What is this on this flat roof?

This roof has some issues but does anyone know what the staining is? The seller claims the roof is new as of 2004. There is pooling happening and there is excessice sealant around the base of all of the vents. This looks like a mess to me. What is the best way to report this?

Roof should be further evaluated.JPG





It looks as though you have an APP modified bitumen roof, which was once poorly coated with an aluminumous fibered coating, which has broken down and scaled away from the roof membrane for various unknown reasons. I will list the most common I have previously observed.


  1. Applied too soon after roof was installed prior to gaseous diffusion from the membrane.
  2. Applied over a dirty surface.
  3. Applied too sparingly or it was thinned out with a solvent to “stretch” out the coverage rate.
  4. Applied too lightly, instead of with a 3-4 knot brush, by possibly a thin matt paint roller.
  5. Applied over a moist/wet surface.
  6. After application, the roof ponded water, which broke down the coating.
  7. Wrong type of roof coating was used.

Just some theories off the top of my head.


Thanks. How would you report it in your report. Itemized or generalized?

I am not an inspector, per-se. I am a licensed roofing contractor in Illinois.

If I had to write up a report on this visual non-destructive analysis, I would just mention the existing results, and not even the potential reasons for them, as I was not there during the degradation process.

I only write down what I know or feel for a certainty.

It also looks as though some of the perimeter edge details are slightly losing their adhesion to the perimeter edgings.

It looks as though the roof holds water for periods of time lasting longer than 48-72 hours, which define a troubling scenario of ponding water.

It needs additional slope if that is truly the case, to alleviate the ponding water.


Florida is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. I could refer you to further evaluate the roof! Just kidding. Thanks for your input. I appreciate the help.


Free Estimate with a minimum fee of $ 125.00 for a detailed non-destructive analysis report,…

plus travel expenses.

Wish I were closer to help out.


Ed is absolutely correct. It really doesn’t matter nor is it up to the home inspector to know exactly why something has become or is degraded. Report on “what you see”. As he illustrated there could be numerous reasons or a combination of reasons why. How often have you heard the owners say “Its been like that for years and nothing happened”. Just because something hasn’t completely failed yet it is not an endorsement of quality. I see decks barely holdling up and the owner will proudly tell me it went thru Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis as if to say there is nothing wrong with it. I would simply state the obvious discrepancies, recommend repair by a licensed Roofing contractor. Even new cars break down due to inferior components or flawed designs. Good catch. Never go completely on the word of the sellers. Often an owner will tell a roof is only a couple of years old and to prove it go find the work order / receipt only to discover it has been more like 7 plus years ago.

I find one of the more ludicrous statements made by a home owner and even more-so, the sellers realtor, especially when they are putting the home up for sale, is the following:

It’s a brand new roof! We just had it put on (pick one), 5 years or 10 years ago.

Well, in my book a 10 year old car is still a ten year old car. I must not have recieved the Realtors Blue Book on Roofs, as it MUST be saying that a 10 year old roof is still new.


I believe the realtor’s bible says “roof recently replaced”…with “recently” left undefined.

Yeah all the coating does is help protect the roof from UV deterioration so recommend a recoat,at least that is what I would do.
Sometimes we pass off too much.

judging from those pictures, that roof looks like it may be older than 2004, especially with that repair in picture #3. Do they have any proof of age other than their word. I always advise my clients to seek a permit record from the county. Youd be surpirsed how many times that 3 year old roof turns out to be 8 or 9 years old.

That was probably not a repair you speak of.

Most likely, the utility company or the electrician showed up after the roof was installed. They erroneously patched in the electrical service pipe using plastic roofing cement and a common rubber sleeved pipe boot flashing. Both are no-no’s per the roofing manufacturers warranty, which typically is only for the materials and not the labor any ways, on a residential application.

Good eyes. I never did expand the photos originally.


I dont know about Orlando, but here in South Florida they require a pitch pan to be installed around the weatherhead.


As you are a roofer I have a question. I have been told that (at least down here) a modified covering should not (or does not) need to be silvercoated. However it is a requirement that cap sheet is silvercoated to comply with fire regulations. What do you know about this?

William as I understand it the cap sheet is granulated hence complying with fire regulations and providding uv protection. Ive also been told there is a company or companies that will apply a special adhesive and later spread the granuals on the coating. And no the modified roof is not required to be silvercoated. Although it would definately be in the best interest of the homeowner to have it.

From many of the manufacturers, by doing a proper job using either an approved density poundage of a fibered aluminum coating or an approved elastomeric coating, the warranty length will be slightly extended on commercial applications.

Most residential applications are for a materials only warranty and pro-rated anyways, from original cost of materials.

I advise it to be done, but to usually wait about 30 days for any gasses to bleed out of the membrane after it has been installed.

To ensure a proper amount of the coating gets applied, it is best to put one coat on in one brushing direction and then a second application in the perpindicular direction.

All seams should be carefully inspected prior to covering them up with any coating though.

All coatings should be inspected and recoated as necessary about every 3 to 5 years. They do do a very good job if done correctly, in prolonging the life of the roof materials and also of keeping the iterior of the building cooler.

Pitch pockets are sparingly approved. A better flashing detail is done prcisely with the actual membrane and a target patch instead.

Plastic roof cement is against the manufacturers reecomendations and could void the warranty, but some approve of a MB Cement, which is a modified bitumen roofing cement.

Pitch pockets are good for only one thing. That is the first place I look for a source of water entry when doing a leak inspection. The plastic cement or even some pitch pocket fillers settle down to a lower level that the height of the perimeter of the sheet metal pitch pocket and hold water until it finally migrates its way in through the sealant. They all do eventually.


Well I am no expert on any aspect of construction and I am just now starting off in the inspection business. From what I have learned studying what home inspections entail, it is deninatly the job of the inspector to identify known or potential problems. So I would just identify the fact of the roof being in generally poor condition and recomend a professional roofer be contacted to further evaluate. When I get into the field I wont be wasting too much time diagnosing things. Perhaps in verbal discussion with client if present about what might be causing it. As far as the written report goes, idenify and refer to a pro.

My house a few years ago had a supposedly brand new roof. After we lost it, I went to the recording dept. and learned that 12 roofing tiles had been replaced, and that was what the roofing inspector had signed off on and they were showing as the “brand new roof”. :roll:

Just want to prepare you for the harassment that is inevitably coming here…

Not sure what to make of your post. By cutting out one sentence from a paragraph are you saying that it will be applied out of context wherever? Thanks for the warning. Bring it on I can handle myself. :slight_smile:

Ed, thanks for these posts!