Monday, November 14, 2016

One of Those Days

Vent stack is the one on the right with the new boot installed

It was one of those days a couple weeks ago with sunny skies and warm summer like temperatures so I finally put to bed one of those projects that always tickle the back of my head.

When we purchased our current house privately from the previous occupant, he kept insisting that the transaction would be "as is" and that once an offer was accepted, no inspection would derail it. When I hear someone being insistent like that, I immediately suspect that he is hiding something and with a house, probably something major. Still the house appeared to have really good bones to it, everything to my eyes looked sound and it was by far, the best house we looked at over an entire year for the money. We went ahead and bought it.

Shortly after we moved in, perhaps days, I noticed that the valve underneath the kitchen sink had been leaking for a LONG time. It is a super simple fix and cost me about $20 to do so, but the damage had been done. The entire bottom side of the cabinet was rotted out along with the floor and the water had gone down to office wall in the basement which caused a funky smell. I cut out the rotted underside of the cabinet and floor and patched in new wood and last winter, I finally got around to gutting the office wall and ending the funky smell. Along with that problem, when the first rain came, I could hear water running down through the wall between the bathroom and the living room. My inspection showed that the boot for the vent pipe on the roof had seen it's better days and had inverted to actually create a funnel for water to run down the vent stack all the way to the basement.

I went up in the pouring rain and slathered on some tar until the leaking stop and then later when it had dried out, I tried to do a permanent fix. I bought a new boot for it but the pipe had been extended with another length of pipe on the roof and the bell end prevented me from getting a new boot over it. (You can see what I'm talking about on the right pipe sticking out of the roof in the picture above.) So I ended up slathering on a lot of tar over it and calling it good.

The problem is that roofing tar cracks with age so it became a chore that I had to do about twice a year to prevent leaking. However, one afternoon this past spring while looking up at that eyesore (only to me), I pondered that maybe the pipe extension was just pressed onto the vent pipe and that there was no permanent adhesive. If I could just pull the extension off, I could slide a new boot on it and do a proper job. Well I had already put fresh tar on it which is about impossible to remove and summer was around the corner when doing roofing work in the heat on asphalt shingles is not the most pleasant thing to be doing, so I kept putting it off. This fall as you know was extremely busy but our normally cold November has been like early fall anyway. So while doing something else on the roof, I wiggled that pipe extension on my way by and sure enough, it wasn't adhered to the vent stack.

So I got to work and spent an hour chipping away about two gallons of roofing tar slathered over the old failed boot and got it removed. I put a new boot in place seated in a nice bed of tar to adhere it to the shingles and help the uphill shingles adhere to the top of it and now all is right with the world. I can look up at it from my deck (the picture above is now what I see) and see a proper boot instead of a mound of cracked tar. The tickling is now almost gone. Now if I can just fix that improperly flashed joint around my chimney. But that is for another day when I replace the shingles.

P.S. The house turned out to have good bones and other than a couple simple problems to fix, it has and still is a great home.


Kelly said...

You're braver than I am because I don't think I could have trusted them given their insistence for "as is". Still... you're a handy guy and obviously your own inspection was satisfactory. I'm glad it's worked out well, so far. And as far as that goes, owning a home is never without simple (and occasionally complex) problems to fix. It's just part of life.

Ed said...

Kelly - It wasn't as bad as it sounds. We gave him earnest money so if we had got it inspected and decided the problems found (which I don't think and inspection would have found anyway) were bad enough to back out of the deal, we only would have lost the earnest money. Not a really big loss. I think what the person we bought it from was trying to do was to have him be responsible for any fixes before the sale went through. This is perfect for me because I would rather do it myself anyway or at least supervise the fix myself to ensure it got done properly and not on the cheap as selling homeowners have incentive to do.

Leigh said...

Even with an inspection you discover problems! At least you are able to tackle these things yourself. You know it gets done right. I'm glad it's turned out to be a good home for you all.

Ed said...

Leigh - Although not bad experiences, both times I've paid to have an inspection I have felt it was a joke. They pointed out all the obvious but when I ask them questions such as is this structurally sound or how many years do you think the roof has before needing replaced, they never answer. They just point out that this light bulb is burnt out or this outlet cover is missing. This last time, I just skipped it altogether and I'm glad I did.