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Old 02-23-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


Hello!

I'm considering buying a house that is quite old and needs a lot of work. I plan to do the work it needs myself and feel confident that I can do most of it. The only thing that worries me is that it needs a new roof. There is an active leak in one room and part of the ceiling is falling in.

I feel comfortable replacing the decking, flashings, the underlayment, the shingles, etc. I also am comfortable replacing any sheet rock and/or plaster, replacing insulation and treating mold issues.

The thing I am less comfortable with is repairing the trusses if they are rotted. I've been trying to find information on repairing trusses, but all I have found so far is information on repairing them at the ends. That kind of repair sounds fairly straight forward. What I am wondering about, though, is if they are rotted in the middle.

If the trusses are rotted in the middle, is this something that is DIY-able? I mean, I guess anything is DIY-able, but, you know, within reason?
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatPoshGirl View Post
I'm considering buying a house that is quite old and needs a lot of work.

The only thing that worries me is that it needs a new roof.
There is an active leak in one room and part of the ceiling is falling in.

I feel comfortable replacing the decking, flashings, the underlayment, the shingles, etc. I also am comfortable replacing any sheet rock and/or plaster, replacing insulation and treating mold issues.
That's quite a lot for a "posh girl".

Quote:
The thing I am less comfortable with is repairing the trusses if they are rotted.
Get your architect and engineer in for a thorough assessment of condition and to prepare the list of all the repairs and remedies with their estimated costs (even if you decide to do some or even all of them yourself).

Once you recover from reading that document then you can reconsider buying that quite old house. OTOH, if you learn that all it desperately needs is some new roof materials... you're golden.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:15 PM   #3
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


What about the flooring where all this water has been dripping?
Should be simple enough to get up in that attc and see if they even need replacing.
If it's just one then you can just sister it with new wood.
Sure hope your getting this super cheap, none of those type repairs are going to be.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:32 PM   #4
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


I would be getting it for around $11k, which is actually less than the value of the land. That's the only reason I am even considering it. I'm not looking for something to flip, I'm actually looking for something to live in long term.

The damage is in a dining room, so it's not a super critical area.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:33 PM   #5
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


Got any pctures?
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


Not yet.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:58 PM   #7
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


You have a world of experience sitting here ready to help you, but you have given us absolutely nothing at all to go on.

1. How old is the house?
2. Is the foundation and structure basically sound? Platform construction, or Baloon?
3. Electricity: what kind, (Romex? BX? Knob and Tube???) how many AMP service? Load Center (Breaker box or fuses?)
4. Plumbing: Copper? Galvanized? CPVC? Waste: Cast Iron, PVC?
5. Heat: Type, and age of furnace.

The roof is probably the least of your issues. I would recommend taking a lot of low res pictures 640 x 480 and posting them for the pros on this forum to see. We can at least tell you what you are in for.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


This is one situation where the cost of a Licensed/Qualified Home Inspector would be worth paying them. A good Home Inspector could assess the situation and make notices of problems and/or recommendations in writing. Please consider this.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:55 PM   #9
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


Thats if you can actually find one. Ive never met one that knew his axe from his elbow.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:34 AM   #10
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


Quote:
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Thats if you can actually find one. Ive never met one that knew his axe from his elbow.
I agree with that.... I have done informal home inspections for friends for years and years... I always find stuff that the paid pros miss. very seldom do they find things I missed...

as to the repair at hand. without seeing the issue, I would guess that sistering a new beam in place would be fine. do some google searches on sistering roof rafters and I think you will find that there are some accepted methods and some specifications (like glue and x number of nails/screws per foot etc). after that its just cut and fit (in my case , cut fit, cut again, finally fit!! LOL),,,
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:25 PM   #11
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


It's looking like this is a different kind of problem than I originally thought. It will be a couple of weeks before I can get there to get pictures, though. The problem is that this is an addition that was poorly planned and built. Among other things, it has a flat roof and no overhang in an area that gets rain 200+ days a year. The whole addition is a mess, but, so far, it hasn't compromised the rest of the structure. The addition is really small (less than 100 square foot), so I may just end up tearing it off. The only disadvantage to that is that I would probably need more permits to tear it down than to fix it.

The whole house does need a new roof, but it looks like the construction for the regular house/roof is fine and no structural issues, so far. It's just this stupid addition.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:28 PM   #12
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


If the addition is that poor....good chance they didn't get permits in the first place to put it in....in which case, you may not need a permit to remove it.

From your description so far...permit or not...flat roofs are a major source of issues if not done right....so you're better off just taking it out...
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:14 PM   #13
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I'm still trying to find out if it was permitted. The addition is shown on the floor plan that is on file with the tax assessor and listed under improvements, but I haven't checked for permits with the building department, yet.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:48 PM   #14
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Roof leaking, ceiling caving in - worst case scenario?


OK, First of all, you said that repair of trusses was what had you concerned. If the house is old, (I call late 1800's / early 1900's old, what do you call old ?) If it really is old, it will not have trusses.

The flat roof will probably only have rafters. Thats what you call them if they use the ceiling joists to support the roof. Rafters.

I would almost bet that addition was built without a permit, especially if it is dead level. Is it? I guess it must be if its only a square and its leaking. If the builder got a permit it had to have a minimum of 1/4 inch per foot slope to drain.
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:36 PM   #15
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Yeah, sorry about that. I mischaracterized the problem. I had the floor plan turned around in my head and it wasn't until I took a second look that I realized the leak was under the flat roof of the addition and not the regular roof.

The addition is 6'x14'. I don't even know why they bothered. The existing roof could be extended about 7 feet to cover the addition, but it is not at all worth it, imo.

I thought maybe I could put a lean-to roof on it, but I don't know if that falls under the spirit of the law that allows re-roofing and roof repair without a permit. If I need to get permits anyway, I'll just tear it down.
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