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  1. #1
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    Default Wood roof advise

    Hey guys another question. Up here at 9000 ft. wood roofs have become very rare due to severe hail in summer, UV rays, and fire. Therefore I have never inspected a home that had one. This is a 20 yr old high end home. Are these shingles, or shakes? There is visable splitting and cracking in the wood. What is the typical underlayment for these roofs. I have not been in the attic yet because the inspection is tomorrow, I just swung by today because it was on my way home. So what should I say in the report about this type of roof? Thanks as always.

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    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Paul,

    1) Shakes. They are uneven. Wood shingles are cut, tend to be thin and are are a uniform taper. Shakes are split and therefore not uniform.

    2) Splits and cracks are not unusual. However...

    3) Shakes are typically laid-up in courses with a felt paper underlayment over spaced wood sheathing. In some areas around here, plywood sheathing was used. This typically results in a shorter life span as the shake is unable to dry out and it cracks/cups excessively.

    Loose shakes should be replaced. Look for felt paper underlayment between shakes as this will often indicate "burned-through" or aged shakes.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Gunnar: so from these pics would you say that roof is near the end of its life???

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Those are shakes.... and appear to be of reasonable quality. That being said, any shake roof that is 20 years old is at or near the end of it's typical life expectancy.

    There are two common paths to take as these roofs age.. one is just ride it out and replace it when it leaks (or you're sick of worrying about when it will leak). The other method is to clean and treat the roof and replace the worst of the shakes. This is typically done by the 'bundle' which refers to the number of shakes to be replaced.

    Either method is fine. To me it comes down to what your plans and financial means are. If you're in for the long haul it's probably best to just replace the roof rather than throw thousands of dollars at a sinking ship. If all you need is a few years out of it maybe just doing some 'maintanence' is best.

    In either case, realize (or caution your client) that whichever service a given contractor provides will undoubtedly be the one he sees as the "only" thing to do.

    From an inspection standpoint that roof is very easy. Take pictures, look closely for leaks and state facts. At this point any use that roof provides is kind of a gift.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Paul,

    Difficult to say from the pics, but they do not seem to be too bad. I find that the south and west facing sides are generally in the worst condition. That is the case around here. North is often in pretty good shape. Ridge is usually shot. Shakes can be repaired for a while by replacing individual shakes, but at some point, replacement becomes necessary. If the roof is covered with snow, it will be difficult to judge condition, however the south side has a greater chance of being clear as the snow will melt off.

    I have been running into fewer and fewer shake roofs over the years as the material is expensive, do not last like they did 50 years ago and tend to make a very cheery bonfire at inopportune times.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
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    Garland, TX
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
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  7. #7
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Got this somewhere on inspecting shake/shingle roofs.

    WOOD SHINGLE/SHAKE ROOFS: Life expectancy is anywhere between 10-30 years. Leaves and pine needles can trap moisture leading to fungus growth, premature rot and leaks. Excessive moisture as well as moss and other fungi, both of which are more common on north-facing surfaces, can break down wood shingles. South side roof surfaces tend to degrade due to higher temperature and UV exposure. A good indication of this is brittle, split and cupped shingles. Wood shingle butt ends should not be soft and rotten, breaking up, splitting and cracking. Loose or missing wood shingles noted. Very dark or dark shingles are a sign of mildew. There are chemical treatments available to kill moss and mildew. There are sealants available and water resistant stains that include a mildewcide and moss retarder. This may prolong the useful life of roof.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Here is the south side. Notice all the nails staples and pieces of shakes in gutter.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    That's another common finding with shake roofs... face nailing/stapleing. It's often done to give the roof a more appealing flat appearance. Sometimes, just shortly after it's installed. It's a short term solution since it creates a splitting point that's exposed to the elements.

    I'd say that roof has pretty much had it....


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    FWIW I would advise client to remove that "kindling" from roof asap and put a real roof cover on their house. A number of jurisdictions in CA have removed wood shake roof covering from their approved list.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    That's another common finding with shake roofs... face nailing/stapleing.

    Face nailing creates leak points *through* the shingles / shakes and the felt interlayment / underlayment.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Paul,

    Yes, this side definitely looks worse for wear. Certainly needs attention and possibly replacement.

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  13. #13
    Stephen Houmard's Avatar
    Stephen Houmard Guest

    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    I've never seen a wooden roof in costal Carolina. I wonder how long it would last. My newspaper rots in about 6 hours if it sits outside.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default Re: Wood roof advise

    Looking for something else I ran across this article describing a quiet ambitious wood shingle roof replacement project, the "combed ridge" detail for example was new to me:

    Rooftop Systems Engineers, Wood Shingle Reroofing Historic Chowan County Courthouse

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 05-29-2008 at 06:16 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

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