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Roofing an older home

Posted by ladyvixen84 (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 20, 11 at 12:46

So some of you know that I am looking to purchase a 1920 farm house. It desperately needs a new roof, and after posting pictures of the home in the winter time, have found that it may have a heat leakage.

Now I know that sometimes an insurance company will have a roof inspected and if it shows the deterioration of a roof to be caused by storm damage the insurance company may provide a new roof as an insurance claim.

With this being said, how do I approach the seller about this information? I'm not sure what type of home owners insurance he has, but I do know who he has insurance through. Should I consult him(older gentleman) in this information to see if he would be willing to have the roof inspected and possibly fixed? We were going to have the roofing done ourselves, with the owner repaying us, as he doesn't want the hassle. But I really want this home to have a new roof, and possibly some type of membrane put in to help with heat leakage BEFORE winter approaches.

My rental that I am living in is getting a new roof because of heavy storm damage, as well as half the town(spoke to home owners who have roofers on their homes) to find out if it's normal maintenance or why they need new roofs. I'm nosey lol. A lot of people have told me that they are having their whole homes roof repaired through insurance claims of heavy storm damage.

Could this be a route for me to take, if in fact we purchase the home? If it is, how do I go about doing it. Do I need to wait until I purchase the home and use my own insurance, or use the existing insurance to fix the home before our closing is done?

Any and all information/advice is much appreciated! I would have asked the repair forum, but I don't see getting any useful information there, except to run away lol


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Roofing an older home

Oh, btw- We are going to need a new gutter system. Looking in the pictures...only the garage has gutters. Ka ching! lol Can those be a DIY job?


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RE: Roofing an older home

The worst thing the owner can say to your reasonable request to have him check with his insurance company is "no." But you can't buy a house and expect the new insurance carrier to fix prior damage.

Actually gutters are often not required. Is it diy? If you've got two people who don't mind working on ladders and you buy some simple tools, yes.

The biggest problem is getting the right lengths. Even if you can get them shop made, how do you get them on site? And if you piece together standard lengths, you've got seams that may not look good and you've got to waterproof them. However, you may be able to rent a gutter machine and equipment. Nevertheless, in the midst of this Great Recession I bet you can find a pro who'll make it worth your while not to diy.


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RE: Roofing an older home

You can inspect some of the roof decking from the attic to see if you can see any damaged spots. But damaged decking cannot always be discerned from underneath. You will have to strip the roof all the way back to the decking, inspect it, replace any damaged portions, and then re-roof. Re-roofing should involve laying down tar paper or an ice and water membrane. At minimum ice and water should be installed at the last few feet and all of the valleys. With a complex roof line, it's important to correctly address the flashing at the roofing junctures and the roofing/siding junctures. Chimneys are also important to address correctly. If a cricket doesn't exist, it should be constructed rather than relying on simple flashing alone.

Using a membrane has zero to do with heat escaping to create ice dams and icicles. All that does is to mitigate the damage from the issue, while leaving the underlying issue unaddressed. The real culprit is the lack of proper insulation in the attic that allows the heat from the home to escape into the attic and thus to the underside of the roof, melting the snow where it refreezes into ice. Unless you have a closed attic system, a properly insulated and ventilated attic should be very close to the external temperature.

Warm attics are especially problematic where attic to living space conversions have taken place, especially in older homes. Very often these are done to maximize interior space with no thought of how that interior space should be properly insulated. This often requires significant deconstruction to address this issue properly. If code compliant head room is to be maintained, then the cheaper solution of fiberglass or cellulose cannot be used. The more expensive but higher R value foam insulation can work in that case.

The other can of worms is that when you begin to redo the conversion to add the needed insulation, your muncipality will require that it meet current codes for a bedroom conversion including electrical, egress, and access stairs. This means a wholesale redo, not a bandaid. While much of this can be done DIY in some locations, many do require licensed individuals perform certain tasks. And many municipalities do not allow an unlimited time span for the permits to remain active. You must complete the work within a certain time frame. This can create hardships for the DIYer.

One of your first research points should be your local codes office to ask questions about what type of permits will be needed to do work on the home. Some places will require permits for roofing, insulation, electrical, etc. Some will allow you do do certain work but not all work without permits. And some places will not allow homeowners to perform certain tasks at all. You won't know the answer to any of this until you ask. And you won't know the cost or time limit for the permits until you ask. These are all considerations for anyone purchasing an older home that will need significant updating.


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RE: Roofing an older home

Greendesigns- I do not have an attic. The home is a 1 1/2 story, with the upstairs holding 3 bedrooms...well a den/loft as someone took the walls out to remove the bedroom for office space.

Would that require as i'm told by my hubby removing the drywall ceilings to take a peek?

From what I can tell, the home was a one level 1bd 1ba farm house and someone remuddled with little love and made the attic space into extra living for more bedrooms.

After the foundation inspection on Monday, I will be calling around for a proper and thorough inspection by an inspector who is familiar with older homes. IF the purchase is still a go, then I will make my way to the codes office and find out further information. I'm not planning on doing a significant amount of cosmetic updates, just functional updates. The cosmetics will come later and in time. I just want to make sure the house isn't going to implode or come crashing down on us in the middle of the night. I do know that there is new wiring, plumbing...not so sure as I didn't think to ask, but I will after reading numerous older posts here.

I do know the roof needs more than just a bandaid, it's extremely obvious to see coming from a woman who knows nothing about roofing. Lots of missing shingles and lifted shingles. I'm not sure how old the roofing job is on it now, I will be asking on Monday. I have a pen and paper, taking notes as I read as much of the older and newer posts on the forums. I love this house, but before I make a purchase on any old home, I want to learn as much as I can about them.

So far I know it's lots of work, and even more money lol. I'm completely okay with that as I look forward to living in the home for 20+ years...well if it stands that long ;)

I have to say, I am so happy and so grateful that I found this site and these forums before signing any papers. And I look forward to being here learning as much as I can for a long time to come. You all have been such wonderful help!


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RE: Roofing an older home

An improperly vented and insulated attic/2nd story will give you the very symptoms that your roof currently has. Just replacing the roof won't fix the underlying problem. To insulate the space properly, yes the drywall will have to be removed. Not just the ceiling either. All of it. At that point, you can either create an unvented roof system by creating a vapor barrier against the roof and insulating against that, or you can do a traditional vented roof system that is vented at the eaves and uses a ridge vent to allow the hot air out. But if you don't address the insulation issue, your new roof will soon be right back where you started in a few years.

Repairing everything properly will involve rebuilding the entire second story and it's access correctly and to current building codes. If it cannot be done to current building codes, then you lose the space as bedrooms or habitable space. That greatly affects how you can use the home as well as it's value.

Since you are just in the inspection stages of considering purchasing this home, you need a contractor specializing in older homes, not a home inspector, to view the 2nd floor to determine if it is possible to redo correctly, and if so, the costs involved.


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Dang, I wasn't going to ask - was hoping someone else would, but I have to know...

When you say there is "no attic"... Do you actually mean that the drywall on 2nd floor ceiling follows the roofline to the "vaulted" point of the cape's frame? Or do you mean that there's no "3rd floor" in which to walk (without crawling) & store furniture & mysterious trunks full of things that children (& me, still!) dream about? Are there "knee-walls", where the ceiling angles a bit, then wall goes vertical, straight down?

I think, (& that doesn't mean much - I'm still learning, slowly), that if there's a flat ceiling up there - there's a bit of an attic. How much, & how efficient, might make the difference. I don't know about that, at all! :-)

If there are walls up there, that aren't angled from floor to ceiling, there MIGHT be more air-space for insulation - and TROUBLE - than you realize. From the pic's you've posted, the phrase "no attic" has me visualizing an upstairs interior resembling the ceiling of the Fisher-Price "A-frame" I had as a child (& my preschooler plays with, now!).


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RE: Roofing an older home

Im not sure how to answer that... But I can post pictures of the 3 bedrooms upstairs. Mind you I DID NOT choose the color scheme lol these walls are how they are now. I haven't bought the house YET, so unfortunately the colors will remain lol

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RE: Roofing an older home

remuddled with little love and made the attic space into extra living for more bedrooms.

Unfortunately, there was less thought than love. "Deconstruction", as noted above, is the order of the day.

Now, I'm starting to see why those horrid posters on the "repair" forum came to their unwanted conclusion.


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Okay, but it isn't something that is needed to be done immediately I would suppose? But then again...I am still very new at this lol. I don't need to panic now, I haven't purchased the home just yet. I have read a lot of people have been doing work on their homes for close to 20yrs. I'm 27...I have 20yrs to spare ;)


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Just to stick my nose in--those upstairs rooms look a lot like my attic, except it's one room and the knee-walls and angled ceiling/wall are on all four sides except for the access stairs which come up in a dormer...why can't ladyvixen insulate the lower vertical walls with fiberglass or something, and do the flat and sloping walls with the insulation board?

If the roof is going to come off, why not put an insulation layer down on the rafters first, then the new roof? I want to insulate my attic but not destroy my original plaster and lath up there!

In my dormers, I thought to put hardboard or something on the vertical part below, then blow in cellulose...for my knee-walls in the rest of the room, fiberglass or same as dormers, and for the sloped sections, foam board slid up between the rafters, for my smallish flat ceiling, I thought of some more cellulose.


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What about laying the rolled insulation on the floor of the attic?


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RE: Roofing an older home

why can't ladyvixen insulate the lower vertical walls with fiberglass or something, and do the flat and sloping walls with the insulation board?
If the roof is going to come off, why not put an insulation layer down on the rafters first, then the new roof?

Indeed, you're right. The walls can be dense-packed with cellulose. And since the roof --shingles and deck--are coming off anyway, foam board can be added to the top of the roof.

Having looked and redone a number of diy renos, I would be concerned about two other things as well: 1) the wiring, very often dangerous--I've seen everything from lamp cord to wooden receptacle boxes; 2) the floor structure. Ceiling joists are not designed for living space. Was that flooring beefed up before a p.o. turned it into three bedrooms?

As for insulating the floor, certainly it's a good idea if you plan to treat the space as the attic it was originally.

None of these fixes are particularly cheap. You have to judge the economics of it. Unfortunately, I live in a region where the property prices you're dealing with are 50 years in the past!

Here is a link that might be useful: Building Science Corp. on Dense Pack


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RE: Roofing an older home

What is the ceiling height in the 2nd floor, and where are you located? That will determine what R value is needed and will help to determine if there's enough room to get that R value with conventional means. An improperly vented attic can lead to all sorts of nasty home issues such as mold and moisture damage as well as the roofing damage you are experiencing. Those are in addition to the human comfort and economic issues that living in virtually uninsulated space has.

The hand in hand issue besides insulation is proper ventilation. They all go together and should be all addressed when re-roofing. When attic to living space conversions occur, the maximizing of the space usually doesn't leave room for proper airflow and insulation. The ventilation needs to begin at the eaves and flow through the space at the underside of the roof and out the newly installed ridge vent. That's not an issue to retrofit in a conventional attic, but it is a significant retrofit issue in a living space converted attic.

People that work on old homes for years are ones who are addressing cosmetic restoration issues, not structural ones. The issues being discussed here are basic structural ones and should be taken care of before the home is to be inhabited. It will be impossible to live in those upstairs rooms while they are being worked on. And as I previously noted, if these rooms cannot be brought up to current codes, then the house is no longer a 4 bedroom home. It becomes a 1 bedroom home with a large storage only attic.


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BTW, if this conversion (or any other renovation) was done by the former owner, I would ask them to produce proof that it was permitted and has received an approved final inspection of that remodel from the municipal inspector. I'd also take a trip to city hall to view whatever permits had been pulled for this home in the past. If there are no permits to be found, then it's an even bigger can of worm$ than I suspect.


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I am in southeast Iowa. The ceiling is pretty tall. My husband is 6 foot even. The ceilings are way out of his reach. I'm guessing(since he is at the store) that they are about 7-8 feet high. I know there would be NO way my butt could reach them even standing on a chair (i'm 4'9)


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Now, IF it were not up to code, why would the county recognize the home as a 3bd 1 ba, and the tax and deed both say 3bd 1ba. I would imagine if the house and the upstairs did not meet proper building codes the paperwork would not have it listed as what it is?

The home has been all rewired and done by a professional, as I have seen the receipts for the work. Insulation has also been done, but i'm not sure about what lies above the home.

Had to change subject line to be able to post this ;)


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RE: Roofing an older home

"Now, IF it were not up to code, why would the county recognize the home as a 3bd 1 ba, and the tax and deed both say 3bd 1ba."

Because the tax man is not the building inspector/AHJ.

It is not his job to enforcer the building code, just collect taxes, and another bedroom probably raises what he can collect.


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I don't believe that closets are required under the IRC, but realtor guidelines are pretty clear. If this home is being marketed as a 4 bedroom, then those 3 bedrooms must have closets, according to real estate appraisal guidelines. If the realtor marketing this house claims these as bedrooms, the description should be "non-conforming bedrooms".

The IRC does require bedrooms to be a minimum of 7'-6" with 70 square feet of floor space. Where the ceiling slopes at least half the room needs to be over the minimum and you can't count any area under 5'-0" toward minimum room size. 2006 IRC says when a sleeping room is added or created in an existing dwelling, the individual dwelling unit shall be equipped with smoke alarms located in each sleeping room and within an individual unit as required for new dwellings. The smoke alarms shall be interconnected and hard wired.

Habitable bedrooms must have at least 2 exits, at least one of which must be a door. The second exit can be a window that also must be a minimum dimension. The IRC sets the minimum opening area at 5'7" square feet with a minimum opening height of 24 inches and width of 20 inches. Windows less than 18" above the floor will need to be tempered glass. Rooms that are accessed by walking through another bedroom or bath can not be classified as a habitable bedroom. To be considered a true bedroom, it must open up into a common room or hallway.

The stairs to your second floor bedrooms must have a tread depth minimum of 9" and the maximum height of the riser is 8 1/4". The stairs must be a minimum of 36" wide and have 80" of headroom for the entire run of the stairs.

If these bedrooms met current building codes at the time of their construction, then they are grandfathered in as to their variance to current code until you touch them for any renovations. It is up to the current seller to provide you with information that will allow you to determine that the renovation passed the building codes in effect at the time of the renovation. Since you say that he did many renovations, it was incumbent on him to bring the home up to current code status and it is not grandfathered. If he did not do so, then it's highly likely that all of the renovations were not permitted. It's up to him to prove to you and to the city that they were done to code and to pay any fines that will accrue because of his failure to obtain the required permits. If he cannot prove that his renovations met current building codes, then most municipalities would require him to demolish the walls, ceilings, and floors of that second floor until the inspectors could determine if the work was up to par.


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RE: Roofing an older home

So, do I just go to my codes office and ask them about the upstairs of the home, and see if anyone had building codes for the job? Or do I call someone to come out and actually look at the home to figure that out? Can this info be found online?

Uhg, there is so much more that entails in buying an older home lol. I'm glad I didn't buy this thing sight unseen. I'm glad I came here because just from looking at it, I wouldn't have figured any of this stuff out.

Also, the attic has this type of venting. I'm not sure what its called and the hubby isn't home to verify the name. The owner did tell us it's there and hubby did see it for himself.

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RE : Roofing an older home

R-Values for Iowa

attic R-49
sidewalls R-21
band joist R-19
foundation wall R-21
floor cavity R-30

You will need about 14" of loose pack cellulose (the cheapest R value available) plus 4"-6" of air space above it for proper insulation and ventilation. That is what should be on top of the ceiling of that second floor. If you used expanded polystyrene you would only need 13", but the costs would go up dramatically. If you used polyisocyanurate or polyurethane you would need around 8", but the material costs would more than triple from loose pack cellulose and it's not a DIY job.

It's a delicate equation between maintaining legal ceiling height and getting enough insulation. Iowa State has a good publication dealing with all aspects of the issue, linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Iowa State Insulation and Ventilation Publication


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RE: Roofing an older home

Live_Wire- The bedrooms all have walk-in-closets, and large windows that an adult can get through. They are also tempered glass. Now..I guess my question now would be.

The seller that I am buying from DID NOT do the upstairs reno. HE purchased the home in 2005 in which the upstairs had already been converted. The seller I am possibly buying from, upgraded electrical where needed, put in a new furnace, hot water heater and some little cosmetic things like carpet/tile. The windows and siding are about 6 yrs old, he changed all that the first year he moved in.

I know the seller that I am looking to buy from DID have permits for fencing, and told me that most electricians, plumbers, and contractors WILL NOT touch a house without the proper permits. I inquired about taking his chain link fencing down, and putting up a privacy fence, and he said we would have to get a permit for that, they do not charge for fencing permits. So he seems pretty knowledgeable about this stuff.

I guess my next step is to call him and see if he has a copy or has seen a copy of the permits for the upstairs. I need to ask a lot of questions still apparently. But I know not to take his word for it unless there is physical proof, and to have an inspector come out regardless of what he tells me.

And, I have to look at getting a permit to have the decking replaced on the house....Grr lol


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I would also think a thorough inspection would show if the houses electrical, plumbing and structures were up to code? I know the seller did have the home inspected before buying and before listing the home for sale. I'm going to call and ask them if they knew when the upstairs was put in, just for giggles. And I will probably be asking them some more questions along with it.

This is my first time buying a home...clueless. And this is my first time dealing with an older home...even more clueless ;)


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Okay, So I called the owner and had a nice little chat. I also got some good information that would have been probably helpful when coming on here ;) I'm a bit slow so bear with me lol.

The house has only had 3 owners 4 if I buy. The seller I am dealing with has blueprints that he got from the people he bought the house from. The history behind the house is that the lady who lived in the home before him was willed the house from her great grandfather, who passed away in 89. She sold the home to the man who has it now, and he bought it in 2005. The blueprints, and the lady who originally owned it say that the upstairs are the original bedrooms when the home was built. The master bedroom downstairs was put in as an addition in 88 when her great grand father fell down the original stairs and broke his hip. He died in that room 8 months later.

So the upstairs bedrooms or what I called an attic lol are all original to the home and were not added on at a later date. The breezeway, garage and master bedrooms are all additions. The insulation was done in the entire house in 2003, so I am guessing the attic was done too, the seller is unsure because he bought the home in 2005 and cannot get into the attic, but there is an attic entrance in the "pink" room.

The house was wrapped in the plastic suran wrap stuff before siding went up. Electrical is up to code per his inspection, and so is insulation. The roof age is old, that was put on in 97 so it obviously needs help lol.

Everything from the breezway, master bd rm and garage were all permitted additions. Up to code? He said he had no issues with his inspection besides a few electrical face plates. The house is drywall, the walls were stripped out before wiring was done. Walls test for no lead as of 2008, and asbestos cleared in 92, including floors and ceiling. The home does not have original hardwood flooring, the lady threw the flooring out when she had new up to date laminate floors installed.

He has all the paper work and neg test readings for lead paint, water has been tested, plumbing was done in 01.

So, this is the information I gained when I started learning exactly what to ask lol. Now with all this said, what do I have to consider and still do to make the "bones" of the house better? Or any opinions/advice.


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RE: Roofing an older home

I see you are getting answers (and reasons for second thoughts) regarding technical apects of the roof, decking and insulation issues, so I'll stick to answering your first question.

Yes, insurance companies will repair or replace a roof that ha been damaged, but only by casualty event, meaning from some known incident like a wind storm, tornado, fire, hail storm, or a structural incursion from something like a tree, etc. They are not in the business of providing funds to repair or replace roofs that are damaged or failing because of old age, poor quality materials, improper installation, etc. So it's unlikely they would approve a claim and to ask might even raise a red flag you don't want. If you buy a house where a prior claim has been refused because the damage to roof is non-casualty then you may have trouble getting a homeowners' policy which you will required to have before you can get a mortgage.

So, my advice is that unless you have reason to believe the damage was caused by a single, fairly recent casualty event, don't ask anyone to contact their insurance company about making a claim on it.

Even if the roof is on its last legs, it sounds as if it is still somewhat functional. It doesn't look like it just needs a simple re-shingling, howvever, but rather may need more work on insulation, decking and reframing and re-sheetrocking the upstairs rooms. All this can be done, but will require a plan, financial reserves in case you find other things amiss while taking care of the obvious. If you can get through the upcoming winter, you have time to do it right next year. Just putting on shingles that you have to pull off in the near future to make repairs on the insulation, ventilation and decking underneath is not a good idea.

This is why I advised you in the other thread that you need to make sure you can save up a good financial cushion ($5-15K) if you are planning on undertaking work on an old house. Almost nothing you start will turn out to just that one project. Most old house projects cost more for the unforeseen parts than the planned item.

Ice dams (and their subsequent damage) can be prevented by raking the roof diligently after every snowfall. You can do that for one winter. I know people here were getting excited about the icicles in the older picture, but they are not bad for a snowy cold climate. I have far worse than that every year, on both heated and unheated buildings.

HTH,

L


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RE: Roofing an older home

Why would I need to install new sheetrock? Is that I guess the basics of installing better insulation, which is probably needed. The hubby will climb up on the roof tomorrow(roofing experience for several years) and see if we can last a heavy winter with it until we can do all the work the following spring.

As far as removing snow off the roof after a good snow fall, we already do that here in our rental because hubby says it can sustain a roofs life a bit longer.

What do you see wrong in needing re-framing? As in, what makes it look like or sound like it needs re-framing. I'm only asking because I'm new at this and IF I were to pass on this house would like the knowledge when looking at other older homes. I'm settled on living in an older home farmhouse for that matter and so is hubby. We have a very good financial cushion in savings upwards of near 20k both in regular bank savings combined with liquid savings. Combined income is just over 5k a month. I HATE posting financial stuff on here, but it is obviously relevant when looking into owning an older home. Both his job and mine are stable(over 5yrs employment with same company) however I am looking to go back to school once I figure out what I want to be when I grow up ;) If I stay with my current schooling and keep that career I would be bringing in a little over 3k after taxes are taken out.

Uhg, financial stuff on the internet lol...But it's needed to be posted to I guess get better advice on whether we have enough to take care of this old lady that we both fell deeply in love with ;)


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RE: Roofing an older home

the attic has this type of venting. I'm not sure what its called and the hubby isn't home to verify the name. T

It's a continuous ridge vent. But you must have soffit vents lower down for it to work properly. That's presuming you wish to continue with the vented attic system you have.

Electrical is up to code per his inspection, and so is insulation.

Unless I missed it, there was no documentation on that.

I'm not clear as to why you might have to reframe and redo drywall. But of course anything is possible, especially when there have been moisture issues on an old home.

there is an attic entrance in the "pink" room

A look in there with a strong flashlight or trouble lamp will clear up most of the mysteries!


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RE: Roofing an older home

There is documentation on everything that has been done on the home, including inspection reports on the home, which include the foundation report and pest inspection report.

The foundation report grades the foundation as Fair and made up of stone. The pest inspection graded it as clear/clean of any past and recent infestations, included but not limited to termites, some type of beetle(has the scientific name of beetle) and ants.

I have seen these reports first hand, and all of his receipts on what has been done ex. hot water heater fully replaced.

My husband does plan on crawling up in the attic on monday with his flashlight and camera to take a good look. I doubt he will be able to stand up in it lol and so I may be the one having to go take pictures...which highly creeps me out because I hate spiders..ICK!

I will probably just take a crap load of pictures every where because i'm not sure what to look for. Al though i'm sure the seller can tell me but he is not capable of climbing up there.

He bought the home in 2005 and had made plans to do some cosmetics to it, but he became ill and wasn't capable of doing so. I do know that it has NOT been tested for radon or any other harsh vapors, which will also be done Monday now with the foundation inspection.

I DO still plan on having a full home inspection, pest inspection, and appraisal done before I make up my mind. I'm not going to go into this blind or close minded. I want to know what immediate things need attention, and when I do fix those issues I will make sure I go into it with an open mind, that we may get a few surprises along the way.

I have a lot of little ones and with 5 boys 1 girl...I have gotten pretty used to having a lot of surprises on a daily basis.


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RE: Roofing an older home

Its nice to hear that you are purchasing a new farm house, but still you must have some inspection regarding this farm house you are saying that It desperately needs a new roof then i will suggest you an Roofing company which help me during similar situation you have to contact with them they definitely help you in this matter.

Here is a link that might be useful: roofer Baltimore


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RE: Roofing an older home

Lady,

If you are going to have a mortgage they will require a full report by a certified home inspector and a review by an appraiser. If you are financing the purchase yourself it is a very good idea to have this done anyway so you will know where you stand. The make sure the home owner correctly remedies any issues and have it inspected again. If the owner doesn't want to fix the issues then find out how much it will cost you and have that deducted for your offer. Also make sure there is a clean deed and title.

Always keep in mind that most of the time owners sell old houses because they have issues.


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