What I'm Seeing Now

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This Is Step One Of Roof Flashing. Counter Flashing Is Step Two.

This is step one of roof flashing.  Counter flashing is step two.

So, on this new house, where's step two?

This is step one.

It is called step flashing.

A piece of metal is bent at a 90 degree angle and placed under each shingle in a step fashion all the way up a roof.

It abuts the side of the house, either subsurface material or brick. The step flashing here is properly done.

This step prevents water from getting into the house between the side of the house and the roof surface.

It is an absolutely essential step.

But notice something.

It is not glued or attached to the brick in any way.

As such water will get behind it and into the house.

All roofers know this.

And all roofers know that counter flashing is the solution, AND STEP TWO.

Counter flashing is another piece of metal, solidly anchored against the side of the house or brick, that completely covers the step flashing.

Its position is indicated by the red lines to the left.

Typically counter flashing is glued to the brick with roof tar.

That glue is essential.

This second covering of flashing, or counter flashing, is the essential step two.

That counter flashing was forgotten here is an unforgivable error.

Forgetting it leaves this roof, and the rooms below, vulnerable to water damage.

Most buyers would not know this. 

The builder's supervisor knows this too, but somehow, during his hundreds of inspections, this step was skipped!  Perhaps he assumed the roofer would "take care of everything."

Good thing there was a home inspection!

My recommendation:  don't forget the home inspection with new construction!  It pays to have an objective set of eyes looking at every property!  This lack of counter flashing is an oversight that needs to be corrected immediately.

 

 

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 • February 07 2018 12:17PM

Comments

Roofs are certainly a major area of concern these days when it can also tip the scales on risking insurability !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 5 months ago

I didn't have to read anything to see the problem on this roof

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) 5 months ago

Good morning Jay. Proof a second set of eyes will catch the obvious the first set missed! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) 5 months ago

Good morning, Jay Markanich that's a major blunder.... the home buyer who doesn't have a home inspection is riding for a fall...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 5 months ago

Jay Markanich 

Thank you for sharing your information

Have a great day. 

Posted by Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTACONDOS.COM, Associate Broker (Harry Norman, REALTORS® ) 5 months ago

And on a new house a roof is certainly expected to be complete and ready to go, S&D.  And done right.  There were two other areas where counter flashing was in place.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

William - I have 20x binoculars with image stabilization.  They are great.  What you see in this photo is about what I saw with my binocks.  This was a high, far location.

Wayne - Mighty Mo was no help here...

Barbara - one day the ceiling would have sagged downward in the master bedroom (under this location) and the big, brown spot would have developed and they would have thought, "Gee, maybe we should have had a home inspection!" And the reply, "But, honey, the builder said we didn't need one..."

Thanks for stopping by, Anthony.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

You hit it right on the head... " he assumed the roofer would "take care of everything."  Oh yeah!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) 5 months ago

That's exactly what I thought when I saw the pic. Great post & great catch.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) 5 months ago

Fred - a very pugnacious supervisor wanted to hit me on the head.  He didn't believe me!  Taking him outside to show him I thought he was going to take me down.  It would have been the last time he took anyone down...

Thanks Lyn.  My binocks are great!  What you see there is about the same as my binoculars showed me.  It was high and far away!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

Start your day with Jay or Make your play with Jay....Its all good

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 5 months ago

Good catch Jay...that would've definitely caused damage in the future.

I like to grind a 1/4" slot on the upper red line and bend the counter flashing to hook into the slot and apply a bead of exterior caulk.

Posted by Goran Utvic, We Buy & Sell Chicago Houses Fast (606 Homes LLC | Chicagoland Brokers Inc, Chicago IL 60656) 5 months ago

I sell almost all new construction to investors. I always remind them that new homes are built by humans subject to error.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) 5 months ago

Good information on this issue, thanks.  On FHA appraisals I will pay a little more attention to this portion of the roof.  

Posted by Anthony Vosilla (Tony's Appraisal Services) 5 months ago

Excellent inspection, Jay!  What a great service you provided for the buyer!  I strongly encourage all my buyer clients, whether existing or new construction, to have a full home inspection.  If they refuse, they must sign our form saying that they refused it!  (But so far, none have!)  And my new construction buyers have found issues that the builder missed each time - none as bad as the roof issue you found, but issues that needed to be addressed *prior* to closing!  Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing!

Posted by Barbara Murphy, GRI, e-PRO, GREEN, FMS, MRP (Tartan Properties, Pensacola~Pace~Milton~Gulf Breeze~FL) 5 months ago

Goran Utvic has it right, That second step of flashing, ideally, needs to be cut into the brick.

Your pictures are an example of poor, poor work on the part of the roofer.

Good catch!

Posted by John Dotson, The experience to get you to the other side! (Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC) 5 months ago

Hi Jay

We can always count on your for some great lessons about homes and maintenance. I've witnessed some pretty poor flashing over the years, even from being on the ground!

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) 5 months ago

Richie - thanks for the poem!  Are your feet long fellows like mine?  Thanks for stopping by!

Goran - when lead was used brick layers would cut a slot into the mortar for chimney counter flashing.  That technique isn't used so much anymore, though I see it now and then.

That they are, Joe.  And sometimes I have bad news for buyers!

Anthony - there is a lot to pay attention to on every roof!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

Barbara - as with a lot of new construction I inspect, there were many issues with this house.  New construction often has more problems than old, from my experience!

John - like I said to him that technique isn't done so much anymore.  I still see it when copper flashing is used to mimic the copper on other areas of historic home restoration.

Jeff - and I've had many flashing posts!  Sometimes what I see is an absolute joke!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

Thanks Jay. This is good to know.  In fact, I'm going to take another look at my house.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 5 months ago

Had you no flashing, Gabe, you would have experienced the result inside the house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

As a fellow home inspector I too have found "rushed" roof flashing applications in new home construction. It is imperative that buyers and sellers hire a certified professional home inspector to help in disclosing what the current conditions of a subject property may exist. It is better to know before any buyer remorse. Great job!

Home Inspector Albuquerque

Posted by Brian Ferns, Professional InterNACHI Certified Home Inspections (Home Inspector Albuquerque) 5 months ago

Hi   Jay Markanich 

Even worse to find this on a new home!    I have a rental property that is much older and a water stain in the middle of a kitchen ceiling was driving me nuts trying to locate the source, my tuckpointer found it in the flashing  about 10 feet to the left there was a blister and water was funneling into it and running along the beam!

Posted by Bill Dean, William Dean - Broker, Salesperson (Haggerty Team St. Louis, Mo.) 5 months ago

Very informative post, so thank you. However, how could this occur since a building inspector for the city or county must approve the roof construction? If so, wouldn't the homeowner have recourse against the roofing contractor and the building inspector of the city or county if discovered after the construction was completed?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) 5 months ago

Brian - they were going to get to it after lunch and, um, forgot!  My biggest beef with modern construction is the word "professionalism."  It hardly exists.  See my post today!

Bill - I see this crap on new construction all the time.  See my comment above!

Kimo - you'd think!  But sadly, no.  While I was there the county inspector looked at the house next door that I had inspected 3 days prior.  It had the same roof condition in two places!  And the county passed the house.  Oh, he was there maybe 5 minutes...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

Dear Jay,

In new home construction, I have encountered more problems than in old houses with orange shag carpet. For that reason, I now recommend multiple inspections. Definitely before drywall, so you can catch things early for the major systems. Snooping on the progress every week (maybe on your way to get groceries on Saturday mornings) can be helpful too. Take binoculars to see things like this flashing issue. It looked wrong before I read your post about how it is done right. Thank you for pointing it out.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) 5 months ago

Dorte - I have had clients who go by very often to check on the house.  If they see anything really odd sometimes they ask me by to evaluate it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

David used to do roofng in his faming youth and while he does not quote repairs he makes sure he inspector is aware of any issyes...AND as importantly if it is our lisitng...that the Seller has a heads up that may require repair.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 5 months ago

David seems very knowledgeable, if I read your posts correctly, S&D.  Roof issues should always be pointed out!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 5 months ago

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