The wind blew a piece of shingle off my roof


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Old 12-30-08, 06:10 PM
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The wind blew a piece of shingle off my roof

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year!!

Strong winds blew away a piece of shingle off my roof today, about two feet down from the top.
Looking from the outside, all I can see is blakish-dark gray piece of something where the shingle used to be. I assumed it was felt paper.
This is a very old house, built in 1902, Old Style, there is no way I can get up there.
I climbed to the attic to measure more or less where it is, just to be prepared for any water coming in and I discovered, by looking between the boards, that what I am actually looking it was no felt paper, but shingles.
I don't know how old this roof is, but I cannot imagine it is more than 20-25 years. If it's more than that - kudos to those who did the job, right?
We bought the house 5 years ago.
So my questions are:
1. Is it possible that someone did a roof 20-25 years ago without felt paper...?!
2. On a scale of 1-10, how panic should I be in the next few days (7" of snow expected tomorrow) until a roofer can fix the damage? Remember - I do NOT see the wood, I see something that is similar in color to a shingle/felt paper (I wanted to add a picture, but for some reason I cannot. My profile won't allow me to add attachments).
3. I read another post here and someone mentioned wooden slates...until reading I didn't pay attention to the fact that what I saw in the attic was wooden slates and not plywood.
So, lets assume I want to do the entire roof, do I need to replace the entire roof' slates with new plywood ?!

Thanks in advance for any advise.
 
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Old 12-30-08, 07:04 PM
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I'm sure that you might get a couple of requests for clarifications, so if I might be the first...

It sounds like your roof deck may be the same as mine, boards instead of plywood sheets. If that is the case, I personally fixed all of my damaged boards and only covered a small part with plywood (sheathing OSB), but that was my choice and since you haven't gone through a massive hailstorm, your boards might be in fine shape. You won't actually know until they're exposed and if you're in a snowy area, and if you decide to reroof, then that probably wouldn't happen until the weather turns. (Though, if you can see the boards in the attic, you might be able to get an idea without stripping the roof)

As for what you saw between the slats, it sounds like you might've seen a bottom layer of shingles. It's not advisable to put one layer over another and I think it voids the manufacturer warranties, but it happens every day and a lot of houses have two or more layers.

If that's the case and if you have an undamaged bottom layer exposed near the top, you might not even experience a leak. You might have to "patch" some of the nail holes with roofing cement, but only time will tell and the first storm may not be the same as the next

Otherwise, if you think a leak is a good possibility: Offhand, I'll say that they make roofing cement in tubes for a caulk gun and most of it is sold in spreadable cans (ranging from a pint to five gallons); Perhaps you could tack something up from the bottom and seal the edges with caulk (it might not be able to stand a lot of weight, depending on the material and method, but it might be better than nothing)

I might be able to think of some other Macguyer-like ideas and I'm sure others could as well, but I'll leave it at that, in case I've misunderstood your situation and am just spitting into the wind.


Good luck
 

Last edited by TryAgain; 12-30-08 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 12-30-08, 07:55 PM
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Thanks TryAgain.

I thought about the possibility of second, older layer of shingles underneath and I really hope this is the case.
Unfortunately, due to the high and sharp angle of this roof there is no chance I'll be able to fix it from the outside, a pro will have to do that.
As to the inside - this is not too accessible either, unless I rip off some wood boards that create some kind of a "room" that the former owners built for whatever reason. Of course Murphy Law has it that the damaged area is in the least convenient spot

The boards look in pretty good shape from the attic, to the best of my unprofessional observation. I was wondering though, does anyone know if it is required to replace boards with plywood/OSB when re-roofing (Massachusetts)?
 
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Old 12-30-08, 08:22 PM
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I don't know the codes and I'm sure others might have other suggestions, but in the meantime;

The way I see it, if you do have an underlayer of shingles or even felt for that matter, the "problem" is that though that little patch might not directly leak, if the second layer doesn't have a good seal, then water could go under the the top layer and run down. Then, depending on where it puddles, you may or may not have a leak because we don't really know the shape of this underlayer.

If it were me, I'd clear a path through the attic to the problem area and down the hill from it, so that you can watch to see how it reacts to the next storm and/or keep a check on it until the weather turns. I might also buy a clamp-light or something similar; One to make sure that I have ample lighting to keep watch, but also because if need be, you could point it toward the hole and possibly speed the melting of future snows, so that water would have less of a chance to seep.

Again, I'm not sure about that second suggestion and maybe those with more experience would caution against it; And, if you have no problems, then you might not want to draw attention to that one spot from the road by having a big, snowless, blank spot on your roof, but that's what I'd consider having prepared.

Because any leak would run downhill and you can't get to it from the outside, I'm not sure there's a lot that you could do until you know whether or how it'll leak. You didn't say how big your blank spot might be, but if it's not very large and since it's near the top (so there's not a lot of run-off onto it), then you might not have a big problem or something that's not unmanageable down the road.

But again, I'm no expert, I'm just a guy who's been doing a lot fixing-upping to my own house.
---

ETA: You might also get some plastic to have ready for the floor, if the spot does decide to leak. Snow in New England is generally a slow melter, so theoretically, you might be able to protect your belongings with a sheet of plastic until you know whether or not you need to do something else.
 
 

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