Category Archives: Roofing

To Re-roof or Replace

dscn3233I was recently berated by “one of the best real estate agents in the northland” because of a recent inspection. Normally, I let this go without a second thought. Of the few calls I receive from an angry agent, most are simply a misunderstanding. They’re often easy to resolve, once everyone fully understands the conditions that have been reported.

But this one was different. This agent challenged me directly with a code quote. I reminded the agent that I wasn’t called to the inspection to perform a code inspection. It didn’t matter to this agent. The code said it was ok, and I “shouldn’t have reported the condition”. Period.

The roof on the house was approximately 2 years old. Actually, the second layer of the roof was two years old. The house was in Liberty, MO. Both layers were asphalt composition. The manufacturer of the shingles was unknown.

I reported that the roof had been layered, which is not recommended. Layering takes 5-10 years off the life expectancy of the second layer. Many shingle manufacturers do not warrant the product when it has been applied over an existing roof.

According to the agent, this just wasn’t good enough reason to write up the roof. If the code allowed it, then it should be ok.

I disagree. Thats where we left it. However, lets look at the code just for fun.

In the 2006 International Residential Code, the code states:

R 907.3 Recovering versus replacement. New roof coverings shall not be installed without first removing the existing roof coverings where any of the following conditions occur:

  1. Where the existing roof or roof covering is water-soaked or has deteriorated to the point that the existing roof or roof covering is not adequate as a base for additional roofing.
  2. Where the existing roof covering is wood shake, slate, clay, cement, or asbestos-cement tile.
  3. Where the existing roof has two or more applications of any type of roof covering.
  4. For asphalt shingles, when the building is located in an area subject to moderate or severe hail exposure according to figure R903.5. (I won’t copy the figure for this blog. Suffice it to say, that the entire KC metro area is in the moderate hail exposure area).

Number one makes sense. Don’t put  a new roof on a building where the underlying material is already falling apart. Number two doesn’t apply to asphalt shingle roofs. Number three simply says that in all cases, two layers is the max allowed.

But number four is new in 2006. It deals specifically with hail in this area. Up until the 2006 codes, layering was allowed. This statement did not exist in the 2003 codes.

Many areas of the KC metro area have not adopted the 2006 codes yet. But the following areas of the metro HAVE adopted the 2006 codes: Belton, Blue Springs, Cass County, Clay county, DeSoto, Gardner, Harrisonville, Jackson County, MO, Kansas City, MO, Lawrence, Leawood, Lees Summit, Lenexa, Miami County, Osawatomie, Ottawa, Overland Park, Parkville, Platte County, and Raytown.

The rest of the metro area is still using the 2000 IRC or the 2003 IRC.

If you live in one of the cities or counties listed above, reroofing is not an option. For the rest, its still not recommended by the shingle manufacturer.

Leap Year Quiz – What Do You See In This Picture?

lh-003.jpgHere’s a leap year quiz for Kansas City Home Inspections. What do you see in this picture?

Just to help you understand what you’re looking at: This is a picture of a roofing section just above a front door of a split level home. The roof intersects with the wall of the upper level of the home.

Notice that the shingles are “wavy”? They don’t lay nice and flat. This indicates that there are multiple layers of roofing materials. If you look closely, just above the gutter, you’ll see two drip caps. This also provides suspicions of multiple roofing layers. Layered roofs won’t last as long as the manufacturer may have indicated. They can’t lay flat on roof decking, and will wear out much sooner than expected because of this.

The siding material is composite wood. Notice how it’s in contact with the shingles? Proper installation of this siding requires that this siding have a 1-2″ clearance from the roofing material. The gap should be protected by metal step flashing, and, hopefully, the siding would be painted on the bottom edge. In this installation, there has been caulking applied to the roof/wall intersection. This is a temporary attempt to keep water from damaging the siding. Too late – the siding is already deteriorating – Notice the cracking in the paint and holes in the siding? Rot has already started in the siding and wood trim (further up the roof).

lh-011.jpgAlso notice the lack of a “kick-out” flashing. The kick-out would be an extention of the step flashing (not visible) that would extend through the siding and divert water into the gutter. Without this, any water running down that caulking will seep behind the siding and into the house structure. The second picture is of the interior on the other side of this wall. Notice the moisture stains on the wall? This type of moisture damage will often lead to mold in the wall and insulation, and rot in the interior structure. Damage can also extend into lower levels as well. (Click here to see an example kick-out)

Anyone notice anything else?

The situation that has been discussed here is very common in the Kansas City area and home inspectors should always point this out. Proper repairs are required by a professional roofer to get the flashing corrected. In this case, a siding contractor would be required to make repairs to the siding, and general contractor may be needed to fix interior wall damage.