Author Topic: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?  (Read 542 times)

rws

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Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« on: November 06, 2017, 01:44:48 PM »
Hi All,

I bought a house (first time home buyer, no experience with home maintenance) and the inspector told me that the roof protrusions are sealed with tar, which he said was "temporary at best" and will leak. If anyone out there knows about this kind of thing I'm wondering how much of an issue this is / can be and how soon it needs to be addressed? Also if tar is not the correct way to seal, what should be used, caulk?


Several roofers in the area advertise a deal for $100 a roofer will come out and do the below. It sounds like a good deal if in fact there is a problem.

- Resealing around pipe collars, exhaust fans, vents and chimney flashings with caulk, if needed
- Nailing down any loose shingles
- Checking for interior leaks
- Summary report with areas of concern (includes photos of areas needing repair), professional recommendations, and action plan (if necessary)

Thanks in advance

Sibley

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 07:33:39 PM »
Not an expert, but I'm dealing with similar issues on my dormers, except mine started to leak. The problem with tar is eventually (10 yearsish in my area) it contracts, leaving gaps. If that happens, caulk is temporary, and the real fix is redo it.

For me, I had a roofing company do a repair. They pulled off the sides of the dormers, put mechanical (metal) flashing on, then built it back up from there. That seems to have stopped the leaking from the sides. Unfortunately, I found another leak from what looks like the top of the dormer, so they're coming back to look at that. It keeps raining here, so this is an emergency for me. In other words, dormers may look pretty but they tend to have problems.

paddedhat

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 08:20:47 PM »
Nope, a dormer is a non-event for most roofs. If you are having issues, it is probably due to substandard construction detailing, not the fact that it's a dormer. I live in a small community that predates the revolution, where many homes are three centuries old and some feature dormers. If they are done right, they are not a concern. Caulk is one thing, slathering roof cement to mask issues is another. Yes, roof cement, or tar will only last so long, and no, a competently detailed roof is totally tar free in most cases.

archben82

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 10:28:30 AM »
rws, I assume you're talking about vent pipes coming through the roof.  Your inspector is absolutely correct in that sealing around these with tar is guaranteed to leak somewhere down the road.  These should all be flashed with prefabricated "boots".  Relying on just a sealant, whether silicon, caulk or whatever in a horizontal application, especially with this type of exposure is asking for trouble.

rws

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 09:33:03 AM »
Thanks all for the replies. archben82 I've attached the comments and pictures from the inspection. Would you mind taking a look and letting me know if this is done correctly?

EricEng

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 02:25:30 PM »
I'm not an expert on this, but I'd say tar is a bit better than temporary although not permanent (is anything?).  Considering most roofs only last 20 some years, lasting half the life with 10 years isn't bad.  I've installed antennas on my roof and sealed them with tar without issue.  It sounds like they are suggesting to fix it with the same thing they say is the problem.  What is their more permanent suggested solution?

I'm a little surprised he says Tar will shrink and crack.  I know chalk will, but I thought Tar just kind of melted and got oozy.  Maybe roofing cement?

GuitarStv

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 02:37:03 PM »
We had leaking in our roof several years ago because of protrusions that were sealed with tar, exactly the way the pictures you showed were done.  We had a guy who came by and fixed them with some kind of roof cement applied from a caulking gun.  No problems since.

rws

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 02:59:56 PM »
What region do you both live in? I'm in central NJ - summers get hot but maybe not hot enough for the tar to soften/ooze, or maybe not cold enough for it to stay solid enough to last 10 years.

The roof is about 4 years old now, I'll take a peek up there and inside the attic in the next few days, if there are no visible cracks I'll probably let it ride til next year.


GuitarStv

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 05:41:44 PM »
I live in Toronto . . . we'll hit a few days in the low 40's during the summer (104 - 107 for F followers).  The stuff that was originally there lasted about ten years with no issues.

EricEng

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2017, 10:31:58 AM »
My experience is in VA with moderate climate for winter and summer.  Roof cement does sound like the better long term solution.

paddedhat

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 10:54:32 AM »
Based on the pics. there are a few issues that may or may not be present here. First, the pipe penetration is passing through a manufactured roof boot. They are cheap and easy to replace. They don't last forever, but generally will last as long as a typically shingled roof does, then get replaced during the re-roofing process. The odd issue is that the pipe itself is painted and the the pipe is rusting and the paint failing, with makes it impossible for the boot flange to seal. If It's steel, prior to replacing the boot, I would wire brush the contact area of the pipe clean at spray it with "cold zinc" which is an aerosol spray of grey, zinc rich paint that mimics a galvanized finish. The chimney flashing looks well done, with nicely fabricated and installed sheet metal flashing. It it was sealed with tar, it's one hell of a neat job, and far nicer that 99% of anything I have ever seen done with a caulk tube of "plastic roof cement". Ideally this would be done with a urethane caulk, not any type of "tar" but it's well done, and doesn't indicate any source of concern.

IMHO, most home inspectors are to varying degrees, frauds. A lot of what they do is generate "work product" to justify their billing while being extraordinarily careful to avoid serious issues, or ANY liability for missing said issues. The pics. and comments posted are pretty indicative of their M.O.  If it was my house, I would clean and paint the pipe, and swap the boot. If the pipe is an electrical conduit, with a fitting above, or if there is any other issue that would prevent you from cleanly sliding a new boot over the top, any roofing supply will have a split boot that addresses that problem.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 03:33:15 PM by paddedhat »

archben82

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 11:53:25 AM »
Although I am not a roofer, I will say I'd like to see the chimney flashing bent and tucked into the mortar joint rather than just sealed to the brick.

EricEng

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 01:47:03 PM »

IMHO, most home inspectors are to varying degrees, frauds. A lot of what they do is generate "work product"
My experience as well.  Seems like if they can't find something major wrong they'll try to write up non issues to fluff the report.  Really annoying when it is the buyer's inspector playing chicken little to unaware/unknowledgeable buyers.

paddedhat

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 03:41:47 PM »
Although I am not a roofer, I will say I'd like to see the chimney flashing bent and tucked into the mortar joint rather than just sealed to the brick.

No doubt a superior job. That said, recessing a flashing lip into a mortar joint takes skills in sheet metal fabrication, and masonry pointing, and special tools on site. There are tradesmen out there that can handle it, and OTOH, no shortage of production roofers that could really screw it up. One of the roofing contractors I do business with does the opposite of a recessed lip. They kick the upper edge of the metal out, on a 45* angle, leaving a 1/4" gap, about 3/8" deep. The flashing is tightly fastened to the brick and the miniature trough on the top edge is filled with urethane caulk. It looks clean, and it works well.

archben82

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Re: Roof Protrusions Sealed Incorrectly?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 04:22:42 PM »
I've seen that too and agree it would work....I guess the thinking is you're making the flashing more stable/ rigid by bending it out.