What I'm Seeing Now


Up On The Roof - And Sing With Me Now!

You know what's coming, so, come with me up on the roof - and sing with me now!

When this old world starts a getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face --
I'll climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space.

Written by Carole King, "Up On the Roof" was originally performed by The Drifters in 1962.  I happen to like the James Taylor version of 1979, but that is just me.

While inspecting this brand-new condo, before the owner has even moved in, I went up on the roof!

Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let's go up on the roof. 

It's a flat roof.

The covering is a rubber membrane commonly called EPDM.

It is a Firestone product.  The product here will last 20 years or so.

It's a good product when installed right.

That's the key phrase - when installed right.

The seams have to be glued correctly, overlaps well done, the subsurface HAS to be one that accepts the glue and rubber (the biggest mistake on new EPDM roofs), and the roof must be sloped correctly so water does not puddle.

I can't tell any of that at this point as everything up on the roof is too new.

However, I CAN see how much trash has been left on the roof.  And trash that includes nails and stones.  All of those things can puncture the surface and leaving debris up on the roof, the single-membrane, rubber roof, is a huge, huge no no.  And debris can do damage over time.

Certainly there's more debris. 

But the bigger issue is the hole.  Are you sure there should be such a large hole up on the roof?

That hole is eight bricks high and one brick wide.  But hey, it's a darn good thing there's flashing there - high and low!  That's a best practice, for sure.

Can water get in?  How about birds and bats and lions and tigers and bears?

That tube in the right photo so carefully put together with tape is the dryer vent!  Yes, the dryer vent! 

Maybe it could double as a spy cam!  Up periscope!

Even the grilled end cap is taped on!  Oh, and you never have a grill covering the end of a dryer vent as lint will collect there really quickly.  Too much lint - too much fire. 

That will be one LOOOOOOONG-LAAAAAAASTING installation!

How do you know when the dryer vent is clogged and needs cleaning?  You look at it.  It is very hard to see when it's up on the roof.

But at least it was spray painted white!

That right smack dab in the middle of town
I found a paradise that's trouble proof
And if this old world starts a gettin you down
There's room enough for two --
Up on the roof ...

I truly am hoping the builder takes care of these things so it's a paradise that's trouble proof up on the roof.

It isn't easy to get to!  It's about 14' from floor to the top of the scuttlehole!  But if I can do it, he can do it!

My recommendation:  new does not equal good.  It does when it is checked and determined to be good!  But always check!  That's where your home inspector comes in!  Go getcha one!

And you sang the words, didn't you!  You're not up on the roof ... are you?




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 21 commentsJay Markanich • September 20 2013 05:09AM


Yicks...hole-ly roof batman..bats...chipmunks, squirrels,....yicks ....they need a bird's eye...Jay eye view and be sure to look at ALL aspects of their home BEFORE listing it !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 7 years ago

That dryer vent is a hoot! It's always amazing to me that nails are on the roof from the roof covering installation. I see them on pitched roofs years after the installation! Amazing...

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 7 years ago

Jay, you know it is wonderful that there is a never ending supply of things to teach us about. How's that for a positive spin on all this nonsense?

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 7 years ago

It's hard to believe this is new!  New definitely does not equal good! All new construction needs to be inspected.  Even builders can be amazed at what one of their subs did or did not do when on the job.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) almost 7 years ago

I got out my own spy cam S&D!

Fred - that guy used a whole roll of tape on that puppy!  But at least it's spray painted!

The spin works Andrea!  I tried to put a positive spin by making it a fun post.

The builder is SUPPOSED to know about this Sharon, and correct it BEFORE the home inspection!  This tells me the supervisor does not supervise.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

Yowser. That's one messed up situation. Was this a commercial deferred maintenance inspection?

If it was it had a lot of deferred maintenance to list in the report.

Have a good day in the D.C and Bristow areas today.

Best, Clint McKie


Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 7 years ago

Hey Jay. It sounds like you may be talking about another Carole King song best performed by James Taylor: "Fire and Rain"!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) almost 7 years ago

This is the final walk through of a two-level condo on the top of a four-level building Clint.  New, new house.

No Tom, but I like "Fire and Rain" too!


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

We see these types of roofs installed in apartment communities with flat roofs, they can be pretty amazing when done right. It is like a giant empty pool, all the seams are "welded" to create a solid membrane Jay.

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) almost 7 years ago

It is a good roof when right Tom.  I took a one-week class at Firestone learning about their products.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Hello Jay,

Oh, I should not have read this post as it is going to make me have nightmares of a home I used to own with a flat roof...it took many sleepless nights and a long lawsuit to correct, but I won in the end.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 7 years ago

Good afternoon, Jay. It makes one want to scratch their head with a garden hoe doesn't it. I think some leave their brains in the pickem-up when they enter the construction site...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

It is quite the shame that our society is such that it takes a lawsuit to have to correct things like that Lisa.  But glad you were justified in the end.

Michael - it does sometimes amaze me!  And you and I sometimes fall into the culvert that says we have seen it all, and then we pick up our heads to see something new!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

I also like "Under the boardwalk."  Hopefully you can do a post on that soon.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) almost 7 years ago

Jay, have you ever read the fine print of dryer vent installation instructions?  Neither have I, but I am sure it must say something like: "If all else fails while installing this product, by all means be as creative as possible."

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Jay, I will say it again, I wish you were here to do inspections. That place looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Well, WofW, when the situation presents itself I will!

These guys were creative with the dryer vent, the debris field on the roof and the flashing high and low in a large hole in the corner of the building!  Fine print readers all, Charlie.

Tom - it isn't waiting to happen!  It's a disaster now!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

You really do like that song don't you? :)  Have a great weekend

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 7 years ago

It works in this case James!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

A new tool to add to the schmucks, er contractors tool belt, spray paint. It makes everything look so much better. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

You have to admit the classic appearance, Jim.  How can you go wrong with a classic? 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

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