Roof design

Client not at inspection. New home with no current leaks. Large roof area channeled to small area.

Would you mention it in report?
If you report it, what might you say?
Is it shingled OK for the design condition?
What might be done differently?



Something just doesn’t look right, but I’ve only had one cup of coffee this morning. I don’t think I would have chosen the basket weave method of shingling in this area as it looks alright on the right side of the photo but the left side is messed up. Is that the tar strip showing on the left valley?

I would rather see the straight cut line in this situation as it looks like water may go under some of the shingles the way it was put together.

Just curious, do you have a farther away shot of the house?


I believe that is the tar strip. Roofer did not quite get the lap right. My concern is the amount of drainage channeled into such a small area and then dumped horizontally onto the adjacent roofing.


I see your point, but unfortunately, due to its design, there doesn’t appear to be any other way to route it. I would just mention that “Due to design in the roof this area may wear faster than other parts of the roof as more water will come across this area” If you get ice down there (I’m in Ohio so it’s a given for me) this would be an area where I would probably see an ice dam form and roll up the roof.

“A new home has no “history” and its inspection can be difficult as many defects have not had time to reveal themselves. During the first year of occupancy the home should be monitored for deficiencies such as, but not limited to, plumbing leaks, cracking, condensation, and water penetration. Attic areas, windows, doors and foundation areas should be monitored seasonally and after periods of rain or storms.”

When the snow builds up there (and subsequently melts) it may cause a mess.

Thinking out loud…would a cricket help there? Least the water would have some direction, rather than pooling there? Hope they have ice and water shield all over that area. :slight_smile:

My guess is that gutter will overflow during any significant rain.

I say give it time and don’t make a big deal out of it unless you have concrete evidence or experience to rely on. The home is under warranty. Any issue should reveal itself within the first year.

Thanks all. I’m sure that 6’ gutter won’t handle much rain and will spill even in the smallest summer storm. Not much worry about snow and ice here. Just wasn’t sure, since we don’t predict the future, what to mention in report. No current leaking and all. Basically said to monitor for possible leaking and excessive wear in that area. Not sure how the buyer handled it with the builder.

Thanks again.

I might mention that the outlet tube in the first picture terminates at the shingles, this may cause the shingles in this area to age faster than the rest of the roof.

Hard to tell with such a small picture but you might recommend an addition section of downspout be installed to control the water in this area so it terminates inside the lower gutter.

In our area a roof design like this would have Ice and Water shield installed in these areas for added protection.

If that area is less than 2&12 the slope is too low and should not have asphalt shingles installed.
Even if it’s not low-slope, it has two extreme changes in pitch which are vulnerable to leakage and which should have extra underlayment or metal flashing installed. Unless I could confirm that it was installed with other than the usual underlayment system, I would call it out as an area with the potential for leakage.
That whole area should have had a waterproof membrane installed. Polymer modified bitumen.

Thanks Kenton, I did follow up with the client’s agent and the builder pulled the shingles and laid some sort of metal flashing. How it was done I have no idea but at least the potential for leaks was reduced. I"m sure, due to the poor design, that future problems will occur. At least the buyer is aware of it and hopefully, but not likely, will monitor the area for excessive wear and possible leaks. The pitch was over 2/12.

Bring the architect back to the house and rub his nose in it!! They work way to much on the “art” design side of the building and not enough on the technical/practical/commom sense side. There should have been a design note about building a slope (or “cricket” as someone mentioned) to drain water from under the gable dormer window and the 2 slopes that appear to meet in the valley there with no grade/slope to it.

I notice the downspout from the upper roof is cut short and facing sideways.

Those tiles will be pushed up.

What a dumb design.

Yep. My brother graduated from Kent back in the shooting 60’s as an architect. Only learned to draw pretty houses. Nothing at all about practical or working design. I don’t think I ever built a house off a plan that did not have to be redesigned in some way in order to work efficiently or at all.

When I see stuff like this, I call it out as an “Design defect” and refer then to their architect. I have gotten MUCH flack, over the years. The Architect calls me back and yells and says stuff like “How dare you. I am an Architect and you are just a silly little home inspector.”

At which point, I ask, “So then, you would have no problem issuing a special 5 year warranty to the seller that would cover their repair costs if the roof leaks, specifically because of your design, wouldn’t you?” Then I put the conversation in writing and forward a copy to the seller.

So far, in every single case like this, withing 5 years (and, usually, in only 2) I have been proven right.

The client calls and, most times, is irate because their new house is a waterfall, usually in the atrium areas.

I, calmly, refer them to my report and ask them to contact their Architect.

In many cases, I get another inspection when I go out to document the problem, then I get paid by their lawyer when he sues the Architect.

I really wish that ALL Architects have a requirement, for their licenses, that they be required to put in 2 years as a construction laborer before getting licensed.

And the downspout, draining directly on a lower roof surface, will void the shingle manufacturer’s warranty.

Hard to say from those pics. I’m often handed these to repair. Keeps life interesting

The following language may be helpful when writing a narrative to describe that problem:
In modern construction, adding complexity to roof plans is commonly done to improve curb appeal. But adding complexity to the roof drainage system can also create long-term moisture problems. A balance is needed so roof rainwater flows aren’t excessively concentrated or obstructed as shown in the previous pictures. If these conditions cannot be avoided when the house is built, then affected regions of the roof should be adequately detailed and waterproofed, and guttering should be appropriately designed to channel water off the roof and away from the building.