Roofing Photos
The roof is a structure's first line of defense against the elements.  You can see this as you look at the old barns that dot the countryside.  While the exterior walls of many of these barns will be heavily weathered; the sway-backed barns typically have badly deteriorated roofs and those still standing proud have weather-tight roofs.  Unfortunately, many roof problems are not as readily visible as the old barn, even to an experienced inspector or roofing contractor.  Water really is insidious and can find its way into a home through the most circuitous routes.  As a result, a properly installed and maintained roof is vital.  As we will often state, do not choose a roofing contractor based solely on price.  The extra money spent on a quality job done by a qualified roofing contractor will almost assuredly result in fewer problems and stress for you.
Lead flashings are typically used on concrete tile roofs.  As the lead heats and cools, the sheet lead will stress and tear, resulting in leaks.This is a close-up of the previous photo and shows more clearly the tear in the lead.Don't know exactly where the leak is?  Just buy the economy sized tub o' tar and smear it everywhere.  Special today only, 2 for 1.The next two photos of this Santa Rosa skylight show the improper flashing installation and the resulting leak.  Newer tile roofs should have two layers of flashing at penetrations such as this one.  This skylight was installed with only the top layer of flashing.Staining on the ceiling at the perimeter of a skylight is not uncommon.  Great care must be taken to ensure that roof flashings are properly installed.  While not likely to leak to the interior of the house, this tile installation on a Santa Rosa tile roof will allow the roof framing at the gable end to weather and become damaged.  Installation of lead flashing over this would probably be an acceptable reapair.Older tile roofs are generally installed over spaced wood sheathing in the attic and consequently do not have a secondary layer to arrest any leaks.  As a result, older tile roofs require annual maintenance.  Unfortunately, this is not the type of maintenance that I was referring to.  Asphalt patching compound (commonly referred to as mastic) will stop a leak temporarily, but should not be relied upon as a permanent repair.  The following photos show areas that need to be properly repaired.Even the skylight has mastic on it.  The glazing on older concrete tile roofs will wear away, leaving the porous concrete as the only barrier between the interior and rain.  During storms, the underside of the tile will often become damp due to water slowly percolating through the tile material.In this case, mastic has been used to glue tiles back together.  Once again, a temporary patch, not a permanent repair.Cracked tiles are really pretty common on tile roofs.  While these will on occasion not have significant leaks, any damaged tiles should be replaced.  Unfortunately, some tile profiles are no longer manufactured and it is necessary to find used tiles.Foil tape really is not a permanent roof material.  I prefer to see lead flashing in an area like this.Lightweight cement roof tiles made a brief appearance in the mid 1980s in Santa Rosa.  They were on the expensive side, were generally sold as 50 year tiles and rarely lasted 15.  This particular roof was about 22 years old and had slightly more strength than a saltine cracker.Fortunately, a rolled roofing membrane was installed under these tiles, which saved the homeowner from multiple leaks and significant water damage.  Nonetheless, this material should be removed and new shingles installed.The gap between the gutter and the roof shingles will allow water to bypass the gutter.  This leaking will lead to damage to the eaves.  Fortunately, it is pretty straighforward to correct.  Blue tarps (occasionally jokingly referred to as "FEMA roofs") are a good indication of a roof problem.  You don't need me to tell you there is a problem here.The shingles aren't going to do much good unless they are nailed-down.The interesting stuff is in the background of this photo.  The stuff on the roof framing and sheathing is very likely mold.  The ventilation in the attic was restricted, creating a happy environment for the spores.  Adequate attic ventilation is very important.  Ok, the flue pipe is wrong too.That little spot of daylight is coming through an aged wood shake roof.  It is also a place that will likely leak.  Not many shake roofs here in Sonoma County any longer, and those that remain are likely about ripe for replacement.The rubber gaskets on plumbing vent flashings will tend to last 10-15 years while the roof will generally last longer.  I recommend replacement of gaskets every 10 years. This roof framing is an odd one.  Looks cool from the interior, but I cannot figure out how it is supported.  A "vaulted" celing needs to have a beam that provides full support at each end.  This one terminates at a hip.  This should be sagging at the ridge, but none was apparent.Stains under a roof eave often indicate roof leaks.  However, I believe that this staining is due to inadequate ventilation in the attic.  Moisture will condense on the underside of the roof framing and run down to the exterior.  This will eventually cause rot damage to the roof framing.The pest inspector identified fungus growth on the waferboard sheathing.  I believe the cause was inadequate attic ventilation as well as "backventing" from the furnace flue pipe.  Furnace exhaust gases contain moisture, and if not properly exhausted, can contribute to rot or mold growth.  Believe it or not, this damage was caused by woodpeckers.  Besides replacement of the shingles, I really don't know how to discourage the little peckers from damaging a home.I have seen mylar strips used in the local vineyards to scare away birds.  This might do some good.  Certainly the plastic owl on the roof wasn't convincing.  A felt paper (often referred to as "tar" paper) underlayment is required under roof shingles.  As you can see, there is no felt paper here.  In addition, the edge of the OSB roof sheathing is exposed.  This will allow moisture to damage the roof sheathing.
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