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Old 08-23-2010, 07:53 AM   #1
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


I have a traditional cape style house and I am concerned about a roof leak in the near future. I went to the attic this morning to check on things after having a significant amount of rain the day before. It looked fine everywhere except a small section where west side of the house meets the roof which is also the side of the house where the chimney is. Let me try to explain. The house faces south. The North and South side of the house is where all the roof shingles are visible. The East and West side of the house is where the peak is visible. The area of concern is on the West side. Prior to purchasing the house, the inspector noticed a white spot on one of the pieces of sheathing in the attic located right at south-west corner of the house (where the roof meets the west side of the house). Since the roof is brand new, he said that is probably from the old roof leaking, so he told us not to worry too much about it. He said to get some over the counter stuff and treat it as though it was mold. The spot was only on a single piece of sheathing and no-where else. When I looked up today, I noticed that a few more pieces of sheathing looked discolored. They didnít look white or moldy, but they felt slightly colder than other areas. The discolored areas formed a patch that traveled from where the chimney is to the front of the house. Again, this patchy area is located right at the corner where the roof meets the side of the house. I should also mention that there was a lot of wind that could have blown rain under the singles.

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Old 08-23-2010, 09:23 AM   #2
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


It sounds like the chimney is a likely place to start. I would start at the top, and work down. Check the cap for cracks. Does it overhang the brick by at least an inch or two? Now the bricks; are they all in good shape, or are some of the faces of them broken away, indicating that water is getting into them, freezing, freezing, and cracking them? Check the mortar joints carefully. Then the flashing at the base of the chimney; are the shingles and flashing overlapped so as to prevent water from backing up there? Is the chimney in the roof, or at the side of the roof? In otherwords, can water run down the roof and hit the chimney, or does it run beside the chimney? If it hits the chimney, can it stand there, creating a pond, from which it can back up under the flashing or shingles?

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Old 08-23-2010, 09:26 AM   #3
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


And by the way, be very careful up there. If you are not comfortable on the roof, hire a local expert to inspect it.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:50 AM   #4
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


This is one where a picture really IS worth a thousand words.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:15 AM   #5
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


Thank you for your quick responses. I am a first time home buyer, so I am still learning a lot. One of the pictures shows the chimney. The inspection report flagged that there wasnít a cap installed. I know I have to get one in there asap, but I thought I was there to prevent debris and animals from crawling in, not so much to keep water out. Iíve been also curious as to why the chimney looks different on the side that it touches the house. It looks greenish in color. What is flashing? And is it supposed to be attached on the roof to keep water out?
The other picture is from the inspection report and it shows the white spot in the attic which probably happens to be right where the chimney meets the house. Thank you so much for your feedback, I can take a better picture later today.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:51 AM   #6
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


its not the flue cap [althouh thats not a bad idea],but the chimney cap that should be overhanging the brick....you dont got none
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:54 AM   #7
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


flashing is like the aluminum or whatever material you choose to cover the edges around your house to prevent water from getting in, such as around the roof/gutter/valley areas
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:38 AM   #8
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


Yes it appears you definitely have chimney issues. Best to have a mason look at the whole thing from the counterflashing up to the cap (or lack thereof)
Flashing/counterflashing is the metal installed where the chimney meets the roofdeck. Step-flashing is installed with the shingles and counterflashing is installed on the chimney to cover the top edge of the step-flashing. If you think a good roofer is pricey, wait til ya see a mason's quote. I have found that a good mason is worth every penny though.
Whoever investigates should look at everything from the step-flashing on up to the cap to make sure nothing is overlooked. Left unchecked, that leak is only going to get worse.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:25 PM   #9
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Yes, I agree; you need a mason, and the sooner the better. They most likely would anyway, but just to be sure, also ask them to inspect your flue. It looks to me like it may be a bit off center, and if constructed that way, it's probably fine, but you will want to make sure that the top of it isn't leaning before the cap is poured. And tell them that you want a concrete cap, that overhangs the bricks, not a mortar one, and not one that is flush with the edge of the bricks. It looks as though the corners of some of your shingles may be starting to curl, so you may want to think ahead to a roof inspection, but for now, it certainly appears as if your chimney is the culprit.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:01 PM   #10
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


Dexter, it's a new roof. Doesn't look like they've had a chance to seal down.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:09 PM   #11
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Interesting. I am going to have a roofer come and take a look, and maybe he could advise me on what to do as far as flashing goes. I didn't know the chimeney caps were made out of concrete or mortar. Most of the caps i see around are stainless steel. In fact, i was making some calls earlier today to some local bussinesses and they told me i could pick up one at a Home Depot for about a $100.
The inspector did say the roof looked brand new, and it does. However, i am unable to determined the exact age. I would gess less than 4 years.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:13 PM   #12
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


Ah ha! I see that now. I guess you're not the only "oldnbroken" one! Smithers, take care of your chimney, and disregard the roof inspection.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:38 AM   #13
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


Quote:
Originally Posted by smithers76 View Post
Interesting. I am going to have a roofer come and take a look, and maybe he could advise me on what to do as far as flashing goes. I didn't know the chimeney caps were made out of concrete or mortar. Most of the caps i see around are stainless steel. In fact, i was making some calls earlier today to some local bussinesses and they told me i could pick up one at a Home Depot for about a $100.
The inspector did say the roof looked brand new, and it does. However, i am unable to determined the exact age. I would gess less than 4 years.
A chimney cap or cover covers the entire chimney. The cap you can p/u at HD for $100 is likely a flue cap which only covers and keeps birds and water out of the flue.

The area of concern is the wash or crown which is all of the chimney top around the flue(s). This should be concrete, but is often mortar, which is prone to cracking. When a flue cap is installed with a bad crown it worsens the problem since the water that was going down the flue is now dumped on the cracked crown and goes down through the masonry. If the moisture freezes, it can split, heave, or spall the brick.

If you have a bad wash/crown that has lead to chimney damage, it should be repaired and a full chimney cover installed. If you only have some cracks in the wash and no further chimney damage, then a full cover will suffice.

While it looks like your shingles are new, it also appears the flashing was re-used. This is a questionable practice. Often, the re-used flashing will not last the life of the new roof. We seldom re-use flashing.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:54 PM   #14
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Is my roof going to start leaking soon?


Thanks seeyou for the clarification. I actually went back to look at the inspection report and realized the inspector flagged the chimney crown as "not visible" i looked really hard on the back of the chimney yesterday and was able to see a piece of concrete over the top, but nothing upfront. In any case i had put this item on my house maintenance "to do list." By the way a closer inspection of the wood inside the attic right by the chimney revealed that it wasnít really moisture, but discoloration of the wood. I almost looked like it had been exposed to heat. Still have to deal with the moldy spot in the picture, but there is no evidence of a leak at this point. I am still going to get someone to inspect the flashing. Can the flashing be replaced without replacing the entire roof?
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithers76 View Post
Can the flashing be replaced without replacing the entire roof?
Very easily. Worst case they may need half a bundle of shingles.
If anyone does fix your chimney flashings, make sure it's the step flashing AND the counterflashing. If you see the guy start up the ladder with a caulking gun, SEND HIM AWAY IMMEDIATELY and call someone else.

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