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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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My Roof Leaks :(
Old 03-14-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
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My Roof Leaks :(

I've suspected it for a while now, cue to a couple of spots that appeared some time ago on my upstairs ceiling. This morning when I got up, it was raining like crazy and there appeared to be a darker patch in the middle of an already existing spot. I got up on a chair and felt it, and sure enough, it was damp to the touch and even felt like the drywall was a little soft. This is pretty pitiful, because this house was bought new from the builder only 14 years ago. The house I lived in before this was built in 1920—it had an existing roof on it when I bought it in 1985 and the same roof when I sold in 1997, and there was never a suspicion of leakage anywhere. A complicating factor is that it's only half of the building. I think the other half is a rental, not owner-occupied, and I don't know whether it leaks or not.

I'm planning to retire in a little over 2 years and sell the house at that time. So now I need to figure out what to do about this roof situation. I could fix it now, but that would mean either taking out a loan or reducing my retirement savings to pay cash for the repair. I also don't know what happens if you re-roof half of a duplex, or if that's even possible. I don't know the owner of the other unit and have only a bare acquaintance with the occupants. I could have a new roof put on immediately before sale, after the end of the 2012-2013 rainy season. I could then honestly tell prospective buyers, "it did leak, but I've just had the roof replaced". Or, I could do nothing and sell the unit as is. "Yes, those are water spots on the ceiling, and the asking price has been reduced accordingly." If I re-roof now, and the problem is something other than the shingles, the roof could leak again before the planned sale date, but if I wait, heaven only knows what might be going on structurally between then and now. Heaven knows if there is already structural damage, and I don't know if I want to find out because I have to disclose what I know to any potential buyer. I could ask a real-estate agent for marketing advice: "what should I do about this roof so I can sell the house in a reasonable time for a reasonable amount when the time comes? What will cost me more, a new roof or a price reduction?" Etc etc.

And I have no idea at all about how to approach the owner of the other half about doing both sides at once, if I decide to re-roof now.

I need your advice!
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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You have to fix the roof.

The other side probably has to fix its roof too. Do you have an association or covenants or some kind of shared maintenance agreement?
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:07 AM   #3
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First, let me say that I am no expert.

Leaking of any kind is scary to me because water can be a source of so many potential problems (rot, mold, pest, etc...). I personally would not ignore such problem.

Fixing the problem does not have to be costly either. Perhaps you have a bad shingle or a piece of flashing needs to be replaced. Anyways, first, you should figure out where the water comes from.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:28 AM   #4
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Most leaks are caused by a flashing that has come loose or possibly a shingle that has blown up and torn. Reshingling an entire roof is a last ditch effort if the shingles are significantly worn and curled.

I had a leak in my living room and it turned out the siding to roof flashing had a loose nail that was not sealed properly and the nail had popped up. I sealed the hole and whacked in a longer nail. Ten minute fix and virtually zero cost.

You need to hire someone that can diagnose and fix the real problem. If you call a reroofer you will get a new roof.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:52 AM   #5
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I agree with travelover, had the same problem, nail pop. I renailed it, covered it with a dab of roofing tar and it passed a home inspection last week. The water stains can easily be covered by using a stain killing primer and repainting the ceiling once the leak has been fixed.

I wouldn't ever recommend reducing the price for a house sale, you might as well hang a sign on the "For Sale" that states "instant $25-50k I have a roof leak", buyers don't want to deal with a roof leak they'll just move on to the next home. If you end up reshingling the place, no need to mention the leak, it's fixed and buyers will see that.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
Most leaks are caused by a flashing that has come loose or possibly a shingle that has blown up and torn. Reshingling an entire roof is a last ditch effort if the shingles are significantly worn and curled.

I had a leak in my living room and it turned out the siding to roof flashing had a loose nail that was not sealed properly and the nail had popped up. I sealed the hole and whacked in a longer nail. Ten minute fix and virtually zero cost.

You need to hire someone that can diagnose and fix the real problem. If you call a reroofer you will get a new roof.
If your roof had 30 year shingles on it, at age 14 it should not need replacing ...yet. It does sound like a flashing problem which is easily fixed. It is important as others have said...to find a roofing company that specializes in "fixing" roof problems and not just tearing the whole thing off..and reroofing.
Recently had a similar problem that turned out to be the flashing on a gable...had it fixed for about $500. Have been thru snow, ice and rain...since...with no leak...so it is fixed...and I am happy.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:25 PM   #7
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The poll looks pretty conclusive. I can't imagine not fixing it, odds are it will get worse and be more expensive to fix if you wait. I'd try to coordinate with the other owner, but I'd proceed on my own if they aren't interested. And if you act sooner rather than later, you may find it's a relatively simple fix now, but won't be later.

You may also find that the neighbor has the same problem, IOW you might have water problems if the other unit isn't addressed too.

And selling it as-is at a discount isn't likely. You'll scare off most potential buyers regardless of the discount (they can't know if it's adequate). I'd walk away from a house with evidence of a leak no matter what the price. And you will probably be forced to pay to fix it for a new owner once the final inspection is done, the lender will probably require it. Part of the owning a house...but sorry to hear about your problems.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:20 PM   #8
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My current roof has had a couple of leaks over the years, and each time it was around a vent pipe (both leaked at one time or another). A little roofing caulk/sealer around the flashing took care of the leaks each time for only the cost of the sealer ($3-$4).

Also had a roofing nail pop through the shingles on a previous house, all it took was re-nailing and sealing with a dab of roofing cement/caulk. Amazing how much water leaked through this one nail hole.

It's quite possible that you have one of these two issues that can be inexpensively repaired.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:56 PM   #9
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Kyounge, have a couple or three roofers come out and look at it. As the above posts state, it could be a minor problem that won't break you to fix it, and you don't want it to become a big one.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:19 PM   #10
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Fix it. It may be minor, or your roof may need replacing, but this is just one of the normal costs of maintaining a house. If you don't fix it, there may be irreparable damage. As already said, get several estimates.

Do work with your neighbour. However, where I come from (Ireland) duplexes (known as semi detached houses) are very common and it is quite common to see that one owner has replaced the roof. Obviously it looks nicer if both do it together and get the same materials. Note that materials are different there (slate and tile) because the default walls are brick or cement block.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:37 PM   #11
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Coincidentally I'm in the middle of getting quotes for a new roof.

My house is 33 years old. At the 16 yr mark, I had a second layer of shingles installed over the first. Now I'm having both layers stripped off and all new installed. It's just preventative maintenance since once a roof leaks and causes damage inside, you have both issues to deal with.

But, I'm not selling my house. I'm staying and just don't want any roof problems for the next decade or so while I'm here and I'd likely have to do the roof sometime in that time frame anyway, so why not do it now?

In your case, as suggested by others, find at least two roofers who specialize in repairs and get quotes. It might be simple. It might be complicated. But you need to understand what is causing the leak and get it fixed.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:56 PM   #12
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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.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:59 PM   #13
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Blue tarp?
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:04 PM   #14
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Fix it. It may be minor, or your roof may need replacing, but this is just one of the normal costs of maintaining a house. If you don't fix it, there may be irreparable damage. As already said, get several estimates.

Do work with your neighbour. However, where I come from (Ireland) duplexes (known as semi detached houses) are very common and it is quite common to see that one owner has replaced the roof. Obviously it looks nicer if both do it together and get the same materials. Note that materials are different there (slate and tile) because the default walls are brick or cement block.
Well, at least appearance won't be a problem. There is another duplex between this one and the street, and the buildings are 3 stories high, so you can't see much if any of the roof of this building from the street, and the units are front & back, not side by side, so my roof is facing completely toward the street and the other unit's roof is facing completely away. What do I say to the owner of the other unit? Do I ask the tenants if the roof leaks or just go straight to the owner?
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:10 PM   #15
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Heaven knows if there is already structural damage, and I don't know if I want to find out because I have to disclose what I know to any potential buyer.
I need your advice!
There's a lot of time and money between "Got a roof leak" and "Need a new roof".

Get yourself up in the attic during the next rain, or get a roofer up on the roof to find the specific problem. You don't want to wait for the buyer's home inspector to provide that service, because after two years it'll be a lot worse and you'll have to fix it before closing.

I say this as spouse and I have a small nail sticking down through the ceiling of our kitchen. It marks the drain hole where the water goes when a rainstorm comes from the southwest with high winds, and only under those conditions. We thought we'd fixed it once before, but we have a little more work left to do. So sometime this month I'll go up into that void, with her on the roof spraying the garden hose to help find the leak, and we'll patch some more.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:17 PM   #16
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DO NOT FILE AN INSURANCE CLAIM unless serious damage has been done. Take care of this yourself.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:23 PM   #17
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DO NOT FILE AN INSURANCE CLAIM unless serious damage has been done. Take care of this yourself.
taking this a step further, DO NOT EVEN INQUIRE WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR MENTION THE POSSIBILITY OF A LEAK ; i.e "If I file a claim for a minor roof leak will it affect my premiums?"... they will view this as an "incident" and either raise your rates or drop you...
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
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DO NOT FILE AN INSURANCE CLAIM unless serious damage has been done. Take care of this yourself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westernskies View Post
taking this a step further, DO NOT EVEN INQUIRE WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR MENTION THE POSSIBILITY OF A LEAK ; i.e "If I file a claim for a minor roof leak will it affect my premiums?"... they will view this as an "incident" and either raise your rates or drop you...
I would never have considered this as a potential insurance claim. It wasn't a branch falling on the roof or big hailstones that caused the leak. On a house this new I'm assuming it is some flaw in either the materials or the construction of the roof—that's not a matter for the insurance company. I'm not sure it wouldn't be fraudulent for me to file a claim on this.

But I am not going up there myself. This is a three story house!
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:38 PM   #19
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But I am not going up there myself. This is a three story house!
I'm suggesting that you can do more in the attic (or whatever space is above the ceiling) than the roofer can do from the roof. I've found a few nasty roof leaks in my day during by going around the attic with a flashlight during a torrential downpour. If the weather's not cooperating and you can't find someone willing to provide the downpour with a garden hose then it's time to call in the pros.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:55 PM   #20
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I would never have considered this as a potential insurance claim. It wasn't a branch falling on the roof or big hailstones that caused the leak. On a house this new I'm assuming it is some flaw in either the materials or the construction of the roof—that's not a matter for the insurance company. I'm not sure it wouldn't be fraudulent for me to file a claim on this.

But I am not going up there myself. This is a three story house!
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!
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