Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(

 
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:15 PM   #1
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Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Hi guys. I'm Jake. I'm a heavy equipment operator and understand a lot of the construction business, bur roofing I know very little.

We have an inlaw unit up in the mountains. Where we get 5-10ft of snow each winter. Built-in 1980's. It has been nothing but a money pit. We hire contractor friends each year to diagnose the roof leak, fix it, repair drywall, only to find it water damage again next spring.

How can I properly diagnose the leak? Happy to pay roofing professionals to fix it and will but want to really get to the root of this leak. It has been happening each winter since 2001. Think is time to crawl around myself and diagnose it.

It is unique, in that it has two sunroofs, and also a bridge that abuts the house on the top floor to provide access to the house from the
street. Last year, it was the sunroof leaking. They removed shingles and covered area with tar. This winter it leaked on the drywall of the bottom level kitchen (see photos). Top level was fine. I'm thinking it is the metal pan where the bridge walk way connects to the house, or a leak from the side shingles into the house. It is a skinny two story unit that was the previous homeowners architectural project. If the main roof leaked wouldn't the top floor have damage? My notes say it leaked in this same spot back in 2001 too!

I'd really appreciate some help and opinions on this. We have spent sooo much $ fixing and repairing this place that gets used very little for grandparents and guests.

Was thinking of getting a hose hooked up onto the metal pan by the walkway and letting it run and start looking around the house for leaks. Is that the right way to do it? Might have to cut out the bad drywall on the kitchen roof and get eyes in this area with an inspection camera to also look around?? Ideas on how to view behind the walls and kitchen ceiling where there is no crawl space?

I have really good photos of the roof before and after the last repair work on my drop box. Here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zsqrx5ip5...oiaKIieea?dl=0
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Roof won't stop leaking for 17 years :(-img_0627.jpg   Roof won't stop leaking for 17 years :(-img_0011.jpg   Roof won't stop leaking for 17 years :(-img_0001.jpg  

Last edited by MountainSun; 06-13-2018 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


I'm not a roofer or anything, but probably a flashing problem under the bridge, in conjunction with heat escaping and water finding it's way through the gaps. And I'd imagine the skylight will continue to have similar problems, especially the wide one.

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Old 06-13-2018, 04:37 PM   #3
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


What's going on the backside of this intersection? Is it open?

Photo 2, skylight flashings look suspect.

Check that HVAC boot
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:17 PM   #4
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Thanks guys. I should add, that all water damage this year occurred at a height lower then the bridge walkway. Lower level. That is why I was thinking it was this bridge area or a wall? But then again, maybe water leaked down the walls from the roof and manifest it’s self over the kitchen ceiling. Water is shut off to house all winter and heater is often off or fails due to power outages.

Those pictures show the roof before and after the last repair job 2017. So you can see how they slathered lots of tar around the hvac vent and repaired the sunroof flashing. I will get some new photos this weekend of the current state after this latest leak.

The back side of that intersection is a straight down wall covered in shingles. I’ll get a much closer photo/inspection this weekend.

I will get the roofers to inspect and repair the hvac exhaust and sunroofs like they did last time. But, how do roofers go about testing for a leak? Or is it a more of patch up any suspect areas and fingers crossed it handles the winter? I feel like that is what has been happening. And we keep missing the leak and when we get water damage 4 months down the road, they are long gone and it’s too late with 4 feet of snow on the roof.

Can we test with a hose spraying on roof? Or bad idea? They sell these inspection cameras that I can rent and poke a hole in the water damaged ceiling and try to see where the water is coming down or what side of the structure? Trying to be a little more scientific about my approach since repairing the roof each spring hasn’t worked for 17+ years? I’m determined to stop the leak this year!

Thanks again!
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:59 PM   #5
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Typically you determine the most likely source then take things apart and fix the underlying issues, then reassemble the system.

There is a little guessing that goes into repairs but not to the fingers crossed level of guessing.

Where are you located?
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:00 PM   #6
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


You could always have it coated
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:50 PM   #7
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


After 17 years of leaks, it is high time to open up some walls and trace it back to the leak. You are sure to have some rotted wood and mold, so best to get that out of there anyway.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:15 PM   #8
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Are there foam closures under the ridgecap?
If not, you will get an unbelievable amount of rain and snow blowing under there.

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Old 06-13-2018, 08:20 PM   #9
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainSun View Post
Last year, it was the sunroof leaking. They removed shingles and covered area with tar. This winter it leaked on the drywall of the bottom level kitchen (see photos).
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After 17 years of leaks, it is high time to open up some walls and trace it back to the leak. You are sure to have some rotted wood and mold, so best to get that out of there anyway.
Going by the OP, what was said and what was left to interpretation, the place has multiple issues they've been attempting to patch on a case by case basis. Patch jobs are exactly that; not a complete fix, just band-aids.

While I agree that there's probably hidden damage/mold/whatever, in the big picture that's relatively minor (I hope), that's not the way to address this.

If you really want to put this to rest, it's going to cost money. Have a real pro come in and do a serious tear-off, re-roof and re-flashing of anything he doesn't feel is 100%. That includes eliminating or modifying any of the architectural features that could be prone to problems.

A good builder, familiar with the area, should be able to give you an excellent warranty on the job. But as I said, it ain't gonna be cheap.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:27 PM   #10
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by A&E Exteriors View Post
What's going on the backside of this intersection? Is it open?

Photo 2, skylight flashings look suspect.

Check that HVAC boot
What's that waviness in the glazing of the skylight?
After 17 years probably some water coming in through the lid.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:47 PM   #11
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcat View Post
Are there foam closures under the ridgecap?
If not, you will get an unbelievable amount of rain and snow blowing under there.

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Have you ever heard of ice dams? I worked on a newer cabin with the same style roof. When the snow was built up(especially above skylight and other jacks etc)and began to thaw, water would actually flow down into the house under the ridge cap despite the foam. Crazy as it sounds, thatís what was happening. The water travelled down the inside of the wall, and dumped out on the first storey floor below it. I installed an electric plug under the eve, and a specially made zig zag of snow melting wires. When it senses below 32 temps with moisture, the heat kicks on no more snow drifts, no more leaks


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Old 06-14-2018, 06:58 AM   #12
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleb1989 View Post
Have you ever heard of ice dams? I worked on a newer cabin with the same style roof. When the snow was built up(especially above skylight and other jacks etc)and began to thaw, water would actually flow down into the house under the ridge cap despite the foam. Crazy as it sounds, thatís what was happening. The water travelled down the inside of the wall, and dumped out on the first storey floor below it. I installed an electric plug under the eve, and a specially made zig zag of snow melting wires. When it senses below 32 temps with moisture, the heat kicks on no more snow drifts, no more leaks


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Yes, I know what an ice dam is.

The closures won't stop water that is has any pressure behind it such as an ice dam, but they will keep out snow and driving rain, which will absolutely leak enough to ruin drywall.

Not saying that's the only problem in the OP's case, as that roof looks terribly hacked up, but judging by the workmanship in the pictures, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if there weren't any closures under that cap.
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:01 PM   #13
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Thanks everyone for the advice. Ya, 17 years of this over and over so time to get to the root cause and no more patching. The metal roof was added back in 2005, so 13 years ago. We added it because of constant leaking back then. We spent a lot of $ on the metal roof but that never solved the leaks. The main house has a different style architecture an never had a leak.

I don’t know if the ridge cap has foam closures. But I will add that to the list to ask the roofers when they digg into the project. We hired a real pro every time this has been worked on. We hired contractors from the city near by (45mins) that had roofers under their belts. But this city sits out of the snow line and maybe that is here the trouble lies. It is in a semi remote location, so it is a lot of summer workers that are not back year after year in this ski town. And, it is hard to get contractors that are not loaded up with bigger projects, like building new homes. I’ll try to nail down a roofing company or contractor now, for a repair later this summer. But, I wanted to investigate the root cause myself before getting them involved.

I will take more cleaner photos this weekend and poke holes through the ceiling with camera scope and wet the roof and see if I can find the location. Haze in skylight could be a gate, but I will investigate these areas closer. Roof is too dangerous for me to climb around, will hire the pros to do that part.

Yes, heard of ice dams. I will read more about them on google. Could be playing a factor. Some people have heated wires near the end of the roof edge to keep the snow melting there. The problem with this roof, is there is no overhang, so as the snow melts it runs right down the side of the house along the shingles. See the photos in the snow above.


The climate is extremely dry and cold here so I dont think mold and rot are a major concern. I could be wrong, but it was literally dry when we found it late this spring with the water damaged ceiling. We also had a mouse that went crazy in the house and chewed a hole through the cabinets and a few wires on a space heater. Hoping the mouse never made it up to the roof area.

https://www.extension.umn.edu/enviro...ment/ice-dams/
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Old 06-19-2018, 03:50 AM   #14
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


is there any cracks in the concrete. if it was coming from the roof it would be on all ceiings

sweet house btw
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Old 06-19-2018, 03:13 PM   #15
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Quote:
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Thanks everyone for the advice. Ya, 17 years of this over and over so time to get to the root cause and no more patching. The metal roof was added back in 2005, so 13 years ago. We added it because of constant leaking back then. We spent a lot of $ on the metal roof but that never solved the leaks.
Since you say it happens in the Winter. Could it be a condensation issue?

Have you cut an inspection hole in the ceiling that is in the pic? So you can put an eyeball on the backside of the sheathing?


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Old 06-19-2018, 08:55 PM   #16
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


I'm not totally sold it's the roof. I've seen where Tyvek over the wall sheathing was cut at the top on the gable's angle, not an extra 2-3" to flap underneat the rake boards and then the shingles were only under by 1/2" to an 1". What would happen is on wind blown days of the snow/rain mix, that slop would blow right under the rake and get behind the shingles and barrier. Depending on where the wind was pushing the snow, would be where a potential leak would show itself.

Might be worth a decent inspection of the shingles at the rakes. Check out the weaved corners as well around potential leak points on exterior walls. Weaves that aren't reverse lapped will leak. Inside corners are even worse than outside for leaking when lapped wrong.
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Old 07-07-2018, 08:44 PM   #17
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


Any updates?
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:58 AM   #18
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Re: Roof Won't Stop Leaking For 17 Years :(


i feel used.

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