What I'm Seeing Now

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I Call This An Architectural Flaw - And Poor Roof Design

Not understanding this and being frank, I call this an architectural flaw - and poor roof design.

We have:

1.  Lots of square feet of roofing surface.
2.  A steep roof on both sides of a long valley.
3.  The valley directs that water right at the house.
4.  There is faux stone.
5.  The gutter is small.

So, during a heavy rain we have hundreds of gallons of rushing water, hitting the corner of the house, and overwhelming a small gutter.

What happens when that happens?

Damage, and then, sooner or later, the water will make its way inside.

This house is only six years old.

Water hitting it is getting behind the faux stone, and behind the gutter and into the structure.

It has not made its way indoors yet, but it will!

What might a thermal camera see when the water begins coming inside?

It would likely see a little something very much like the image to the right.

Where was that image taken.  On an older house, with a similar roof arrangement, in someone's house you all know.  In the image you can clearly see the moisture, the studs and roof rafters, and drywall tape coming loose, literally falling down.

This problem would have been mostly, if not entirely, avoided IF the valley did not rush the water into the house, the gutter was larger and there was kick-out flashing at the edge of the house to divert water away from the faux stone and into the gutter.

There you go, to the right is another view of that leaky spot above, but with the Christmas Season color palette selected!

My recommendation:  sometimes problems on a house are set up in advance by architectural design or the translation of that design into a 3D structure by the builder on site.  No matter what, when that happens, other measures, different measures, have to be employed to resolve the issue.  In this case my suggestion above of a wider gutter and kick-out flashing would help.  Those things, however, will not solve the problem created by the many gallons of rushing rain water smashing into the house.

 

 

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 41 commentsJay Markanich • December 22 2013 04:32AM

Comments

Hi Jay,

Some times it may be the design and a flaw. But in most cases it's the implementation of the designs that were not understood as to how it was designed and was to properly be installed.

Many builders don't pay enough attention to detail when looking at the prints and intended applications of the plans.

By your pictures it looked like it was a poor design.

Have a great Christmas in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 4 years ago

Hence the title Clint!  This is a tract home and these designs are commonly done by many builders.  You'd think they would understand that rushing water is rushing water.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

And duck when you are the bearer of bad news.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

I would label that a common architectural design. You have clearly stated some of what should be present (what can be seen) as far as water control when this design is employed. What we can't see and should also be present should be peel and stick flashing material along all those surfaces. I'm sure they're there, right?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

This is obvious news, Raymond, once I point out what is going on.  And a lot is going on here!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I like the peel and stick stuff when it is accompanied by chewing gum Jim.  My favorite for this application is mint, because it seems to last longer.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good catch on your part in a home inspection, good advice for the new home owner.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) over 4 years ago

David - I always pay attention to roofs, angles, size, gutters and the like.  It's an integrated system, and has to be evaluated as such.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

There are so many roofing/siding issues that could be eliminated by good design.  But as Billy Crystal's character of Fernando Lamas on Saturday Night live said, "It is better to look good than feel good."

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 4 years ago

I know Charlie.  Every time I see a valley like the one above I think what a dumbass installation it is.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

That is definitely a poorly designed roof. It's leading water right to the house!

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

And yet I see this over and over and over Suzanne.  You'd think someone with design authority would recognize if for what it is.

I am not an architect.  But cannot this be improved?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I got a call regarding a roof design issue very much like this one Jay. I think there were about a half dozen roofers attempting to repair the area over the last three years.

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) over 4 years ago

So, Tom, why do they do this same thing (for decades) over and over even in new tract-home designs?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, one time I had a chimney that came through the roof so close to the valley that the valley actually ran under the stone veneer that covered the block core.  How the heck is that ever going to get flashed adequately?  And it wasn't.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 4 years ago

This silliness goes on and on and I have to wonder why people don't understand the concept of water, Charlie.  Particularly construction "professionals."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Common problem. Kick out flashing or (don't know what they are called) a sloped roof from wall that creates another valley. Of course fast moving water could run under the shingles, so it still needs to be done correctly.

We called them 'crickets' when they were behind a chimney.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 4 years ago

That is a kick out diagram Than.  I've had other posts on that detail.  Yes, an angled roof behind a chimney is called a cricket here too.

Fast moving water has to be handled!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I've seen that kind of construction around here and never have given it any thought.  That's why I almost insist my clients get a home inspection.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

Like I said James, it is so common people don't consider it odd! 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

HA!  At first glance, I thought that was my home.  Similar problems.  Then I realized that the *&%^&*  faux stone on my house is in the front. 

One thing for sure.  I'm waiting until after the spring rains before I even think about repairing that spot in my sunroom.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Your house had virtually the same problem, but was leaking Lenn.  This house did not have such convenient leaking inside!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Yep, I have a kickout on the front of my house. Had a good builder! (Me.  )

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 4 years ago

I had to add mine later Than!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

A lot of times people don't realize how much water is created by runoff from a roof. 

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) over 4 years ago

I guess sometimes we will have to live with design problems. Dont see any quick cheap solution to this one.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) over 4 years ago

Marc - a gallon of water is contained in an area 11"x19" and one inch deep.  So, during heavy rains, many hundreds or thousands of gallons of water can exit a roof.

There isn't Chuck.  My suggestions are okay, but really minimal.  They are not a solution.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay - Great catch and it is one of the beauties of using an experienced home inspector with a catalog of past inspections to help them see the problems in front of them.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 4 years ago

I've seen many roofs just like this

Posted by Drick Ward, "RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation (NEPTUNE REALTY) over 4 years ago

I bet it looked good on paper!  (see, you do need a home inspection even on a new or newer home!)

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) over 4 years ago

AJ - I see this so much it is virtually a common explanation to clients!  Once explained it is very understood.

Drick - it is the tract home curse!

And they are very often done, Robert, around here anyway!  And I often have more problems on new homes than on old!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

On going water problems from drainage, etc may cost more and detract from property value more than any other single thing.  It is a trade off for those of us who like our green grass and deciduous trees.  We could move to a drier climate and see what the opportunities due to climate are there.

Posted by Dwight Puntigan, Dwight Puntigan (DRP Realty, LLC) over 4 years ago

Water is the killer of houses Dwight, inside and out.  I prefer water to the dry however.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Whoever designed that probably thought it looked great, but didn't give much thought to how well it worked.   Now that the problem is identified, it can be fixed!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 4 years ago

Water is always the most important, and sometimes most difficult, thing to control Kat.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

As always Excellent Blog and Tips, I really appreciate you sharing with us.

It is a very common "design" flaw but equally often overlooked by builders and inspectors.....

Happy Holidays and a Pfanntastic 2014

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) over 4 years ago

Thanks Peter.  This is one of the most common things I see on roofs, and represents a problem sooner or later.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, you are so right, it's a poorly thoughtout design. It doesn't take much water to make much work. Sooner or later it's going to be a problem. 

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 4 years ago

Thanks Mike.  Same to you all.  I have a blog out this morning about the Yule Log and left a link to someone else regarding my blog on the Christmas tree.  Enjoy!

Oh, yes, that roof is a problem!  Ask Lenn!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay -  In inspected a property similar to this, it was a huge commercial building with 4" gutters. I recommended installing 6" gutters and downspouts and proper flashing to handle the large volume of water, to their surprise their water and mold problem is over.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 4 years ago

Water works every time because of physics Eric!  And mold is the symptom of water where you might not want it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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