It doesn't sound like she's in dire straits, but how bad that is
probable depends on the kind of winter we end up getting. It
doesn't sound like emergency work is necessary, so I'd start with
a few phone calls to your local roofing contractors and see what
they say. Roofing is dangerous work in winter weather, so that
is usually going to add to the cost IFF you try to get winter
work done. I would see if there's a way to hold off until spring
for the work, but NOT to choose the contractor - IF you're going
to replace it, it's likely not too soon to call contractors:
They are often booked up after spring arrives and then your
choices become more limited.
From the description, it does sound like you need to have it
reroofed, and probably also need to have the old roof stripped
off first. Especially if you want the house to remain viable for
more than say ten more years. I say that because you mention
blackened rafters/plywood panels. Some of the underlayment
likely needs replacing. Most roofing warranties aren't valid
unless applied to solid, up to code surfaces. You DO want a good
warranty, in my opinion.
It sounds like you're relatively handy, so it might be worth
getting a couple of 25 x 50 foot tarps (or one if it's enough) at
your local Home Depot and putting them down up there just to
protect ceilings, etc. in the meantime. You'd have to make that
decision - where is the water going that comes in? Anyway, use
the tarps to direct the water to some harmless location and
especially so it doesn't go down inside the walls.
I don't think there is anything you can do to make sure the
matters don't get worse. The damage is probably already done;
get a reliable roofer to check it out if you can't tell yourself.
About your present warranty: It may not be worthless. The
contractor might be, but ... the manufacturer of the roofing
material is likely still around and if it had a 3- yr installed
warranty, that's still a chunk of change you might save. Can't
hurt to research it a bit at least.
The black color by the way isn't necessarily mold; a roofer can
tell you whether it is or not. It -might- just be weathered wood
colors, but when it's wet and in the bad light as you probably
had up there, it might have just looked like mold. Wood gets
dark when it becomes spongy and the fibres are broken down. It
didn't very likely get that way overnoght though, so you do
probably have rot in those colored areas and other areas too.
|I live in Pennsylvania and recently did a roof inspection via
| crawl-space attic of my elderly mother's ranch home, after a
| rainstorm. I found leaks, two totally blackened rafters (which
| guess means mold), and lots of mold on portions of plywood.
| Since I don't know if she'll be able to afford a new roof in
| spring, I'd like to do whatever I can to make sure the leaks
| worse. Her roof was put on eight years ago and the shingles
| supposedly had a 25 year warranty, but that's as good as the
| bag they came in.
| Is the only solution to roof leaks during the winter months
| sheeting and/or buckets on the attic floor (or in her case,
| foam insulation)? If she can afford a new roof, when is the
| earliest in the northeast that it's wise to put one on?
| Sorry if these questions sound stupid. This is the first time
| year old ranch ever looked like the roof really took a beating.