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Discussion Starter #1
I could use some advice please. I've had my house inspected and one issue seems to be the roof. What I need to understand is whether the issue is more than just not ideal (in other words I have been told it's somewhere between don't worry about it to run for your life).

It's an older house (1930) which had some new roofing put on in 2005 (before me). I knew it was a hack job but even now, no water leaks, no problems in the attic, with the trusses or anything else that can be visually checked from inside the house. From inside, all seems fine. There are no dips or wows you can see from the outside and the roof itself seems straight and level (where I can see anyway and I was told if a roof is rotting it will start to dip in places). As an aside, I live in quite a dry climate, low humidity, not a huge snow load, average rain but much lower than in other climates. Temps can range from 80 above to 20 below here with the seasons.

It doesn't get ice dams or curl or seem to have any other issue except...they laid the asphalt shingles without removing the previous. Actually it seems there are cedar shakes covered by 2 layers of asphalt shingles so even owners before the last ones must have had hack jobs.

I assume this cuts the life of the new roof I thought I had but the question is how much? The inspector thinks the cedar may be rotting but I am not sure how he would check that without lifting the shingles off somewhere and he didn't do that and I haven't had the opportunity to ask. Maybe he walked across it and it felt spongy or something? He may have checked the edges which are visible and exposed to weather, but does that mean the body of the roof could be rotted? How do you figure that sort of thing out? Even if they are rotting, there is no evidence it is effecting the actual wood of the roof since all is fine from the inside of the attic (I assume there is tar paper between those cedar shakes and the roof) but I'm no expert.

So, if you had this type of roof what would you do? Would you wait until it was leaking or showing problems keeping out moisture before worrying about it or is it something that needs to be addressed now?
 

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My non-professional opinion would be to continue to monitor closely while maintaining a contingency fund for eventual replacement. It would be near impossible to determine the condition of roofing layers not visible. Absence of leaks, soft areas when walking on roof, soffit / fascia rot would indicate current roof is performing adequately. It may be worth researching and self-inspecting likely problem areas such as chimney flashings, skylights, vent penetrations etc on a bi-annual basis, or hiring a no-conflict of interest home inspector to do a roof only inspection every year or every other year. You can even limp along with small issues by judiciously performing temprorary repairs. Take the time to research such that when the roof is replaced, you can maximize your value by considering new gutters, chimney tuckpointing / lining / repair, siding , venting etc.
 

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Have the Inspector describe/tell you why he thinks the shakes are rotting
My last house had 5 layers on it
It would rain & maybe 12-24 hours later I would get a leak :laughing:
I went thru most of a 5g bucket of tar before I could replace the roof
A 4 year old roof I wouldn't rip it off unless I needed to
Verify flashings, soffit/ventilation, that will extend the roof life if they are there
Do you have a ridge vent, attic ventilation?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses. After some follow up I discovered 3 layers is perfectly acceptable by code (4 isn't, but 3 is) and that if the lower layer has rotted I would be seeing leaks or rot inside the attic (no evidence of that). So someone got their nice to haves confused with their need to haves it seems. I am relieved as it means there really is not immediate requirement to replace the roof.

It's so insane to have a group like the inspectors here (Canada) who have no regulation or real standards as far as their expertise, at least they don't here. Pass a test and be an inspector and have no liability with regard to the reports. Glad I didn't pay for that guy.
 

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Dusty,

I just wanted to chime in and let you know that a cover over is somewhat common. Do I advocate it absolutly not because 1 yo ucan't see what is going on underneath and 2 when you cover over it forms hollow pockets for mild hail (stuff that wouldn't normally threaten the integrity of a roof) and other flying debris (or roof walkers) to punch through the shingles and cause a potential leak or issue that may or may not be detectable until it does damage. Yes you are and others are spot on with their comments. Your situation in the scheme of things is tolerable as well as acceptable (in some municipalities) BUT the next time that roof is done hold on to your boot straps because each extra layer is going to cost extra to remove and any damage that exists underneath will also need to be rectified, corrected or repaired.

Good luck to you and stay dry!
 

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My front house had 2 layers over cedar shakes and when the shingles finally needed replaced ,the cedar shakes look like brand new under there....cedar is pretty resistant to rot ,like redwood,bugs leave it alone.


i would not worry untill you had a leak.....

Just a heads up,when they do tear all of that off you more than likely need to plywood the roof, cedar shakes are usually applied over 1 by`s with a 3 or so inch gap in them ,so plywood will be needed over the entire roof for regular shingles........this is usually why most do-it yerselfers do not tear off the cedar shakes.


When i tore off the front roof and saw the cedar shakes......I just left them there also,used 30# felt and roofed over them again.......It`s been 8 years and they look just like the day they were put down....it was a surprise that they were there ,so I had no budgett to tear them off and install plywood,if I would have had the money i would have put down plywood over the 1 by`s,so plan ahead and have that exspence in the budget.
 

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Save some more money for the plywood that will be needed next time you roof. A 1930's house with wood shingles nailed over tar paper, nailed over skip sheathed boards. (Usually 1x4 or 1x6" boards laid perpendicular to the rafters (not trusses here), with 4" space between each board.). This air space allowed the wood shingles to breath so they would not rot.
The next they will remove all shingles, composition and wood, and install oriented strand board or plywood sheathing (4'widex8'long).
Then new paper, composition or other roofing material. You would then have added cost for stripping, hauling, plywood, and installation.
Be safe, G
 
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