Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses

One of the jobs associated with operating a fixer upper and rental house business is to keep your rental properties in ship shape!

With the annual approach of summer rains, now is almost the last chance to make rental house roofs water proof before the watery onslaught. As someone who has a sworn aversion for arriving too early to parties, I subscribe to the time-tested philosophy of “better late than never.”

This morning I applied some black roofing cement on some areas on one of my townhouse roofs. I had located some cracks upon my inspection of it about 2 weeks ago.

The first photo shows the area in question, where I had previously applied a small amount of plastic roofing cement, but today I was going to put on some more and cover a broader area.

Before picture

The second photo shows the application of the plastic roofing cement. We apply one layer of cement, then put a white membrane on top of that, followed by a second layer of cement. The membrane allows for more cement to be applied.

Application of roofing cement

Below is the “after” photo. You can see that in addition to the corner, we hit a few other cracks with our roofing cement on the sides of theroof. Later, we’ll come back with white roofing paint to cover the black cement.

Completed repair

A good rental house

My wife and I purchased this 2 bed 2 bath townhouse in 1993 and lived in it for 10 years before moving on to a bigger house (to accomodate our growing family), and turning this property into a rental house in 2003.

Its been one of our best rental houses because it is in a “transition” zone (aka “opportunity zones”) where there is heavy demand for housing, and it is easy to care for because it is compact (1100 sq ft with small front and back yards). The townhouse perfect for single people or small families.

We originally purchased it for $53,000 and we charge $750/month (more if the tenants have pets).

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15 Responses to “Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses”

  1. Chuck says:

    Old primary conversions are how we got started. We have one with a flat roof porch and I must say it does need lots of maintenace – no more flat roofs for us…

    • admin says:


      Unfortunately, here in Tucson we don’t have the option to not purchase flat roof properties. They’re everywhere! On the positive, with all the practice that I have had working on them, I’ve grown to appreciate them.


  2. […] I received a call from a tenant Saturday night. She reported three leaks in her house. I knew it was time to re-coat the roof last spring, but I thought it would hold out throught one more rainy season. I was […]

  3. Your aritcle is full of useful information. keep it up. You put a nice twist to it.

  4. […] Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses on Fix Em Up Rent Em Out […]

  5. […] Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses […]

  6. Heather says:

    Looks like you really keep your rental houses in great shape! Thanks for sharing your maintenance progress photos, great post!

  7. After 10 years turning your living place into a rental house is indeed a great idea. I really like the idea and looking forward to turning my old house into a rental place.

    Can you let me know, how much you spent to make your house into a rental place?

    • Terry says:


      The house we purchased was a fixer upper and it was in pretty rough shape. Bathroom sinks and toilets were missiong. The kitchen needed new cabinets and we had to replace the stove. I changed all the electrical outlets and it needed a new cooler on the roof, and eventually an AC. I’d say we spent $10,000 – $12,00 to get it up to speed. Fortunately we could pay for the repairs gradually, since we lived in the house and could do it as we had the time and money.


  8. Ron Pickle says:

    Great job! In case of rental properties you just can not afford to neglect roofs and you must get them professionally inspected atleast twice in a year. I am happy you located the cracks on time.

    • Terry says:

      Good point, Ron.

      It’s very important to frequently inspect the roof for wear and tear. I once made the mistake of neglecting to inspect my own roof for several years and I was forced to deal with large repairs because of my neglegence. Never again!


  9. This is the complete responsibility of the owner and property manager to have an experienced and trusted roofer on board so that they can call them for twice an year inspection and maintenance so that roof could last till its complete life span.

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