|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 03:33 pm: ||
I am in the process of purchasing a house, but the inspector found some problems with the slate roof-
The slates along the closed valley between the two adjoining roof sections was covered over with a strip of tar or some other similar substance. The inspector I hired indicated to me that the strip of tarry stuff was probably a temporary repair for what was, in all liklihood, deteriorating flashing underneath.
Although the question about whether the roof had ever leaked or not was left unanswered in the seller's disclosure (big red flag), sure enough, the inspector found evidence of previous leakage from the roof in an area under the problem valley.
I told the sellers that I wanted the valley fixed properly before I would buy the house, so they offered to have a professional roofer come and assess the situation. I asked to be present at the assessment of the roof.
This is where the real fun began...
The next day, I met with the sellers and the professional roofer they called. To my astonishment, I soon discovered that the roofer the sellers had called to assess the roof was the very same person who had performed the temporary patch job on the valley I was worried about. I was very frustrated at that point because I realized that the sellers had put me in the awkward position of having to criticize the roofer's work to his face. I could only wonder- Were the sellers expecting me to accept the roofer's opinion as unbiased?
The roofer proceeded to tell me that he is an expert and that house inspectors don't know what they are talking about. The sellers were in the background nodding in agreement with the roofer who seemed quite chummy with the sellers.
I told the roofer that everything the inspector told me was confirmed in various articles I have read on the internet. I even offered to show him printouts of those articles, but he did not want to look at them. He again reassured me that he is the expert and that I should listen to him. I also told him that while driving around the neighborhood, I could not find any instances of slate roofs repaired in the same manner that he repaired the roof in question. To that, he said that he added the strip of goo to protect the copper flashing and to provide "watertightness" to the valley. And again, he mentioned his expertise.
Basically, the sellers and the roofers tried to sell me on the notion that the repair was not a temporary patch as indicated by the inspector, but rather a completely normal and viable solution to the problem of a leaky valley. Trying to be diplomatic or at least not get beat up, I agreed that the repair was adequate for now, but I told the sellers that I was concerned about how long such a repair would hold up. The sellers said they did not want to replace the flashing in the problem valley. I told the sellers that I would have to think about everything.
Did I handle the situation correctly?
Tony, Erie PA
|Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 09:33 am: ||
Yes, you're probably not getting the truth. That's my personal opinion as a slate-roof homeowner! Tar patching is no way to fix leaking valley on a slate roof ... even so, Erie has lots of botched tar jobs. It is at best temporary and, depending on your climate, will only last a few seasons ... it's just like roll roofing ... designed to fail. It's also an aesthetical abomination! The ideal, proper, and permanent repair is valley replacement with 20 oz copper, stainless steel, or lead (which is hard to get in the US). According to other postings on this site, open valley replacement would cost $80-100 per linear foot .... I don't know what closed valley would cost, but it's probably slightly higher as there's more labor? You could have a roofer who does slate have a look at the valley, with both your and the seller's realtors present to get the real truth!
|Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 01:55 pm: ||
Thanks for your response, Tony.
I decided to kill the deal. I figured that if the sellers were not forthcoming about the history of their roof, then there is a good chance they are not being forthcoming about other parts of the house. In addition to that, I was angered by the dog and pony show they put on to explain their roof's questionable valley repair. I might have gone through with the deal if the sellers had at least admitted that they had chosen a cheap and temporary solution to their leaking valley problem, but since they were not even willing to go that far, I decided to pull out of the deal.
|Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 05:56 pm: ||
Tony is right. The only way to properly repair a leaking closed slate valley is to remove the valley slate, remove the faulty metal flashing, replace the flashing (we usually use 20 ounce copper - see page 271, Slate Roof Bible, 2nd edition), then reslate the valley (presumably with the same slate that was removed). There are competent slaters in the Erie area. Check the contractor directory on this site.