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brookbphx 12-30-2008 03:05 PM

Tile+Asphalt Roll Roof leaking - Opinion on what to do
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Hello all,

Please excuse the long post. I have lots of information and lots of questions. I hope you guys can help me. I have a 10 year old tile-roof house in hot Arizona. The roof has been leaking a little in 2 places for about a year. It only leaks a little, on only when its raining pretty hard - especially with wind. The tiles themselves are in decent condition. I believe it's the waterproof underlay that's the problem. I've gone into the attic when it was raining to see if I could tell where the water was coming in, and I could see no leak. The leaky area is near the eaves where there is virtually only about 2 feet of crawl space and lots of insulation, so I couldn't see into that area to see if the water was coming in there. But from what I could see I get the feeling its not leaking higher up and traveling down a rafter. I've had 2 roofing contractors come out to look at it when the weather was dry, and after walking around on the roof and crawling into the attic, they both said they couldn't see any problems, and that it was probably my skylight (which is at the peak of the roof - 25 feet away from the leak. As I said, I don't think its that, because I've been in the attic when it was leaking, and there was no obvious water anywhere between the skylight and where the water was coming through the ceiling in the house. They didn't really offer their services other than to say the only thing they could recommend was trying to get that skylight sealed by someone else, or have them re-roof the house for tens of thousands of dollars. I inspected the skylight, and it looks OK. Add to that the fact I couldn't see any water in the attic, and I don't think its the skylight. So today, during my break between Xmas and New years, I went up on the roof and did what the roofing contractors probably should have done. I lifted some tiles over the area where the leak was occurring to get an idea if a DIY repair was in order. I was not happy with what I saw. I believe I have found where the water is coming through, but it looks like its the tip of the iceberg - these problems are probably all over the roof, and I've just been lucky that other areas haven't leaked (that I've seen). See attached pics. The underlay appears to be a rather flimsy mineral clad asphalt roll. Overlaps from top to bottom appear to be 2-3", and side-to-side, about 8". From what I've read, that appears to be acceptable. However, there appears to be absolutely no mastic or lap cement of any kind attaching these different pieces of asphalt roofing to each other. This may be why it only seems to leak when its windy - wind helps to push the water under the tiles, and then under the side-to-side asphalt roll lap. On top of that, the asphalt roll appear buckled and cracked in many places. I don't know if the leak is due to the lack of lap cement, to the cracks, or both. I'd like opinions on whether this roof is shot and needs to be replaced - or how soon you think it will need to be replaced. It's only 10 years old, and you would think a tile roof protecting the asphalt roll from the UV would lead to a much longer life; however I guess it would increase the heat as well, so that could be the culprit. I'm thinking someone skimped years ago by putting in cheap asphalt roll and not bothering to add lap cement. Even if a roof replacement is needed, unless it is needed immediately, I want to put it off a while. I'd like to get by with a repair for now (let me know if you think I shouldn't wait). I'm a good DIY'er engineer, so as long as its localized, I should be able to do it. I generally overdo things and make them better than they need to be. But I don't want to go overboard if I'm just going to be replacing the roof in a year or so. Opinions on what this repair should be are appreciated. They could be anything from a fairly simple fix that will get me by for a year, to a more dramatic fix that will last many years. Should I pressure wash first (rental required), or is washing down with a hose sufficient? What kind of lap cement is best for hot Arizona summers under the tile (probably gets to 160 degrees under there)? Should I pull up the wood runners for the tiles so that I can better apply the cement, or is that likely to make things worse considering the condition of the asphalt roll? Should I apply cement to the cracks in the existing asphalt roll? Even if I don't have to re-roof the house now, I'm sure it will need it fairly soon. When that occurs, I'll let a contractor do the job. However, I'd still like to specify what I want and know what to look for when inspecting the work. Any ideas on what should be done differently so that the roof will last 20+ years next time, without costing an arm and a leg? Should I go with asphalt roll again? Should I insist on a specific type of roll? What about a rubberized layer or something like that? What about a foam room to help with insulation, and the tile over that? Will I save significant money if I 'assist' the contractor by removing the tiles before his workers come in to do the rest of the work? Re-laying the base waterproof layer for the entire house is well beyond what I want to do as a DIYer, but removing the tiles may be worth my effort. They are not nailed down - they are depending upon gravity and a lip over the wood runners to keep them in place. This is a 2 inch per foot incline. Is not nailing down the tiles common? It sure is more convenient, and given the lack of tornados and hurricanes here, on a 17 degree roof, perhaps it isn't needed. I know this is a big post with lots of questions. I appreciate your time, thoughts and answers.

Thanks! Brook

brookbphx 12-31-2008 11:47 AM

Any thoughts anyone? I see several of you have read my last post, but no replies so far. I'd love some opinions before I head off to Home Depot to try to buy some repair materials. Based strictly on my very limited experience, 1-day internet study, and gut instinct, that's going to consist of a roll of 90# asphalt felt with minerals (if that's the right term), along with some lap cement (don't know what kind to buy), nails, wood furring strip, etc.

Since my post yesterday, I removed the tiles from the second leaking area (no photos), and I found an actual hole in the existing asphalt roll. There's a horizontal buckle in the mineralized felt just up (1 inch) from a wood furring strip that holds the tiles. This buckle is several feet long. The mineral has all disappeared from this buckle area (I'm guessing due to thermal cycle flexing over the years), and the buckle has actually split for a few inches at one spot. The wood deck underneath is visible, so I know that's my leak. I plan on replacing about 8 feet of asphalt roll there.

But I'd still love some experts to weight in before I make the jump. Am I doing the right thing?



Slyfox 01-01-2009 09:15 AM

No disrespect intended Sir,
if you had posted a shorter more direct question/s to the immediate problem and included additional questions later on as the discussion evolved you most likely would have gotten more replies already.

I get a $75.00 service charge and $55.00 per hour to show up at a persons home to consult with him/her/them on matters such as this and between $150.00 - $500.00 too write/print up a spec sheet if they opt for that.
Thus over loading us with such a large post made it feel more like work than a donation of our time to help a fellow home owner out.

Make sure there,s not a ventilation problem, this could cause premature failure of your underlayment.
1- Intake = intake vents at eaves.
2- Free flow = baffles placed in the eaves interior.
3- Exhaust = proper amount of pot or ridge vents in the upper portion of the roof.

Make sure the tiles where fastened properly, if not, the lifting during strong winds would/will allow precipt- penetration.

Make sure it's not a faulty material issue, are the tiles showing signs of separation, peeling, etc.

Remaining life span expectancy:
The quality of the materials used and the workmanship of the installers have already been questioned, so I would not even guestimate on that,
other than to say the ten years you got so far is way short of what it should be.

I would try and track down the original roofer, in the off chance that there is a faulty material issue the original roofer would be able to advise you on what manufacturer to contact, etc.

Immediate repair:
My opinion- Ice & Water shield with a granulated surface,
if you install it making sure you have 2" - 3" laps on all four sides,
top lap will go under existing roll roofing, both sides and bottom lap over,
and 'wearing gloves' rub the material down to a smooth seal, and re install the tiles, no lap sealant needed unless you simply want to take the extra pro-caution and in that case any roof cement will do.

I would also dig into the insulation under these leaking areas and make sure the leak has not caused a mold issue in the attic/crawl space.

brookbphx 01-01-2009 09:40 PM

Thank you Sly Fox. I was wondering why there were no responses to my questions when other people were getting responses to their questions, and I figured maybe it was my long-windedness. You confirmed it. I tend to be very complete when I write so that all the information is there, but I do understand that that will make it seem like work. And I thank you for letting me know and for taking that task on! I'll try to be more concise in the future, and get the 'meat' of the subject first in the post.

I've already done 2/3 of the work for the immediate repair, based on my own guesses of what to do, and thankfully, it seems to be a fairly close match to what you've recommended. I did put down new asphalt roll material with mineral granules on it - fairly heavy stuff from home depot (I think 75#). I underlapped/overlapped as you indicated. And I did use lap cement around all 4 sides, even though it appears that might not really be needed.

It does turn out that this house was built without any attic ventilation. I've often wondered if that would cause my power bill to be a bit higher than necessary, but I didn't realize that it could affect the roofing material. Perhaps that is the cause of the problem. I'll definitely be looking into adding ventilation.

Anyway, thanks for the help. Happy new year!


Slyfox 01-02-2009 07:16 AM

Your welcome Sir.

the roofing god 01-06-2009 06:51 AM

It does look like you don`t really have sufficient headlap on those tiles,should be about 3 ",looks to be less which can cause problems

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