Nashville Home Inspector – Poor Roof Installation – What’s Wrong With this Picture?

Nashville Home Inspector – Poor Roof Installation – What’s Wrong With This Picture? 4.16.11

HINT:  Actually there are three things wrong.  One involves metal, one involves wood, and one issue involves proximity.  Please see the picture below for the first issue discussed, the metal issue.

Roof Flashing Discrepancy

ANSWER:  Hopefully the metal issue jumps out at you.  For locators, you are standing on a ladder looking at a 2nd floor corner of a house where the roof joins the brick veneer.  Look at the metal flashing.  Look at the cracks, or gaps, in the flashing caulk as it comes around the corner of the house.  You should be able to see the vertical gaps in the caulk were they have opened up and the flashing has pulled away from the veneer.  This is a water leak waiting to happen.  The next picture is a closeup of this discrepancy.

Closeup of Loose Flashing

But, a more subtle issue also lurks in the photos above.  This issue involves some wood.  See the picture below for another view.  Remember, water flows downhill following the path of least resistance.

Poor Roof Valley Instalaltion

So in the pic above where is the water flowing down the valley on the right going to go?  Looks like it terminates at the piece of vertical wood trim.  So the wood trim acts like a bit of a dam, doesn’t it?  See another closeup of this installation below.

Poor Roof Valley Termination

Sure, eventually the water in the valley comes down and kicks out around the end of the wood trim and valley and goes on down the roof, but was it really necessary to point the valley exactly at this corner of the house.  NO!  A better design would terminate the valley to the right of the corner of the house so the majority of the water runoff does not flow into the wood trim and the side of the house.  This installation combined with the cracked flashing caulk makes a roof leak at this corner likely. 

And the third issue with this installation is proximity.  Most manufacturers of wood or composite siding require at least 1″ spacing between adjacent roof shingles and their siding products.  Failure to provide this spacing can allow water from the roof to wick onto and into the siding material and damage it.  In the pictures above you can see the composite siding and wood trim are all the way down and into contact with the roof shingles.  In fact, if you look close at one picture above, and look up the roof somewhat, you can see where some of the composite siding has already started to be damaged (flaking) due to moisture.  The 1″ spacing would have prevented this.  Another picture of this damage is provided below.

Damaged Siding in Contact with Shingles

Thank you,

Richard Acree

Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC,  and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill, Lebanon, Gallatin and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at, or call 615-376-2753. 

Richard Acree is the author of  the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections blog at ActiveRain, WordPress, and Blogger, and Founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors.  All are welcome to join and comment on those blogs and group.   You can also follow HABITEC on Facebook and Richard on Linked.  Thank you!


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