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Discussion Starter #1
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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flipping slumlord
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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".

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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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Got any pctures?
 

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Roofmaster
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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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Household Handyman
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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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Roofmaster
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Thats if you can actually find one. Ive never met one that knew his axe from his elbow.
 

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jagans said:
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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Discussion Starter #11
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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JOATMON
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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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Discussion Starter #13
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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Roofmaster
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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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Discussion Starter #15
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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Unless the property is worth the money, or the neighborhood is otherwise a good neighborhood, not run down, crime ridden, you may be better to just tear the place down and start from scratch if you are allowed, depending on the size of the lot. Now of course, restoring a old place, takes a lot of money, and effort, and can take years to have it done, where it looks like the time it was built.

Homes need to be taken care of and maintained, to keep them structurally sound. When we did our roof, for our place, which is around 829sqft, it cost at that time $3600. Now we have to have the old chimney knocked down due to it would cost about $2000.00 to do a tear and rebuild, compared to $600 to tear it down below the roof, and then replace the section of roof that the chimney went through. Then add on to that about $1000 to $12000 for also a new water heater, since ours is 14 years old, and the new one has to be a direct vent, due to the tearing down of the chimney, which also used to be for the old Octopus furnace that was in this place.

If I had to add it all up, I would have to guess that so far we have put in over $12,000.00 into a 76 year old home, in the 10 years that we have lived here.
 

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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.
Ugh. Find a good contractor that builds wood frame houses and pay him/her for an hour or 2 consulting. He'll do a much better job than any building inspector I've dealt with.
 
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