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oggy bleacher 01-26-2012 04:42 PM

Leak from roof or brick?
6 Attachment(s)
The house is in St. Louis and is brick. I'm hunting for the cause of the water damage to the walls inside the front door. It's either from the gaps in the brick or from the roof or both. The interior water damage is slowly developing and has bubbled the plaster walls in trails and around the door. There are small gaps in the exterior tuckpointing but since the brick never get very wet I'm suspecting the junction of the pitches of roof since it is directly above the water damage. I've inspected the attic and haven't found any leaks. The wooden soffit seems unusually water damaged but it's probably original.
My questions are:
1) What's a good procedure to locate the source of this leak.
2) How do I fix the exterior leak?
3) Do I patch the inside wall with plaster?

Gymschu 01-26-2012 09:09 PM

In your first pic, wow, what a mess. That bit of gutter (above) would seem to have no purpose! I'll let the roofing experts comment, but, I'm gonna take a stab at it and say you have some serious chimney flashing problems.......I see step flashing, but no counter flashing. With that peak above the door, it creates a "water catcher" by the chimney, which, if it isn't flashed correctly is allowing all kinds of water into the house.

joecaption 01-26-2012 09:27 PM

Since you have to ask what's wrong, I'd suggest you hire a roofer to come fix this for you.
The flashing, the shingles, and I'd bet some of the sheathing is all going to have to be removed and replaced in this area. It was all done wrong.
Someones also going to have to tuck point that chimmney, there's some missing morter.
What is that piece of tape looking stuff sticking out?

cleveman 01-27-2012 04:16 AM

What a cluster!

If you find someone that says they can flash a chimney, ask to see some of their previous work. And do some searching on how to flash a chimney first.

It's difficult to make a bad design good.

If some contractors have their caulk gun in their hand when they come to your door, think about this before you hire them. Same for guys bearing "flashing tape".

Did you say where the leak is inside? Is it on the street sign of the door or the other side?

Maintenance 6 01-27-2012 06:25 AM

Flashing chimneys is almost, in my opinion, an art. If done properly the flashing will outlast the roof. You need a saddle on the upper side to direct water away from the chimney as well. See the link below.

One way to start is with a hose. Flow water on it and work your way up while someone inside looks for leakage. The fix will be determined by what you find leaking. Judging by the pictures, you'll find a lot of things leaking. All of the flashing details are a mess. As far as fixing the plaster, if it isn't deteriorated too badly, it can be patched with more plaster. If this has been going on for any length of time, you may need to cut some of it out and look for structural damage. Start by fixing the roof.

J. Trafford 01-27-2012 01:48 PM

roofer here
All of the before mentioned are absolutely correct. I have seen things done on roofs so badly it makes me sick.

What is needed behind the chimney is called a "cricket". Its actually a small little pitched roof member added to the roof behind the chimney to "kick" the water and snow and ice off.

The flashing needs to be redone and the gutters in this area redone and the entire area of roofing around the chimney should be removed in order to properly execute this involved repair.

It is an art form to do this. Under no circumstances should caulking be used. It just does not last and will only add to messiness continuing.

Get a good reputable roofer knowledgeable in slate and shingle systems as well as using copper flashing. One can of course use lead flashing but I would suggest leaded copper.

Good Luck!

oggy bleacher 01-31-2012 01:40 PM

Thanks for the replies. The inside water damage is on both the door side of the wall and the south facing wall under the satellite dish although one leak appears to transverse around the corner. The chimney did leak a year ago and was patched up by a hack but it doesn't leak anymore...or at least the trails of plaster bubbling don't source from the chimney area. That area was damaged directly on the ceiling and has shown no change. Now the damage is on the other side of the roof. I can't get better pictures because the tree is right in the way.
The only think I could do is make sure there are no obvious gaps in the shingles or gutter that's causing the leaks. The owner has tons of $ to spend on this repair. What's a ballpark estimate? I'm looking for someone to work on this in south St. Louis and you've given me some good advice.

oggy bleacher 02-07-2012 06:17 PM

Wasted $1300
We found a receipt today for $1300 of "spot tuckpointing" on the chimney from a little over 1 year ago. $1300 and the chimney immediately leaked and you can see for yourself that the tuckpointing is a disaster. I really wonder what they did for $1300 and how much would it take for them to actually fix a problem. I guess if you pay $5k or $10k they can afford to hire someone who knows what they are doing but do you spend 10% of the value of the house to fix a leak in the chimney? It's like buying a $900 steering wheel for your car. Service like that makes me come to forums like this.

J. Trafford 02-08-2012 06:10 AM

It is work like that, and experiences like that that home owners suffer that make it hard, so hard for the honest worker to be trusted. It makes it hard
to get work. The home owner has been "turned off" or is very skeptical of all who will bid on the work now.

Tuck pointing must be carefully done with the correct mortar. Soft or hard, the joints should be ground out with a grinder w/ vacuum attachment in order to get depth to the fresh mortar.

An acid wash before you point, and after will render the best results..... NO WINDOWS! near this acid mix, get a pro mason!

Good Luck!

oggy bleacher 02-20-2012 03:53 PM

For the time being we decided a basic fix would have to work. The leak itself was small and the roofer who came over could immediately see the roofing tar that had been used to fill the area against the brick right by that flashing that had come detached was all cracked. Basically, the leaking itself was caused by a simple decay of the tar. Yes, the area itself is not perfect but to fix the leak wasn't a big job in the opinion of the roofer. It was $175 which is a bit high for 40 minutes of caulking but it's guaranteed.
I'll repaint the inside and hope it lasts.

tinner666 02-20-2012 05:28 PM

"Yes, the area itself is not perfect but to fix the leak wasn't a big job in the opinion of the roofer. It was $175 which is a bit high for 40 minutes of caulking but it's guaranteed.
I'll repaint the inside and hope it lasts."
Not going to happen. The 1st. pic shows it was never flashed. It's still not fixed. That's also obvious by the lack of any flashing work by the door, to that chimney.:furious:
More water is coming in from the valley than the gutter anyway. A crew of slobs did that make-believe roof. :furious:

Gymschu 02-20-2012 07:54 PM

OMG! I am a painter, not a roofer, but I gotta say that's the worst repair job I have ever seen! That slopped on caulking will last maybe til the end of summer. WOW! I am speechless.

oggy bleacher 02-21-2012 02:25 AM

Those aren't encouraging comments but on the brighter side of things you could change careers and make $250 an hour doing horrible roof repairs in St. Louis.

oggy bleacher 03-01-2012 05:42 AM

how to patch the plaster
I know the opinion is that this leak isn't fixed but I'm going to move forward like it is. The problem is that there is still moisture trapped in the walls. I scraped all the loose plaster and paint off and then applied kilz2 latex sealer directly to the exposed plaster. I also applied a light skim coat of ready mix compound to some of the deeper craters. The compound mostly stuck but in one spot it immediatey bubbled up. So then I scraped it off and applied the kilz2 primer to the exposed plaster there. THere are still some bubbles forming on that one location.
I'm thinking that there is still moisture in the walls that can't go through the brick and tuckpointing so is trying to come into the house through the plaster.
I used the kilz to prime two other locations in the house that had previous water damage and both the kilz and the joint compound were solid in those locations. It's only in this area around the door that I'm seeing bubbles.
So, assuming there isn't a leak and this is residual moisture making its way out of the wall, should I scrape it down to bare plaster again and take a blow dryer to it? Should I leave it alone for a few seasons since any paint I put on it will bubble?
Or should I apply a test coat of paint so I can determine where the problem areas are?
How would you prepare the old plaster?
I planned on rolling thined out joint compound that was mixed with the paint color to try to get the splatter knockdown texture effect but now I'm thinking all that effort will be for naught so I should just prime it, patch it and paint it. But in what order?

Tom Struble 03-01-2012 08:00 AM

i wouldn't put too much effort fixing the inside just yet:no:

i love how your entrance way looks by the way:)

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