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Step flashing versa J type flashing


old Marine
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This is a common problem faced by inspectors in the Houston TX area. I have been calling improperly installed flashing along side walls and chimney's etc for longer than I want to remember. The IRC as well as shingle manufactures, siding manufactures as well as national trade origanizations all require step flashing along side walls with composite type shingles. In the Houston TX area the Houston Builders asso as well as city inspection departments allow the use of J type flashing. The worst of the problem is that many inspectors in this area also either do not know it is wrong or just look the other way. I am posting this with the hopes that more inspectors will become aware of this incorrect method of installing flashing and start calling it that way.

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Hi O.M.,

We had a fellow from Texas post on here a while ago about how J flashing is commonly used down that way.

Here's what you and other smart Texan H.I.'s should do:

1. Continue to call it

2. When roofers say it's OK and AHJ's back up the roofer tell the client to insist that they both provide proof in writing.

3. Wait for the next major hurricane or storm.

4. When people start bitching about leaky roofs and it finally makes it onto the local news and they start raking H.I.s over the coals, dig out your reports showing that you'd reported it and show those reports to the muckraking reporters - point out that roofers and the local officials who're supposed to ensure the roof is done right - have screwed thousands.

5. Have your clients back you up by naming the local officials who'd advised folks to blow you off - have the client show the written explanation.

6. Sit back and wait for the hundreds of folks who will be calling you and wanting you to check their roofs for a fee to tell them whether their roofs are installed correctly or wrong.

7. Outwardly feel a little embarassment that other H.I.s have been letting J-flashings go and have let so many people down.

8. On your way to the bank, inwardly chuckle at your good fortune at being the "correct" guy and not one of those who just went along with the AHJ's opinion.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm not sure if anyone has written this already but the roof shingles have to lay flat. This so called J type flashing does not accomplish that. So I would write it up as wrong and that correction is needed to ensure proper performance.

I would always call this out and if anyone question it, I would tell them my professional opinion and move on. Glad they don't do that around here.

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Originally posted by qhinspect

Glad they don't do that around here.

Well, given the speed that dumb shortcuts seem to spread throughout the construction world in such short time, I think that unless someone calls this over and over and over, and makes those AHJ pull their heads out of their asses, that it could spread very quickly to the rest of the country.

People in construction trades - especially the unskilled folks - seem to be kind of nomadic and they go wherever construction is hot at the moment.

O.M.,

This is really just a tile roof flashing. Some horse's as with teeth replaced a tile roof with a comp roof at some point, left the J-channel in place, and said to himself, "Man, that was easy!" and from that point on began to use the technique and it started to spread. It needs to be nipped in the bud.

Seems to me that an enterprising home inspector who wanted to make a name for himself could find at least one cub muckraking reporter working for the local AP rag, that's looking for a hot button topic to make a name for him/herself, and could get an article written and published. From there, it would be picked by google and get spread nationwide.

It would need some kind of really alarming title; how about Local Roofing Technique Threatens to Destroy Many Homes or something like that? You get yourself quoted multiple times, you name the AHJ that's allowed it and the roofing company that's using it, and you point out that it's not just that company and that one jurisdiction and that it's spreading throughout the region and clueless AHJ's aren't doing anything about it. Then you refer the reporter to folks at the NRCA and ARMA that say the method is dicked up, so that they'll back you up.

You gain credibility, the AHJ's and the roofers lose credibility, and suddenly lawyers all over town want you to be their EW when people start suing their roofers.

Ta Da! You'll be the consumer's hero and the 'zoids instant nemesis; what could be better than that?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The problem we have is that the Builders have some much clout of the Politicals that everyone just hides. The newspapers will not come out and smack the builders because they will pull advertising dollars. Texas came out with the TRCC Texas Residential Construction Commission which was to over see building in Texas. Guess who the govener appointed as head of the commission. A man named Perry that is also Perry homes. It just want to make a person puke. I have heard feed back from my clients all the time that the builders just tell them the inspectors don't know what there talking about. most believe the builders.

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  • 3 years later...

I have a contract on a builder inventory house in the Houston area with a builder with a good reputation. The H.I. came out yesterday and flagged the J-flashing. I was lucky that the H.I. did this. I turned the inspection report over to the builder and realtor. After reading this, I think I'm inclined to insist that the builder replace the J flashing with step flashing on the junction between the side wall of the upstairs room (1.5) and the roof. Don't know what the builder's going to do. If they refuse, maybe I should walk away from the house. I'm wondering what steps they would need to take to fix it and how much it would cost to get an independent contractor to fix it if the builder refuses to fix it. Also, builders have warranties, and I'm wondering whether the warranty would take care of this.

Many thanks!!

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The most difficult part of the repair is removing the siding, then re-installing it after the step flashing is in place. That's a lot of trouble.

Next to you in south Louisiana, I see step flashing on no more than one newly constructed home out of twenty. Don't recall ever seeing issues with it unless the roofer nailed his shingles through it.

If new-construction in your area is anything like here, there's likely to be other issues far more significant than just this 'J flashing'.

If there's a host of other significant or perhaps major issues along with the J flashing, walk away if you can. If not, you might find after walking that the best house is behind you, especially if you hire a crack inspector.

Marc

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I have a contract on a builder inventory house in the Houston area with a builder with a good reputation. The H.I. came out yesterday and flagged the J-flashing. I was lucky that the H.I. did this. I turned the inspection report over to the builder and realtor. After reading this, I think I'm inclined to insist that the builder replace the J flashing with step flashing on the junction between the side wall of the upstairs room (1.5) and the roof. Don't know what the builder's going to do. If they refuse, maybe I should walk away from the house. I'm wondering what steps they would need to take to fix it and how much it would cost to get an independent contractor to fix it if the builder refuses to fix it. Also, builders have warranties, and I'm wondering whether the warranty would take care of this.

I think you'd be a dope to walk away from a house because of this single issue.

If it were me, I'd wait for it to leak before I'd invest a dime in repairing it. The J-flashing technique isn't ideal, but it's not terrible either. Thank your home inspector, buy the house, and enjoy your life.

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Next to you in south Louisiana, I see step flashing on no more than one newly constructed home out of twenty.

I'm surprised to hear this. Are you under the IRC? R905.2.8.3 requires step flashing.

.........wow! that's a lot of new homes. Do you inspect new construction exclusively?...........Greg.

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You can inspect it yourself. Arm yourself with a copy of the installation instructions for the particular brand and product line of shingle that's on the roof. If you don't know how to find it, tell us and someone will give you the link for you to download and print out. Study it a little then go out there and watch the contractor do the repair. Make sure he sees the instructions sticking out of your back pocket.

If you can't be there, the inspector who pointed it out to you seems a good choice.

Marc

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Seems like the correct repair is going to involve removing and replacing the siding, lapping the WRB over the flashing, etc. If the roofer gets sent out the to do the whole thing... look out. I have seen roofers try to loosen siding, jam the flashing up under it, then pound the siding back down. What are the chances of that working right?

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One other related question.. I believe the siding the J flashing is under is Hardy plank. Is it possible to remove the Hardy plank to install the new step flashing, and then re-attach the same Hardy plank? A guy at work indicated that you cannot re-attach Hardy plank. Is this true? If so, it maybe seems like too much trouble to replace the J-flashing.

Thanks again!!!

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One other related question.. I believe the siding the J flashing is under is Hardy plank. Is it possible to remove the Hardy plank to install the new step flashing, and then re-attach the same Hardy plank? A guy at work indicated that you cannot re-attach Hardy plank. Is this true? If so, it maybe seems like too much trouble to replace the J-flashing.

It's possible to remove and reattach hardiplank, but it's a pain in the butt and probably cheaper and easier to just toss the old stuff and replace it with new.

This is one of those times when trying to fix something that isn't broken will yield a mess. If it's not leaking, just let it run its course. You can install proper flashing when the roof needs to be replaced down the road.

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The caulking alone cries, "I am an idiot!"

That said, if there is no step flashing (you are so sure?), this J flashing will surely leak in severe wind driven rains. You may never notice.

Mike, are you looking at Old Marine's first picture or his second one. The second picture is not J-flashing, it's just stupid flashing.

The J-flashing in the first picture isn't ideal, but it works ok and isn't particularly susceptible to wind-driven rain.

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