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The hidden costs of Bear Doo.

I have done lots of posts about flashings that seal around the pipes that go through roofs.

At a recent inspection there were no flashings at all on any of the pipes.  On this roof there were three vent pipes, one electrical mast and one improperly vented exhaust fan---no flashings at all. 

There was however, LOTS of bear doo---or you might now it as "tar."

Missing pipe flashing

I guess a couple of buckets of tar is a lot cheaper than the proper flashings---but the money saved will surely be out paced by the damage that will be done once the connections start to leak.

There is also the ongoing maintenance involved with continually having to patch the patches---requiring additional cans of bear doo every year.

It will cost a lot more to install the flashings now than it would have cost to install them when the roof covering was installed---not to mention the waste of Bear Doo.

Lots of Bear Shit

Bear doo is a sign that things are not constructed properly and is merely an attempt to cover up inadequacy.

Plus it looks like S@#$!!

Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector

 

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Comment balloon 17 commentsCharles Buell • March 26 2011 02:07PM

Comments

there's nothing worse than wasted bear doo. "Ya think that stuff grows on trees?".

I often wonder how the original builder got away with stuff like this? Then I remember to be grateful for those blunders because the repairs feed my family.  :)

Thanks Charles!

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 7 years ago

Charles I had no idea about this - wow - learned something new this morning.  Thanks - I'll ask around my town and see if folks run into this.  Good to know.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 7 years ago

Great blog post! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Posted by J. A. Michail, Real Property Management of Sarasota & M (Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee) over 7 years ago

Charles, you said "Plus it looks like S@#$!!"

Well isn't that exactly what bear doo is? Scat by another name.

There is an older technology that uses tar in a frame called a pitch pocket to create a water proof passthrough in a roofing system. It works very well if you keep it maintained. You maintain it by periodically toping up the pitch (tar).

This system could theoretically be used on a sloped (pitched) roof shingle system, though I've never seen it. The pitch pocket frame, yeah its made and installed with flashing, so if you're going to use flashing...........then use it.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 7 years ago

Tom and that is the American way---one persons screw up is a job security for someone else

Anna, hopefully leaving out the flashings entirely is not common anywyere :)

SarMana Properties, thanks

Robert, and even those old pitch pockets were less than satisfactory---fortunately we have better ways to do those seals now.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

You are absolutely right Charles. My point was that even then constant maintenance was required and metal flashing work was necissarey. So if you must flash anyway, just install the appropriate flashing for the roof system and dispense with the bear scat.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 7 years ago

I saw lot and lots of doo on a roof a week ago. The flashing's were all done wrong, so when the leaks started, out came the can o' S*%#.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Charles: Never heard it referred to as bear doo before but I guess it is a great analogy! Best, Gay

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

Robert, for sure

Jim, I think the stuff gets used a lot in "emergencies"---I don't see it used very often as an entire way of doing things :)

Gay, that is what I grew up calling it.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Charles, your industry sure uses a lot of technical terms were commonplace items :-)

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) over 7 years ago

And where does a bear doo doo in the woods?  Anywhere he wants...

Apparently that applies to roofs too.  Don't mess with nature Charlie.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Paul, it does have a lot of "colorful" terms

Jay, I have seen raccoon scat on roofs but never bear skat

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Mr Charles,

I personally believe that a liberal coating of tar is very helpful in restoring chimney problems.

Nutsy

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Hi Charles, Nice photos! and sad.... Incompetent roofer? maybe... lowest bidder? maybe... lazy roofer who forgot flashing but had a bunch of bear poo?...probably lazy inspector? most certainly! jay

Posted by Jay Lloyd, Allpro Home Inspection (Cape Coral Florida) over 7 years ago

I like Toms comment , this is pretty common on older homes in our area. The bear doo doesn't last long in our climate. Thanks Charles

Posted by Brian Persons, Certified Master Inspector (Brian Persons Front Range Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

I had a house yesterday with lots of that and lots of water stains in the ceiling below.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Nutsy, I imagine you do

Jay, who knows----hard to imagine

Brian, in my area too

Steve, I heard you tried to use that roof as a trampoline

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

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