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Old 05-07-2014, 10:11 PM   #1
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


I have a house where on one side the exterior 8" concrete block wall actually extends above the roof (instead of the roof framing resting on it and overhangs like the other three sides). Here is a picture you can see the top of the block wall is actually about 6-8" higher than the roof tiles.



I have a leak on the inside ceiling right at the edge of that block wall.

I called a roofer to come out and fix it, after looking it over, the roofer told me my roof tiles look fine, there could be a leak below in the roofing felt, or flashing, but no way to tell unless he rips up the entire strip of tiles butting up against that wall. However, he said it is more likely my roof is OK, but that wall's top face (which I don't have a picture of at this moment), has a bunch of cracks and water could be penetrating through those cracks and into the wall cavities and leaked into the ceiling. He suggested I first seal the top face of that wall and see if it still leaks, and if it does, then call him back to tear out some tiles and spend some money.

Sounds reasonable to me.

What would be the best way to waterproof the top face of that wall that is being subjected to intense heat and humidity every day in South Florida's sun?

Should I just treat this the same as the other vertical wall surfaces - prime and paint?

Or should this be treated a bit different? My neighbor suggested applying a coat of tar compound over it, then paint. I am not so sure. First, it's my understanding that these tar compound do not dry but stays flexible, so there is no painting over it. Second, everyone who climbs on the roof - roofers, painters, sometimes plumbers or stucco finishers they get on the roof by leaning the ladder on that wall - instead of the other three sides where the gutters wrap around - so as they step onto that wall they will be stepping onto soft messy tar, not good.

Any suggestions?

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Old 05-07-2014, 10:32 PM   #2
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


I would put a metal cap on top of the wall or wrap the sides of the wall and then cap the top...all in Kynar painted metal or Alum. That is a perfect candidate for wrapping in metal then capping in metal...be it painted, copper or even Alum. I would lean toward Alum.

ALso, if you ever need advice again on your roof, DO not ask that neighbor.


Last edited by AndyWRS; 05-07-2014 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:44 PM   #3
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


Yep, metal parapet cap. That's the only permanent solution.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:50 PM   #4
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


Can this "metal parapet cap" be applied to the existing wall as is? Or does it need to be somehow integrated with the flashing which is underneath the tiles where the wall and roof deck meet?

What I mean is, does this cap need to be long enough to reach down to where the flashing is, and somehow connect to that flashing, or not necessary?
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:58 PM   #5
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


It will need to come down far enough to come over the existing flashing. You could rivet to the existing.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:35 PM   #6
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


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Originally Posted by AndyWRS View Post
It will need to come down far enough to come over the existing flashing. You could rivet to the existing.
In that case, the tiles along the wall needs to be removed, so as to expose the existing flashing, then the flashing disconnected from the wall, and joint to this metal cap?

So essentially, it means completely redoing the flashing and two rows of tiles?
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:38 PM   #7
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


We cant see it, but its typically a Head wall type flashing or a z bar type flashing. Either way, no tiles need be removed. The new cap just needs to come down over the existing wall flashing.

this help ?
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:49 PM   #8
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


The size of the wall flashing will vary, but so long as you bring the new cap down over the existing your fine.

Your flashing may be different, but the principle is the same. The cap should over lap the wall flashing.

The other pic didn't show you what the existing wall flashing looks like, this should give you a better idea.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:30 AM   #9
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


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What I mean is, does this cap need to be long enough to reach down to where the flashing is, and somehow connect to that flashing, or not necessary?
If it IS the top of the wall leaking then no, it does not need integrated with the roof.

Your roofer is on the right track. Cover the top of the wall and see if that stops the leak. If not then you need to address the roof where it meets the wall.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:36 AM   #10
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


Here's a quick example. The beige metal on top of the wall.

I dont' know why it rotated when I uploaded it but that is annoying
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Last edited by OldNBroken; 05-08-2014 at 12:39 AM. Reason: Why did it get rotated?
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:21 PM   #11
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


I 2 3rd or 4th the cap metal. One way to test this theory is with some plastic over the wall and a hose.

Get a few pictures of the inside and outside of the wall face and we would be better help in how to properly flash it if necessary.

We've always installed a 2x nailer to attach the metal to. The front edge would get a cleat and the back edge wood tited to the nailer. Over the top of the nailer wrap a width of EPDM over it.


See now if you would have just flown us down there we could have had this all done for you and been relaxing with umbrella drinks on the beach.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:21 PM   #12
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


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See now if you would have just flown us down there we could have had this all done for you and been relaxing with umbrella drinks on the beach.
Sure I got a few cases of beers chilling, waiting...
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:07 PM   #13
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


I have until the 19th, then yer too late til next year.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:35 PM   #14
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


Pretty sure we are still waiting for the helicopter to show up!

If it's after the 19th I'm sure I could find a replacement for OldNBroken.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:40 AM   #15
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A leak from above - roofer's diagnosis


well it is the middle of the summer down here, I am repainting the whole house and had the painter pressure washed the roof and the top of that wall.

what is strange is when they pressure washed the wall, that's a lot of water on there under high pressure and no leak below.

but when it rains, sometimes (not always), mostly when during tropical storms with strong winds, that's when I see the leak.

so it is possible that it's not just water penetrating the top of that wall.

in any case I took a few pictures of the wall from the top showing what it looks like now. I see some black tar like materials between the roof tiles and the vertical face of that wall, that must be indication someone tried to waterproof it at one point?







If it's not the cracks on the top of the wall causing the leak, will a metal cap still make sense? I am beginning to think somewhere the flashing is failing, but why only under heavy storms?

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