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View Poll Results: What should I do about my leaky roof?
Try to work with the other owner to re-roof both sides now. 15 51.72%
Re-roof your side now; don't try to coordinate with the other owner. 4 13.79%
Wait until right before sale to re-roof; coordinate with the other owner. 0 0%
Wait until right before sale to re-roof; don't coordinate with the other owner. 0 0%
Don't re-roof; sell the house as-is at a reduced price. 0 0%
Get marketing advice from a real-estate agent. 1 3.45%
Other (please describe) 9 31.03%
Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-15-2011, 01:17 AM   #21
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Age of the house doesn't matter, it may simply be an expansion/contraction cycle of the seasons that caused a nail to pop and push through a shingle or a high wind breaks off a part and exposes the nails. This happens a lot. It's not a flaw in materials or construction. When was the last time someone walked on the roof to inspect it? I try to do this every year to look for potential problems and to cement points that had been cemented in the first place. Roofing cement will wear with uv and weather. One of my neighbors has at least 5-6 broken shingle tabs...I'm amazed that he doesn't have a clue. But then again, he had a metal railing rust off his 2nd story window and it clanged off his house. He came out thinking I threw something at his house until he realized it rusted off!
Nobody has been on the roof since the house was built. I saw someone on my neighbor's roof (the other building, not the other unit in this building) a few weeks ago. It looked like they were cleaning the gutters. Darn if I know how anything would get in the gutters, there are no trees taller than these houses anywhere close. I did find a shingle in my courtyard once a while ago, but there's no telling whose roof it came from.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:48 AM   #22
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I think that many people consider roofs to be some mysterious, incomprehensible entity. Around here, a roof is a 1/2" sheet of plywood, maybe a thin sheet of tar paper, then a layer of 1/16" thick shingles over it. Transitions, like to a chimney or wall have some aluminum squares bent and overlapped. Pipes through the roof have a rubber or plastic seal. Knowing that and that water runs downhill, any able bodied person can diagnose and fix a leaking roof. I'm not suggesting that anyone get on a roof if you feel unsafe, but rather that you can hire a competent person to analyze and repair most leaks inexpensively. Reshingling a whole roof when you just have a nail pop or loose flashing is like installing a new engine in your car because you need a new spark plug.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:01 AM   #23
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There is no future in ignoring this issue. It isn't going to get better by itself, and if I were a potential buyer I'd leave skid marks running away from a home with even a hint of a roof problem. Ignoring it means further water damage to the underlayment, structural trusses, insulation, drywall, and of course repainting when the underlying repairs have been made. One of DW's cousins made the mistake of delaying roof replacement and she ended up paying four times the cost of the new roof in other repairs caused by the delay.

You don't have enough information to decide whether you need an entire roof, and until you do know where the leak is you can't make a good decision.

And if you do need a new roof there's no point in putting off the inevitable. It's just going to get worse, like a toothache, so you may as well bite the bullet and get it over with.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:20 AM   #24
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Reshingling a whole roof when you just have a nail pop or loose flashing is like installing a new engine in your car because you need a new spark plug.
Travelover,
I'm with you on this, but the people who have voted clearly prefer a new engine instead! 70% want a new roof, it was 75% before.

Kyounge,
I'm amazed the roof has gone all this time without presenting a problem until now. You mentioned money is a concern right now, find/ask people for recommendations on roofers they've used. Most, if not all will do free quotes. They'll get up and inspect your roof for you. After 2 or 3 estimates, you'll be able to get a good idea of cost and who's giving you a story or the real issue of the problem. To give you an idea, a neighbor hired a roofer to replace 5-6 broken shingles, cost him $600 (Chicago suburb). The only problem is he's going to reroof it this year, so it made no sense to patch it when he's going to redo the whole thing less than 6 months later. He had no leaks, the roof is just at it's replacement time.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:16 AM   #25
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Travelover,
I'm with you on this, but the people who have voted clearly prefer a new engine instead! 70% want a new roof, it was 75% before.
I didn't put any options in the poll for "repair the roof" rather than "replace the roof" due to ignorance on my part. I assume some of those who voted "other" are the ones who have said I should just have it repaired.

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Kyounge,
I'm amazed the roof has gone all this time without presenting a problem until now. You mentioned money is a concern right now, find/ask people for recommendations on roofers they've used. Most, if not all will do free quotes. They'll get up and inspect your roof for you. After 2 or 3 estimates, you'll be able to get a good idea of cost and who's giving you a story or the real issue of the problem. To give you an idea, a neighbor hired a roofer to replace 5-6 broken shingles, cost him $600 (Chicago suburb). The only problem is he's going to reroof it this year, so it made no sense to patch it when he's going to redo the whole thing less than 6 months later. He had no leaks, the roof is just at it's replacement time.
All this time?!! I bought this house brand new from the builder in 1997! It isn't old enough to call it "all this time". My other house was much, much older and had an older roof on it, and it didn't leak. What's this one's excuse? (Or, what was the old house's secret, so I can incorporate it into the design of my retirement housie?)

Anyway, after I wrote that post I remembered my parents had a new roof put on recently, so I found out who did theirs. That company does free inspection/estimates, so I need to call them and ask for a quote. I don't know where to find out another company. Maybe someone in my choir will know of one.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:47 AM   #26
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I........... what was the old house's secret, so I can incorporate it into the design of my retirement house?)...........
It could be something as simple as the type of flashing or complexity of the roof (valley, gables).

It really ain't rocket surgery.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:38 PM   #27
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Several years ago we had some pretty hearty windstorms over the winter. Many shingle tabs ripped off my roof and were strewn around on the ground. My house was only at the 15-16 year mark, but the shingles that had been used were thin and not looking good, perhaps a 20 year shingle at best. I got estimates for repairs and reroofing. It seemed to make no sense to pay $500-$600 to do a repair when a new roof would be needed in just a few years. There were no leaks just the obvious damage. I went with the new roof with much better shingles.

This really is a home ownership maintenance issue that shouldn't be put off. I know it can run into money, but waiting could have you doing major moisture damage repair inside the house also. Get some inspections and bids then decide how to proceed.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:30 PM   #28
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My house is about the same age as the OP's. I had a roof leak over the one-story part of the garage last summer.

+1 on the advice to check out the source.

In my case, a gutter downspout from the second-story part of the house had been installed incorrectly from the start. The curved spout at the bottom pointed sideways, sideways across the slope of the roof over the garage. (It should have pointed straight down the slope.)

There was no sign of trouble for years, but eventually the flow spilling out of the downspout worked it's way under the slowly aging shingles, flashing and sealer in the area. In my case, a DIY repair to replace a piece of the plywood deck and 10 sq. ft. of roofing was possible for a couple of hundred dollars in materials.

The sheetrock repair in the garage was the worst part, by the way. Get the roof fixed before the wet spot gets any larger.

I'm not saying your problem is the same, only that Travelover and others are right when they say the root cause is usually easy to spot.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:37 PM   #29
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All this time?!! I bought this house brand new from the builder in 1997! It isn't old enough to call it "all this time". My other house was much, much older and had an older roof on it, and it didn't leak. What's this one's excuse? (Or, what was the old house's secret, so I can incorporate it into the design of my retirement housie?)

Anyway, after I wrote that post I remembered my parents had a new roof put on recently, so I found out who did theirs. That company does free inspection/estimates, so I need to call them and ask for a quote. I don't know where to find out another company. Maybe someone in my choir will know of one.
Maybe my idea of maintenance is different. I prefer to go up and visually check the roof, flashing, skylights and gutter conditions at least once a year. It has served me well, I'm always getting broken tree branches to clear off, caught situations of nail pops early on, worn roof cement and a poor caulking job on the exhaust vent the heat/AC installers did. My current house has trees too close and I've been up on the flat roof clearing out the gutters 10+ times already. Clogged gutters lead to water damage and leaks too.

Age of a roof is all relative to individual conditions, best you can do is manage them with inspections. Your older house probably had tongue and groove planks and installed using hammers. With this house, probably plywood and roofers more concerned about speed, so they used air nailers. Nailers crack wood with ease and plywood has a few thin spots in them too. When you hammer, you can tell easily that you cracked the underlying substrate and usually won't generate wood splitting force either. If you're having trouble getting recommendations, you can ask RE agents, they deal with a lot of roofers in their business too.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:03 PM   #30
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Unless you have roof shingles missing the culprit is most likely near a vent pipe, chimney, skylight, etc. I had a similar problem. A roof guy came over with a caulk gun, spotted the problem right away. The fix cost me 80 bucks. Call a roof guy.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:38 PM   #31
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Aaaargh.

I am just so afraid this is going to turn out to be a huge expensive repair. I am terrified I will get roof work done and it won't stop the leak and I'll end up worse off than I am now, or get ripped off by some fly-by-night outfit that leaves your work half finished for months at a time.

About the only thing that could derail my ER at this point is house problems/no buyer. I can't retire unless I sell this house and end up with at least enough cash to replace it in another location. I wonder if this roof is still covered by any kind of warranty. I better go read that "say something positive" thread. I had a stressful day at work today and everything looks bleak.

My retirement housie is going to have a metal roof, that's for sure.
I have never understood why you plan to move. Unless you can clear a lot of money, whater you "clear" is likely to all get absorbed by expenses of moving and unexpected expenses at you new house.

Other than houses, Seattle costs only slightly more to live in than other desirable Washington locations, and less than some. And it is a lot easier here for a single person to find activities that make a retirees days nice than in many other places, even fairly expensive retirement conclaves which often have other problems anyway- like almost everyone is married or hooked-up.

To sell a house locally right of the bat you spend 10% of your sales price in fees of various sorts.

Ha
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:52 PM   #32
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All this time?!! I bought this house brand new from the builder in 1997! It isn't old enough to call it "all this time".

Anyway, after I wrote that post I remembered my parents had a new roof put on recently, so I found out who did theirs. That company does free inspection/estimates, so I need to call them and ask for a quote. I don't know where to find out another company. Maybe someone in my choir will know of one.
Check with the Better Business Bureau (they have a website) and get estimates from at least three companies that have satisfactory ratings with BBB and, hopefully, you know someone personally who says they are ok companies.
When I had roof repair/replacement done, I had a hard time finding ANY company here that ANY of my friends didn't have a horror story about. I did find one, finally. But roofing is a challenge in this climate, don't know where you are. Anyway, don't be shy about asking for estimates on the fix. They should be free. This is normal business practice. And remember, the cheapest is seldom the least expensive in the long run.
New houses and appliances need repair much more often than old ones, in my experience. Many of us geezers remember growing up in a house that needed little or no repair the entire time we were growing up. Things are that way no longer.
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:02 PM   #33
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Darn if I know how anything would get in the gutters, there are no trees taller than these houses anywhere close.
Birds.

They bring plants up there to eat, or to build nests, or they poop out the seeds. Eventually the seeds get into the gutters where they're surrounded by dirt (runoff from the shingles) and nourished by the dew or rain...
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:11 AM   #34
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I have never understood why you plan to move. Unless you can clear a lot of money, whater you "clear" is likely to all get absorbed by expenses of moving and unexpected expenses at you new house.

Other than houses, Seattle costs only slightly more to live in than other desirable Washington locations, and less than some. And it is a lot easier here for a single person to find activities that make a retirees days nice than in many other places, even fairly expensive retirement conclaves which often have other problems anyway- like almost everyone is married or hooked-up.

To sell a house locally right of the bat you spend 10% of your sales price in fees of various sorts.

Ha
  1. Mortgage. Even with the recent drop in real estate prices, I should be able to walk away from this house with enough to end up with a house free & clear in Aberdeen. My retirement budget doesn't include any mortgage or rent payment. To stay in Seattle after retirement, I'd have to save up enough additional money to pay off the loan on this house, which would delay my retirement by several years. No thank you.
  2. Zoning restrictions. One of the things I'm thinking of doing after I retire is resuming my hobby of breeding and showing pedigreed cats. My current house is not zoned for it. I don't want to put myself in a situation where a disgruntled neighbor could rat me out to Animal Control and put me in the situation of having to re-home a large number of cats in a short space of time. Even if I don't get back into the cat fancy, I would like to do a lot more gardening than is possible in the tiny, shady courtyard available at my current residence.
  3. Aging in place. My current residence is a three-story townhouse, with kitchen/living area on the second floor, bedrooms, bathing facilities and laundry on the third. It is not readily adaptable to "aging in place". I want my retirement home to be someplace I can live in for the rest of my life, unless poor health takes away my ability to live independently at all, and this house ain't it.
Whether activities that makes a retiree's days pleasant are more easily available in Seattle or somewhere else depends on the retiree and what activities they like. You strike me as quite the urbanite, and maybe you wouldn't much enjoy living in the less populous areas of the state. I don't expect there's much tango to be had in Grays Harbor County. But most of the things I like—reading, crafts, gardening, cats, noodling around online—I can do just as well in Aberdeen as Seattle, but I can start doing them several years sooner. And that's why I'm planning to move.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:16 AM   #35
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  1. Mortgage. Even with the recent drop in real estate prices, I should be able to walk away from this house with enough to end up with a house free & clear in Aberdeen. My retirement budget doesn't include any mortgage or rent payment. To stay in Seattle after retirement, I'd have to save up enough additional money to pay off the loan on this house, which would delay my retirement by several years. No thank you.
  2. Zoning restrictions. One of the things I'm thinking of doing after I retire is resuming my hobby of breeding and showing pedigreed cats. My current house is not zoned for it. I don't want to put myself in a situation where a disgruntled neighbor could rat me out to Animal Control and put me in the situation of having to re-home a large number of cats in a short space of time. Even if I don't get back into the cat fancy, I would like to do a lot more gardening than is possible in the tiny, shady courtyard available at my current residence.
  3. Aging in place. My current residence is a three-story townhouse, with kitchen/living area on the second floor, bedrooms, bathing facilities and laundry on the third. It is not readily adaptable to "aging in place". I want my retirement home to be someplace I can live in for the rest of my life, unless poor health takes away my ability to live independently at all, and this house ain't it.
Whether activities that makes a retiree's days pleasant are more easily available in Seattle or somewhere else depends on the retiree and what activities they like. You strike me as quite the urbanite, and maybe you wouldn't much enjoy living in the less populous areas of the state. I don't expect there's much tango to be had in Grays Harbor County. But most of the things I like—reading, crafts, gardening, cats, noodling around online—I can do just as well in Aberdeen as Seattle, but I can start doing them several years sooner. And that's why I'm planning to move.
Understand. Thanks for explaining.

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Old 03-16-2011, 01:23 AM   #36
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It could be something as simple as the type of flashing or complexity of the roof (valley, gables).

It really ain't rocket surgery.
OK that settles it! I've been waffling between a gable and a shed roof for the housie. The shed roof just won. You can't get any simpler than that. The roof on this house isn't any more complex than the one on my old house, but it occurs to me that the roof of my old house was considerably steeper than this one is. Maybe it was just easier for water to run off than to go through.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:59 AM   #37
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Nobody has been on the roof since the house was built. I saw someone on my neighbor's roof (the other building, not the other unit in this building) a few weeks ago. It looked like they were cleaning the gutters. Darn if I know how anything would get in the gutters, there are no trees taller than these houses anywhere close. I did find a shingle in my courtyard once a while ago, but there's no telling whose roof it came from.
Roofs do need a checkup from time to time. Tree branches fall on them. Leaves bung up the gutters and cause overflow. Flashing and shingles deteriorate. In cold climates, the weight of snow may deform the trusses or even lead to collapse, and certain roof configurations (including mine) are prone to ice damming. I have my roof shovelled at least once every winter to prevent ice damming. My rental property condo board (of which I am a member) has a preventive maintenance program in which a roofing company sends an inspector up on the roof annually, enabling us to address problems as they occur, and to forecast the lifespan of the roof, replacement of which we build into our expense budget projections.

I don't know why you are so surprised about the need for roof maintenance.
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:28 AM   #38
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Good luck on the inspection of the roof. We're getting our house ready to sell and we had a couple of sewer vent pipe collars that had deteriorated and were leaking a small amount of water in to the attic. House is about 10 years old, cost about $300 to replace one of them. Roofer that did the repair said the type of rubber used in the vents was "builder grade" and they tend to dry out and separate from the pipe after about 10 years. I could see the gap from inside the attic. Newer one has a neoprene gasket and should last longer? We were glad to find our repair turned out be relatively inexpensive, hope you find the same.
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:10 AM   #39
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......... I could see the gap from inside the attic..........
This is a point worth mentioning. Sometimes you get lucky and can actually see light streaming in through a hole like the rotted flashing around the vent pipes. Worth a look.

It is also true that you should inspect roofs occasionally as preventative maintenance. I have to clean the gutters a couple times a year and I do it then. A handyman can do this job - you don't need a roofer.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:58 AM   #40
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Darn if I know how anything would get in the gutters, there are no trees taller than these houses anywhere close.
How about raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels? Any wires attached to the house? I chased a chipmunk last year, he ran right up my brick wall about 8' high. Also, a friend of mine heard noises in his attic. Turns out a racoon decided to have babies, climbed up his house, no trees close, bent his metal power vent cover to an almost 90 degree angle and exited by busting out the soffits when my friend started banging around to scare them off. I had to use a rubber mallet to pound it back.

I've never seen a rubber pipe vent cover, all the older homes I've worked on they're all made of a flexible metal, I believe they're lead and last a lifetime if you don't puncture or bend them too much.
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