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Home Inspections - Roofs

In addition to their Articles dealing generally with the nature of their services, the real estate professionals will discuss different specific "Topics" of interest to buyers and sellers from time to time.  These articles are indexed in the Articles Library for your review.

Author, Edward Robinson is vice president of Professional Engineering Inspections, Inc. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston and is a TREC licensed real estate inspector in the Houston area. You may contact Professional Engineering Inspections's at (713) 664-1264.

Roofs & Bullets

One common defect you do not expect to find in a roof in the Houston area is a bullet hole or a whole imbedded bullet, yet frequently, we find such bullets. Bullets seem to be most commonly found in the roofs of houses on the north side of Houston, around the Heights and Montrose areas; however, they have been found in many other locations in the Houston area and highlight the need to better inform the public about the dangers of discharging guns into the air.

Bullets have been extracted from a number of roofs in the Houston and surrounding areas. The rounds were taken from locations that might surprise you. Affluent neighborhoods were no exception.

These projectiles were doubtless fired into the air, probably during a holiday like the Fourth of July. All of the subjects shown were buried to a depth at least equal to their length and some deeper. It is a popular perception that falling bullets are harmless. The truth is simply a matter of physics. The speed of a projectile traveling up into the air will decrease due to gravity until its vertical motion is halted. Gravity continues to work on the projectile starting from its high altitude stopping point accelerating it downward. Since the distance it traveled up will be equal to the distance it will be accelerated down, while falling, the projectile will be accelerated to its terminal velocity which has been found to be approximately 300 feet per second. According to information published in the Los Angeles Times, as many as 118 people were injured by falling bullets between 1985 and 1992 and 38 of the victims died. In information provided by B. N. Matto (Journal of Forensic Sciences, 1984), a .38-caliber revolver bullet will perforate the skin and lodge in the underlying tissue at 191 feet per second and a triple-ought buckshot will do so at 213 feet per second. A .30-caliber bullet will perforate the skin at only 124 feet per second. It is easy to believe that such a bullet falling at 300 feet per second could seriously injure a person, possibly fatally, especially if it struck you in the head.

The damage caused to roofs is not severe but does require some repair in most cases. Normally, the bullet will penetrate the roof surface through to the roof deck, leaving a hole were water may run into the building. It is recommended that the roof be patched by replacing damaged shingles or installing flashings below the shingles to prevent water from running through the roof.

Just A Few Bullets Removed From Area Roofs !

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