what exactly would happen. Or they did and the sellers didn't believe them. Amazing.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) about 9 years ago

It's the other dark meat Charlie.  And real good UNDER stuff!  Not so much over...

Randy - water will find a way, and is THE killer of houses, inside and out.

Christine - a regular message!  Nature makes some interesting things!

Eric - it's hard to know exactly what happened, but no matter what, this cupola was left in an unprofessional state.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

The title of this post caught my eye- and that question mark is really something! 

Maybe I will write a post to descibe some of the people I have worked with , Look Up, Look Down, Look at my thumb , gee you're...

OK better not!

Posted by BethAnn Long, Realtor, CRS, e-PRO, Spokane Wa Real Estate (RE/MAX Inland Empire) about 9 years ago

I'll look forward to it BethAnn.  Give me a head's up!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Wow, cool question mark photo.  Congrats on being featured in the LA Times, by the way!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

Great blog.  I love to see photos of examples.  Lots of good detail.  Thanks.

Posted by Bonnie Vaughan, CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin about 9 years ago

Looks like a moisture intrusion to me, didn't have to look far either Jay. I have a roofer that would tell me that he would rather never work with me again, than to do something like this - even if I told him too! Sometimes it's good to have people with high standards that will not be compromised.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 9 years ago

Thanks Reubs.  I didn't know that was out there until you brought it up!  Then I looked at the news feed on my website and boom, there I am!  That guy called me over a month ago (got my address wrong) and when he asked me about follow-up inspections I sent him to your recent blog and told him to call you.  I guess he just looked at the blog!

It's funny.  I asked him to let me know when it would be up and he said, "It'll be up when I get off my a$$ and write it!"

Great Bonnie.  The photos bring things to life, and sometimes without them people wouldn't believe me!

Tom - when I walked into the garage, I didn't know the cupola was to blame, but this one wasn't hard to figure out.  I put up posts like this to be instructive.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Caulking cannot correct construction oversights and bad decisions. It just does not work for long.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 9 years ago

Thanks for giving my name out!  A little extra press is always nice :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

In this application, Robert, caulking is a no go!  Short or long term in my opinion.

Reuben - you had that blog just a day or two before that guy called, so I thought of you.  He is an Active Rain member, he said, but does not post.  I gather he gets ideas for his columns from home inspection blog posts on AR!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

If you remember my post from a few days ago about the windows, that house was a monument to caulk. It didn't work there either. Go figure

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago

The one with my friend's 95% comment?  Um, I think I remember...

And I don't understand Jim.  The tube says it has a 50 year guarantee!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, did the question mark make you do it?

... and I'll second that "take that Thornton" comment =)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Rule of life that I tell every single one of my inspection clients, especially the first time buyers....

W.A.W. = Water Always Wins

Don't think for a moment that you can beat water, or physics. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 9 years ago

It did Chris.  It always does!  I really wanted a visible shot of that stain too!

You can't Scott!  You might postpone it for a while, but the length of that while varies!  Actually this was a pretty straightforward circumstance.  It was an easy one.  But I had a lot of fun with it in the post.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

But Jay, all those new home construction superintendents ASSURE me that caulk is a building material:)

Great job with the makeshift filter.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) about 9 years ago

David - the tube says it lasts for 50 years!  I can't figure out why it is leaking!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

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