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Old 04-09-2011, 12:57 PM   #1
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Roof leak nightmare..... it won't stop


I really hope someone can help us here.

We have lived in this house 7 years and noticed a small leak in a closet at the back of our house over a year ago. The roof above that closet is part of a small addition that had a flat roof.

We had Roof Company #1 come out, who quoted us on replacing the shingles on the flat roof (well it's not completely flat, but too flat for shingles) with torch-down. He said it would solve the leak. It didn't.

Roof company #2 said the leak must be originating higher, on the second story dormer. We had them replace that part of the roof, as he said it would solve the leak. It didn't.

We finally saved up enough money for an entire new roof, and Roof company #3 did the replacement for us. We thought the problem was solved.... until the next big rain. We were told our gutters were old and not hanging properly. We hired Gutter company to replace them.

Are you with me? It is STILL @#(*$&@# LEAKING.

So my husband and I took out the paneling and insulation in the closet ceiling to get a good look. Yesterday he went on the roof with the hose, and I sat in the closet with a flashlight. Starting at the lowest point along that seem, he let the hose sit for 10-15 min. then moved it up a few inches. The closet was dry. He also did this around the boots and other places on the torch-down roof, and the closet remained dry.

So then he moved the hose up to the roof that slopes down above the closet, and started spraying there (purposely avoiding the seem where it meets the dormer). As the water started running down through the gutter, the leaking began in the closet almost instantly. (the blue arch in the photo is where he was spraying when this happened).

We immediately got Gutter company on the phone and the owner came out. It was raining today when he came, and we showed him what we did and why we think water is getting in somewhere around the gutter. He insisted that it wasn't possible, and kept pointing toward the seam where the sloped roof meets the side of the dormer. My husband kept telling him that no, he was not getting that area wet when we had the hose. This guy was a jerk and insisted that gutters don't cause leaks like this. He said we needed to call Roof Company to come out and start removing shingles to find the source. Roof is about 6 months old, Gutters are about 2 months old. The leak has been happening since before either were replaced. The closet is under the back addition (laundry room) right at the seam, by the windows.

I am attaching a photo (it's old - from 7 years ago when we moved here, but the only one I Have showing the layout on the back of the house.) We have since also replaced windows. Everyone is blaming "the other" company and I am ready to invite them all over to duke it out until someone figures this out and fixes it. Our house is going up for sale Wednesday, this MUST be fixed ASAP. And we are helpless and don't know who to call next. Roof Company is coming out on Monday to look again and eliminate the seems as the cause of the leak.

Any suggestions??? Anyone?? My husband and I are NOT handy but I am beyond frustrated. After hiring so many jerks to fix this for us, not one went on the roof with a hose like we had to do ourselves. We feel like we have isolated the area that is the source of the leak, but what do we do next??




Ok, just managed to snap another photo from above (stuck my head out dormer window). We stuck hose under gutter and along that whole seam where the torch-down roof meets rest of house, and nothing. That area is not the source of leak. My husband thinks it has something to do with the gutter right here. Maybe the way the metal things are attached at an angle and water is running through where the screws go in? Is that possible? Does anything look "off" about this gutter?



Last edited by amandat37; 04-09-2011 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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Roof leak nightmare..... it won't stop


You’re on the right track with the hose, you made it leak.
I’d try again until you isolate it.
Your other picture didn’t load.

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Old 04-09-2011, 01:43 PM   #3
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thanks, I re-uploaded the photo again. I hope that worked
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:03 PM   #4
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Where exactly in that last picture did you find the leak with the hose?
Anywhere near the wall flashing?

On a side note, your gutters don't make sense. You are keeping the runoff off the deck with the gutter but allowing the downspout to pour in that area? It's going to wear that roof out fast right there. Makes more sense to run the downspout into the gutter. I'd also make a big 24ga 6" box gutter for that small area.
If you leave it the way it is at least you should have an additional sacrificial sheet torched over the existing roof right there to preserve the actual roof.

I would redo the gutter and ds

Last edited by OldNBroken; 04-09-2011 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:10 PM   #5
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Where exactly in that last picture did you find the leak with the hose?
Anywhere near the wall flashing?

On a side note, your gutters don't make sense. You are keeping the runoff off the deck with the gutter but allowing the downspout to pour in that area? It's going to wear that roof out fast right there. Makes more sense to run the downspout into the gutter. I'd also make a big 24ga 6" box gutter for that small area.
If you leave it the way it is at least you should have an additional sacrificial sheet torched over the existing roof right there to preserve the actual roof.

I would redo the gutter and ds
Thanks for your reply! I'll edit the photo to add more details:



We pointed the downspout out to gutter guy and it will be re-routed to meet that gutter instead of running onto the roof. However we are certain that isn't the source of the leak, as we ran water extensively all over the torch-down roof and could not get it to leak.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:21 PM   #6
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Didn't think that was the leak, just pointing out that it's not a good setup the way it is.

Likely suspect is the wall flashing on the upper roof next to your blue smudge. Look especially close at the corner. If that's not it, remove the gutter, inspect and flood test again without the gutter installed.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:25 PM   #7
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Ok thanks. After reading some other threads here I asked my husband if we had a drip edge under the roof edge and he said yes. Just stopped raining so we will try testing again against with water the edge of dormer to be sure...
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:06 PM   #8
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Well apparently the water WAS getting over to the edge of the siding when he did this, because we did it just now and that is definitely the source of the problem. It is also obvious from the huge amounts of old and scraped up caulking there that this was a problem before we bought this house 7 years ago. After it dries hubby will head back up there with caulk and hopefully that will take care of our problem.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:24 PM   #9
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Well apparently the water WAS getting over to the edge of the siding when he did this, because we did it just now and that is definitely the source of the problem. It is also obvious from the huge amounts of old and scraped up caulking there that this was a problem before we bought this house 7 years ago. After it dries hubby will head back up there with caulk and hopefully that will take care of our problem.
Caulking is not a fix.

Can you post a picture of that area?
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:29 PM   #10
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Caulk is NEVER the solution. It needs dismantled and flashed properly. Good ya found it, congrats.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:59 PM   #11
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Roof leak nightmare..... it won't stop


Caulking isn't a fix? :/ uh oh

Should the roofer have redone this?

Here's a pic of it just now:




Like I said it was obviously caulked a LOT before...... it started leaking about 5 years after we moved here. Did I mention our house is going to be FOR SALE this week? So we need to fix this ASAP.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-09-2011, 04:25 PM   #12
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Roof leak nightmare..... it won't stop


That's a new roof? I'm going to have to assume your roofer was lazy and just butted the new shingles to the wall without interweaving them with the step flashing and caulked the joint thinking it would work. That is completely wrong.

If you can lift the shingles slightly right next to the wall and see if there are pieces of metal under them at least every other shingle. Should be easy to see. If no step flashing then that is your problem. If it was flashed properly with your new roof then it would have eliminated your problem. If not then he just covered up your problem without fixing it.
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Old 04-09-2011, 04:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandat37 View Post
We had Roof Company #1 come out, who quoted us on replacing the shingles on the flat roof (well it's not completely flat, but too flat for shingles) with torch-down. He said it would solve the leak. It didn't.

Roof company #2 said the leak must be originating higher, on the second story dormer. We had them replace that part of the roof, as he said it would solve the leak. It didn't.

We finally saved up enough money for an entire new roof, and Roof company #3 did the replacement for us. We thought the problem was solved.... until the next big rain. We were told our gutters were old and not hanging properly. We hired Gutter company to replace them.
This stuff makes me sick.
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:14 PM   #14
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Sure does.

If this is the case, whoever roofed that part of your house is 100% responsible for your present leak. A conscientious roofer would have taken the time to flash the wall into the new roof.

I'd still fix the gutter/ds issue too.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:21 PM   #15
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Wow... ok. Thanks for your help. I will have hubby go up there and check where the shingles meet the flashing. We are just so frustrated because we have paid so many people now to help us fix this, and still it is US on the roof all weekend trying to figure out this crap, when we know nothing about this stuff. So frustrating.

So the roof was leaking before AND after the new roof, but it seems obvious now that this was the problem all along. Wonder why any of these "professionals" didn't notice this, as it was obviously all messy looking and full of old caulk (likely from previous owner)... Ugh.

Thanks again for your help here. Roofer is coming Monday so I will update.

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