What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

I Have Never Before Seen A Completely Rotting Roof

You don't anticipate seeing this, but I have never seen a completely rotting roof.

I smelled something funny when we got to the upper level.  But we saw nothing amiss moisture wise anywhere.

Then opening the attic access I got a whiff and wow, lots of something was going on up there!

Everywhere I shined my light the roof was rotting. 

The ENTIRETY of the roof!

This is an older town house, but the older, bad FRT roof sheathing had been replaced.  Around here that would have likely been in the mid 80s to mid 90s.

Getting up there it smelled strongly of mushrooms.

None were visible, but it really smelled a lot like mushrooms!

And when they put in the new FRT plywood, they did not add separator clips, so the sections were sagging where they abutted one against another.

Looking around the attic I saw many conditions, which certainly contributed to the evident moisture problems -

1.  When in bloom the house would be completely shaded by large, leafy trees.
2.  The roof had two layers of shingles.  The second layer is not brand new.
3.  Someone had added an extra layer of 6" of fiberglass insulation inside the attic.
4.  There is a ridge vent visible from the outside, but there was no slot cut to allow air out.  The roofer of the second layer of shingles knew this.
5.  This extra insulation had been pushed to the very edge of the roof, seen in the lower left photo, completely covering the soffit vents.
6.  There was no ridge vent, or smaller scoop vents.
7.  The only bathroom vents into the attic space.  The tubing can be seen in the lower left photo.

You add all this up and so much general moisture, held in place by extra shingles and insulation, with no air flow, and this would be the expected result.

I have never before seen roof sheathing so generally rotten, but have heard it is possible.

AND IT IS!

My recommendation:  moisture has to be controlled, everything needs to breath and a do-it-yourself homeowner, no matter how good the intentions, can cause a lot of damage.  Combining an unprofessional roof installation with a homeowner trying to increase the insulation and you have a recipe for moisture retention.  The ultimate result is a roof that looks like the above.

 

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 60 commentsJay Markanich • January 20 2014 03:16AM

Comments

I've seen it a couple of times and the smell is something you won't forget.  Have a great Monday

 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 6 years ago

This was a first for me James!  I can't put my finger on the type of mushroom, however.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

A thought came to me when I read this.  Wouldn't it be fun to inspect a beautiful home in great consition for a change????

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

You have to wonder what else the homeowner repaired with his DIY knowledge...big YICKS !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

I have had those posts Lenn!  But it is not often.  Especially in today's market.

S&D - well, I can tell you the exact answer to that.  But I am working today...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Oh gosh, that sounds like a mess and costly to fix.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

We can be absolutely sure that this was a deal that went down the drain!  LOL

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 6 years ago

WOW.  I had a deal go down the drain because of an inspection (that was pretty accurate).  The Seller made most of the repairs which had a tranferable warranty and we got a second offer.  When they saw the disclosure statement, they walked because the repairs were foundation repairs.  Any ideas on getting past this?

 

Posted by Lynn Ashley-Rohovit, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Rivermoore Park Realtor over 6 years ago

I recently had found a roof in similar condition. Not sure why you would feel additional insulation would cause moisture issues other than by blocking the soffit venting. Also, trees, at least here in CT are bare in the winter, which is normally when condensation occurs in the attic. I regularly see roof sheathing on the sunny side of the house in pristine condition, while the shaded side can run from slightly stained to black. 

 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

This is one oif the reasons why when I represent a buyer I specify that all repair work be done by contractors especially when a license is needed and that they be bonded. Too many times I hear homeowners say they can do that to save money but there is no recourse if something fails quickly. 

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 6 years ago

Good morning, Jay....homeowners are their own worst enemy.... there's nothing worse than a homeowner going home depot for a lesson in how to build!!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 6 years ago

Hi Jay,

That is a ton of damage. The roof and decking needs to be replaced along with the treatment of the rafters after exposure.

That is a lot of money to get this roof back to correct.

Have a great day 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 6 years ago

I've never seen a perfect storm like that. Usually one or two elements adding up to trouble. Looks like they hit the losing jackpot for sure. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 6 years ago

Jay, the owner probably knew someone who could do the roof really cheap. Demonstrated by adding a second roof layer. As always, it will cost more in the long run.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

Jay, my bet is that there are going to be other bypasses besides the ductwork helping out with the lack of ventilation :)  I am curious as to how the extra layer of shingles is part of the problem except that the second installer must have been Billy Jack installing his new "Invisivents."

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Beware of mushrooms in the attic syndrone...whiff in the Kitchen yes... attic NO

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 6 years ago

What a mess... that is going to be very costly to repair! I does look like the fire wall is intact though :-)

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

At least the HUD house I bought was easier to take care as the roof caved in!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

I  can't believe how folks hide from the truth - moisture is your homes worst enemy!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

That's pretty bad Jay.  Worse than anything I've seen either.  Like you said, proper venting is very important!  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 6 years ago

This is incredible

 

Posted by Drick Ward Property Management / Broker Assoc, "RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation (NEPTUNE REALTY) over 6 years ago

That just smells of walk away as the cost will be very high.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 6 years ago

Gosh - that is scary stuff... glad they had you there to find it!

Posted by Jill Saddler, Draper Utah Real Estate Professional - 25 years+! over 6 years ago

Jay,

Replacing this defective roof is a valid expense for the seller to pay.  No buyer would likely accept this roof as it is.  It's better that this problem was caught during the home inspection.

Posted by Andrew Payne Realtor® Richmond VA Homes For Sale~804-938-5257~, Richmond, VA, Real Estate, SRES®, NAR Green (Piedmont Real Estate) over 6 years ago

That is pretty bad!!! Moisture is the enemy.

Have a Big day,

Randy

Posted by Randy Shamburger, FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Mortgage Expert (Movement Mortgage) over 6 years ago

Wow. Just Wow. Good thing you caught that.

Posted by Laura Foreman, Copywriter, Buffini & Company (Referral Maker Real Estate CRM) over 6 years ago

Wow! Talk about deferred maintenance. Glad you caught this for the buyers.

Posted by Rosie Moore (Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City) over 6 years ago

WOW! That is truly bad. I'm pretty certain that any buyers I had would walk the deal based on those photos alone.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 6 years ago

This is just a string of bad things all contributing to a hot, wet, dark space that is going to be expensive to replace.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Jay, I hve a pseudonymn for you if ever you want to leave a plain spoken note without it coming back to your business:  I. C. Allsorts.  We may be cousins, my pseudonym is R. U. Kidding.

Posted by Fred Cope, Looking For Homes With A Smile (Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN) over 6 years ago

too many "no-no's" to count.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago

The roof I remember is the brand new one (outside). House 80 years old with new siding. A peek through the scuttle revesled all of the rafters were partially burned.

Posted by David Spencer, Show Me real estate in Kansas City (Keller Williams Northland) over 6 years ago

Jay, it's not often that you have an attic space that resembles (and smells like) a damp basement. Wow.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 6 years ago

I can almost smell it from here Jay. Not a pretty sight to see, but something that must be addressed.

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 6 years ago

No one is going to look in the attic! Ha. What a mess. Home inspections should be mandatory.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 6 years ago

Jay -- I love mushrooms, but please no mushroom smell in the attic. That's a hot mess. Gross.

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Whoa, that looks pretty bad! Sagging is not good either! So, did the buyer walk or request a new roof from the plywood up?

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Taking in rain for some time, not good.

Posted by Steven Nickens, R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii (Wailea Realty) over 6 years ago

No ventillation and no sunlight equals significant mold every time.  I have seen a few close to this, but this may be the worst.

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) over 6 years ago

Wow -- It is amazing that there were so many things wrong that contributed to the rotten roof. 

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 6 years ago

Take off the roof and put on a new one. If the buyer has the money and they like the home without the mushrooms in the attic, but I doubt it. Very expensive project and I'm sure there's more to this house than just the attic.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 6 years ago

I haven't seen them often, but I do remember one roof, especially!  It was an original cedar shake roof, on a 55 year old house.  The home inspector said he thought it was the mold that was holding it up!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 6 years ago

That seems totally unhealthy to be living there.  And just wow on the condition. 

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 6 years ago

Wow! New one on me. Have never seen this before either. Pretty scary. Has to be a bunch of moisture up there.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) over 6 years ago

It is and it is Debbie!

This was just one of many BIG problems with this house Barbara!

I'm sorry, Property Sis, but not seeing the problems/repairs myself I cannot!

I could be overthinking it Jim, but it seems to me that extra everything - insulation and shingles, and no ventilation along with the bath vent, would lend itself to this dramatic end.  Interestingly, the trees there are so thick that even in the winter it is dark and sunlight is blocked!

That's a good practice Joe, but we don't know who did any of this.  I expect the homeowner did some, but don't know as to the roof.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

That, Barbara T., and the DIY TV shows, where things can all be done in 1/2 an hour!

It was amazing Clint.  I don't remember seeing this, along with the great mushroom smell.  That night I felt like pizza with mushrooms, don't know why...

This was huge Scott.  That's a good term - perfect storm.

Mike - in my experience that can often add up to being a big mistake.  Or the homeowner didn't know what the roofer had done.

Charlie - Billy Jays won't mind you confusing him with Billy Jack.  He probably liked that movie too.  Like I said to Jim above, I may be overthinking it, but it seems logical to me that so much extra - shingles and insulation - combined with dead air and moisture introduction from the bath, just helps retain it all so well.  This was really rotting stuff, and universally!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Agreed Richie - especially pizza and sauces...

It's a wonderful fire wall Fred!  You saw the silver lining!  They don't make'em like that anymore.

That's when you say, "Back to the drawing board," Raymond!  Seen any drawing boards lately?

Could be the sellers don't know Gary.  But the odor upstairs was unmistakable.

Well, it's essential A&J.  Combined with the other things, this roof has no chance.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Short and sweet Drick.  Well said.

I have not heard Ed, but I expect so!

Thanks Jill.  I am there to do just that.

True, Andrew, but this is only one of MANY big problems with this house.

Thanks Randy.  I try to make every day big!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Laura - given the smell upstairs it was hard to miss!

True words Rosie.  This has been happening for a while.

And, Jason, as I said above, this is only one of many big problems.

AJ - it all adds up, the vaunted perfect storm.

Thanks Fred!  I can use that in many contexts!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

It really was Alan.  My client was reeling when we were done.

David - yikes!  The cover up!  Did they disclose the fire?  Ummm....

That's true from my experience Tom.  It really smelled bad!

And probably not by my buyer Tom (The AD Model Guy).

Some may think that Jeff.  In this case, even if there was no attic access, I would have questioned it based on the smells alone!

I'm with you Barbara!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I haven't heard Evelyn, but given that this is only one of MANY big problems I expect to hear from him again.

Steven - that and moisture retention of what is inside!

Rafi - your climate is probably not too different from mine and this was as bad as I have ever seen!

Joan - physics and Mother Nature never fail.

Nail hit on head Pamela.  MUCH more!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Myrl - is this how you spell yikes! ?

Tammy - that is probably true too.  I did not feel bad later, but there have been inspections where I did.

Yep Bill!  Lots and lots.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

It is scary what is found during home inspections. I must say I really enjoy the nice homes that the homeowners take good care of.  Makes me wonder how a homeowner can have such a problem and do nothing about it.

Posted by Cynthia Grimes, "With You Every Step Home!" (eXp Realty, LLC) over 6 years ago

I wonder too Cynthia.  But it is what it is, and the house is the house.  The home inspector doesn't blow deals by pointing things like this out.  The house does.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

It's amazing the homeowner didn't notice the problem.  As a Buyer Representative, I insist repairs are made by qualified and licensed contractors.  Curious to know, did the Buyer ask for repairs and go through with the sale, or did the deal fall through?

Posted by Bette Gottwald, "Bet"on Central PA Real Estate! (UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA) over 6 years ago

Fellow Realtors:  save this for the next buyer who ask "Why do we need a home inspection?

Posted by Fred Cope, Looking For Homes With A Smile (Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN) over 6 years ago

There can be fungus among us without seeing it.  Most likely, the smell is fungus growing inside the wood. 

Posted by Roger Stensland, Let's Move! (Keller Williams Realty Puget Sound) over 6 years ago

Bette - I can't imagine how anyone could have lived there without noticing the smell upstairs.  As to the last question, I have not heard.

Fred - thanks.  This is just part of the job.  We get a lot of information out of the attic space.  I really, really want to look.

Roger - the fungus was pervasive among us.  The smell was hard to miss.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good evening, Jay. I have only seen 2 roofs that bad. That is one of the main reasons I do not walk on roofs until I have had a chance to look in the attic.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 6 years ago

I went through a roof once Michael.  From the outside nothing that would have said softness was a problem was visible!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments