While in the big picture, there are far worse things that can go wrong with a house, this is a small issue that I see fairly often.
In the following picture you can see the fall restraint bracket attached to the roof.
The hole in the end of the bracket is where the worker would attach their rope while working on the roof. Most houses will have a couple of these brackets—depending on the size of the roof.
There is a protective cap that needs to be installed to “counter-flash” the metal part so that water does not follow the metal bracket into the roof structure.
You might be wondering, “Well how much water could that be?” Over time it can be enough to cause rot and decay of the roof structure—at least in the immediate vicinity of the bracket. This next picture shows staining and evidence of ongoing leaking that was actually wet at the time of inspection.
You might also be wondering why the cap—such a simple thing—does not get installed? The answer lies in answering the question, “How does the roofer get off the roof without protection?” Once down on their ladder, the worker will simply pull the rope and away they go. Out of sight, out of mind.
So how did the worker get their rope in the bracket to begin with? They obviously climbed the roof without protection and installed the rope. The reverse needs to happen when they are done.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board