Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

Roofs with Negative Slope

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: Rainwater gathers on my deck at the beginning of each rainy season, and the pooling remains throughout the season. This problem did not begin until the deck surface was redone about three years ago. Are roofs with negative slope allowed, and will this be a concern when I sell the home? Kathleen

Dear Kathleen: Inadequate slope of flat roofs and of decks is a common construction defect. Although it violates the building code, it is generally regarded by home inspectors as a condition that warrants disclosure rather then repair, unless leakage or other related problems are observed. The reason that correction is not always prescribed is that repair can be very costly, and if the integrity of the deck membrane prevents leakage, it is hard to justify the reconstruction that would be needed to provide adequate slope for drainage.

When you sell your home, this condition could be raised as an issue by the buyers’ home inspector. Rather than awaiting the possible fallout of that disclosure, the better approach, as a seller, would be to include this condition in your disclosure statement to the buyers. Defects disclosed in that format are often accepted on an as-is basis.