Monday, April 18, 2016

Roof Repairs- It’s Always Something

A couple of weeks ago a huge storm front passed through. For two nights in one week strong winds and episodes of driving rain hit our neighborhood. In the morning after the second night I was relieved to find that there was no evidence of water leaks inside the house nor did I see shingles that had blown off my roof, though I could have sworn that the wind was about to pull the roof off the house. (As you can see in the picture below, my neighbor’s roof was a different story.) However, the storm reminded me that I had some roof damage to address. Last year I had had my solar photo voltaic panel array repaired and there were several sections of the roof where the work had caused damage to the shingles and I needed to get those addressed.

You need to pay attention to your home, constant vigilance is necessary to keep our homes standing. Moisture and water infiltration are the major routes of home destruction here in the southeast and need to be addressed before structural damage occurs through the mold and termites that come with moisture. You should make a point of walking through you home looking up for water stains in the ceilings do not forget to look above cabinets, in closets and around window frames. Often this simple act can identify a problem before you have significant water damage.

 Now that I’ve lived in my house for 9 years, I think I have found and repaired the  unseen and unknown problems that came with the house and I’ve finally reached the repair and maintain stage. Not that that is any easier, the engineer in me knows that entropy, a measure of disorder, is the enemy because an isolated system like my house tends toward maximum entropy and simply wants to fall apart. Home ownership is not for everyone you need to keep on top of home maintenance and  the constant need to maintain your home. Back to the roof. 
My neighbor's roof with visible decking

Most roofs are not really water tight, they are pitched and designed to shed water. As your roof ages or solar repair guys keep climbing up and down, the roofing material- in my case shingles - became damaged in areas, and need to be replaced. Cracked, damaged or missing shingles, slate, tiles or shakes can be replaced without replacing the entire roof. I believe it is best to maintain your roof before you have leaks in the house, it prevents mold and can prevent having to repaint your ceilings. Nail pops where a nail has backed itself out of the roof sheathing are a common source of leaks. Replacing shingles where the nails become visible can prevent small roof leaks and can prevent larger problems. Damaged sections of shingles should always be replaced.

When I looked at my roof with a set of binoculars I saw that the shingle cap on the main roof peak was damaged, several of the shingles were broken and there were damaged shingles on the right edge of the house. I called my roofer. Yes, I have a regular roofer who does repairs on my roof. When Carl from Summit Roofing got on the roof he found other damage on the center ridge, main rake (the edge of the roof) and on a rear dormer that the solar guys had used to climb up and down the roof from the deck. You can see in the pictures the nails on the ridge becoming visible. 
Nails becoming visible

Damaged rake

I decided to replace the entire ridge cap (so the roof would look uniform), replace the damaged shingles on the right rake, center ridge and rear dormer. The company I use is licensed, has been in business for years has insurance as well a worker compensation insurance, and importantly to me the roofer uses safety equipment. Total cost $1,000.

Small roof leaks can allow water and moisture to accumulate in your attic. Dark streaks on the underside of the roof decking is the sure sign of a leak. Fix it before you have mold which can impact air quality in your home and cost a lot of money to fix. Mold in the attic is generally caused by increased humidity and moisture, generally from improperly installed or inadequate attic vents, soffit vents, blocked soffit vents or less commonly, roof leaks. When I added insulation to my attic I made a point of checking the attic every six months for the first couple of year to make sure that the increased insulation did not impact the effectiveness of the attic ventilation against mold growth.

With the new ridge cap and the roof repairs completed I thought I was good to go when I wrote the check to the roofing company that afternoon. But two days later when I checked my solar panel inverter report I had one panel that was not reporting. Argh... For several years I had struggled with problems with the my solar photo voltaic system. What appeared at first to be an inverter or solar panel problem turned out not to be originating in the panels or the inverters, but was a wiring problem. Finally, last winter, it was confirmed by two different solar companies that the system was not wired correctly, many of the components used in the installation were only rated for interior use and the system was not set up correctly.

So, the system was rewired using rain tight fittings, conduit was replaced with prefabricated fittings and proper grounding. When the repair was finally completed, I once more had all 32 solar panels producing and reporting. Now, I have only 31 panels reporting- something was wrong. I hoped that all the banging on the roof had only loosened one of the fittings. The roofing company returned to see what they could see. They found that indeed one inverter seemed to be  missing a male plug and they reseated the plug for the  panel that was not reporting, but unfortunately did not know what to do about the seemingly missing plug or if the plug was missing. So, Saturday morning I called the solar repair company in Maryland to come and take a look my system, again.  

No comments:

Post a Comment