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How far should you investigate?


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How far do you dig when something alerts you to an issue? I find sometimes I think too much, complicating things instead of just writing down what I've observed.

Yesterday's inspection was a crappy beat up semi -detached, recently flipped by someone with a very low budget and even lower reno skill levels. I think the bank owned it ... no occupants. One bedroom over the garage had a flat roof. I couldn't see anything from the ground, so got out the ladder. The roof was covered in snow, but I kicked some aside with my boots. Ice and water under the snow. Here's where I probably should have stopped. But here is also where it started to get interesting.

1 One section about 6 x 12 had no gravel cover ... what looked like a new section of torch down membrane. Right here I should have just said "roof has been repaired, ask seller about it", but now I was curious.

2 Inside the house there were a few light stains and sloppy patching job on the ceiling directly below. I ran my Tramex moisture meter all over this area, pegging the meter in a few places. I have to get a pin-type meter to use as confirmation! The Tramex could just be reading taped areas or areas thick with drywall mud ... I've seen this before.

3 My IR camera showed large colder spots (about 6 degrees F) here. Yes, I know ... sometimes IR cameras can really lead you down the garden path if you don't know how to interpret the images properly.

Could it be that the roof was successfully repaired, but not allowed to dry out?

Could it be that it really was dry, but insulation was compressed by leaking water and never bounced back, hence the cold areas?

Add in my built-in distrust of flat roofs on houses (No one around here seems to get it right), and my brain is just chasing it's tail. I always wonder "why not just slope the roof a little?" The water just runs right off ... it's really pretty slick!

What would Mike Holmes do? :-) Probably rip it all open and call it crap ... but I can't do that, right?

Maybe I should have just stayed off the roof, and reported that I couldn't see it from the ground.

Oh, and up in the attic, I found that the rest of the roof (sloped, with 3 year old shingles) had sheathing that was all spotted black with rot or mold, and wet! Everywhere! But the insulation was dry.

No soffit vents ... just peak vents ... condensation?

Some days I should just stay in the truck and eat my lunch. And not think so much.

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How far do you dig when something alerts you to an issue?

Once I get to the point where I'm not confident that a condition is satisfactory I will often stop evaluating it and report a concern. If I've got time and my curiosity is running rampant I'll spend some more time checking things out.

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