Help interpreting Survey results around Roof

6 Apr 2011
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United Kingdom
Hi all, I just wanted to ask people more experienced in these areas than myself for some advice on a recent survey we’ve had done for a potential purchase.

We were aware that there was damp in the top room on both side walls that we assumed were related to the chimney flashings and indeed this was confirmed by the surveyor.

He also said that;

“The main roof is pitched and covered with slates. Slate coverings have a life expectancy of about 100 years although this can vary quite widely. Old slate roofs can be repaired when slates break or slip but eventually repair will become
uneconomic or impractical. The roof covering is old and entering the latter stages of its performance life. Some
slates have slipped and are broken. The ridge is in need of repointing. This should be treated as urgent to avoid further damage. If repairs are not carried out within a reasonable time the defect could become worse. You should obtain estimates before a commitment to purchase. Given the age and condition of the roof , you may wish to obtain quotes for replacement as ongoing maintenance of an old roof covering is likely to prove expensive in the long term”

The above was put under RICS cat. 3 – Red meaning an urgent repair was needed.

My question really is around whether I can just repair the broken/slipped tiles when we get the flashings sorted which I’m told will be around £1500 or do as the surveyor ‘suggests’ and do the whole thing which is more like £9000. I guess it’s hard for you to tell really based on not being able to see, I hope to put some pictures up when I’m back at home tonight.

It’s just irked me a bit as it seems to me he has seen the age of the house (1920), seen a couple of slipped tiles and come to the conclusion that they’ll probably all be knackered and it's a big call as it’s a hell of a big job and could cause us to pull out of the purchase if the Vendor isn’t willing to assist (which she doesn’t need to, especially as the house was valued at what we’re paying for it)

It’s terms like ‘reasonable time’ and ‘could get worse’ that are misleading, the house is perfect for us and I’m inclined to get the bits repaired in the short term and see how we get on but then I’m a nobody and a ‘specialist’ is telling me otherwise… HELP!
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Update – Just managed to speak to the Surveyor who indicated that if we patched it up it could last another 10-20 years or it could last only 2 – which is a little different to the tone of the written report, I guess they have to cover their backsides.

As such, we’re going to go ahead and patch it up and if something is seriously wrong once we get up there then take it from there but hopefully that should sort us for a few years at least and we can save up in the meantime for when the inevitable happens…
If the slates are slipping because of nail rot, tired slates and perished lathes then you are pi ssing into the wind doing a repair.

You may have to spend £1500 every time we have strong winds or a harsh winter. The inconvenience alone will be moral sapping.

Just off set the cost of the re-roof in the purchase price.
Yorks v Staffs :LOL: as a soft southerner I say - Turnerise it ;)
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Thanks for the feedback folks...

In terms of offsetting the cost of a new roof off the purchase price, I'm not sure that will work, we're already getting it for a good deal, it's been valued at what we're paying and it sold in a week (having had 3 offers on it) so I'm not sure it's a goer.

I think what we'll do is 'aim' to have it repaired, and if they get up there and say it's in a state then look into getting it all replaced.
Have a look at the slates when you have the flashing repairs done. Check if the fixing nails are generally in good order or are rusting and look at the underside of a few of the slates to see if they are delaminating. If the nails are sound and there is no evidence of de lamination you should be ok with patch repairs in the medium term.

If the nails are rusting or if the slates are delaminating then work on the basis that patch repairs will become slowly more expansive and frequent making a new roof the better choice.

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