Roof Sealant Is Not A Proper Long Term Roof Repair
During a home inspection I often observe roof sealant around areas like the chimney, roof vents, plumbing pipes, and the electric service mast. Roofs and roof problems can be a very costly issue for home owners especially people buying a home who are on a budget. Buying a home without knowing there are some significant roof problems can cause some serious financial hardships and make home ownership difficult.
There are many improper repairs that I see on roofs. One of the most common is the improper use of roof sealant. Roof sealant is not a proper repair for a flashing problem. Covering a problem area that may be leaking or needing repair with roof sealant is the wrong solution to a problem. Replacing the flashing is the proper repair for a flashing problem. Roof flashing should last as long as the shingles when the right materials are used. Often roof sealant is a quick fix done by a homeowner or unskilled roofer who is not trying to repair the roof properly. It's the fix that involves the least work and skill and will not last.
Often home owners will have their roofs replaced but will not have flashing repaired or replaced. Flashing is often susceptible to damage or deterioration and needs replacement occasionally. When roof sealant is used that is usually a clue that there is an active problem with that area of the roof.
Chimneys are a frequent problem found during home inspections. For chimneys a proper flashing is metal flashing that is properly attached to the roof and chimney to prevent water intrusion. Chimney flashing is critical as it can damage the chimney if water intrusion occurs as well as damage interior portions of the home. Using roof sealant for chimney flashing is a temporary fix and will need constant maintenance by a homeowner to ensure that it is not allowing water leaks through the roof. Roof sealant does not last long and can begin to crack or become prone to leaks in a short period of time. Proper flashing material is a long term fix that will last years and will not need maintenance for some time.
Other areas where flashing is critical are roof vents, skylights, and plumbing vents. Skylights are notorious for water leaks and the flashing area around skylights needs to be inspected carefully to ensure that there are no moisture intrusion problems. Flashing can often be improperly installed and this can also lead to leaking issues.
Roof problems can be very expensive and difficult to fix. Have your roof fixed properly by a qualified roofing professional. Not all roofing professionals are created equal. Ensure the roofing professional has good references and reviews. Not all roofing professionals do proper repairs.
Ensure that your roof is inspected properly and inspected by a qualified individual. If your home inspector does not walk roofs they should be using a drone or pole camera in order to get a full view of the roof so that there are no issues that they miss or cannot observe. At Dairyland Home Inspection roof problems are just one of the many home problems we find and check for during a home inspection. We serve Racine, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Waukesha, and Walworth Counties.
Bob Carter is a home inspector in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. He is the owner of Dairyland Home Inspection.