Dormer Failure Roof

Home I inspected yesterday. Built in 2008. Seller stated on seller disclosure she experienced roof leakage during sever snowstorm in 2018. Did not address it at the time. States it was an isolated incident. Three dormers, three leaks directly below the dormers. I reported it as defect requiring correction, owner trying to hold firm on not addressing it as anything other than cosmetic repair to the ceiling.

And? Do you have a question or just telling us about it?

If the roof was repaired, but not the ceiling, the seller should be able to provide the buyer with a receipt indicating repair. If not it’s an active leak and will show up again after a similar weather event.

These things don’t fix themselves!

I was the property manager for a condo association for awhile. We had one house that would have a roof leak every few years in the same spot. It could rain every day and not leak but under just the right circumstances where the rain was coming down hard enough and the wind was blowing in just the right direction it would leak. It took awhile to figure how the water was coming in but it ended up coming in by defying gravity. This may be the case here of the owner thinking it doesn’t leak because it only did it that once.

Seller wants to stand by this as an isolated incident, incurred during a heavy snowfall. Someone told her it happened due to an ice dam forming then melting. From my experience, if an ice dam had formed and melted it would not be coincidence to leak right at the window. The window should be weather tight (non-heated, non-insulated attic space). Weep holes in the lower window channel are open. My opinion is if it happened once, it will happen again, the installation requires further investigation and correction as required.


Thanks for the responses. I’ve suggested to the buyer to bring in a roofing contractor for further investigation and consultation. My personal opinion is, the flashing appears to be good, there is step flashing installed. I think the primary issue is the installation of a double hung window in that location. A fixed window, completely sealed would provide the architectural detail while providing a weather tight seal.

So the seller stated there was a problem and the roof leaked. The seller lived with it, accepted the risk, and didn’t get it repaired. She disclosed it wasn’t that big of deal to her, but it is to the buyer. The buyer still went forward with the purchase based on already knowing this. What did she expect you to do…rediscover it? Or did she want you to say it’ll never happen again? It’s pretty simple to me, there’s an obvious problem and a repair needed and the buyer knows about it, what else is there to say? Who cares when, how, etc. etc…it leaked once, and it will leak again. I sure as heck know if I were buying the house I most certainly would want that fixed. Can you say “elephant in the room?” You’re absolutely right in your thinking, but I really don’t understand all the logic here - this should be in the negotiations court with the the agents and buyer & seller.

FWIW, I would not get involved in trying to figure it out, not your job. Leaks can be a PITA in situations like that, as someone kind of alluded to here.

Buyer hasn’t bought yet. Buyer is bringing in a contractor for estimates. They will work it out.

I agree. If it leaked once, it can leak again under similar conditions. Contractor evaluation and any correction is now part of the negotiation process.

“My personal opinion is, the flashing appears to be good, there is step flashing installed.”

Apron flashing??? Discoloration around the bottom of the dormer siding to roofing junction.

There is apron flashing installed, course of cut shingles are cemented down for decorative purposes. Discoloration appears to be dirt. I’m assuming the dormers are prefab’d? I talked to the buyer, they are going to try to work something out with the seller.

Understood. I just meant she went forward with a purchase agreement and that’s assuming she knew about this obvious issue and/or read disclosure.

I agree. The seller isn’t obligated to fix anything. It’s all negotiable.

Update, after further discussion seller agreed to bring in a contractor, reflash the dormers and repair ceilings where there was evidence of prior water damage.

Joseph, in each of the photos it looks like globs of white caulking on the shingles beneath each dormer. This may indicate some amateur repairs were attempted and the seller isn’t being truthful. I’d advise the buyer that the presumption should be that the leaks, while they may be intermittent, are probably ongoing. Also, since the leaks are on all three prefab dormers it suggests the problem is with poor installation, making it more likely than not that the leaks are from improperly installed flashing.