Monday, October 15, 2012

Raindrops Falling Between My Walls

We were getting the beginning of what turned out to be a nice two day rain, the first such long event since sometime in early spring, and I found myself lying in bed early in the morning listening to it. Having just spent the night laying in that bed, I thought I should get up and go into the living room where the windows on three sides would give me good views of the passing storm. As it turned out, I didn't get much time to do that.

When I got into the living room, I heard a drip sound that sounded eerily like water dripping onto tile. I looked around but couldn't find any water puddles however, I did narrow down the sound and it sound like it was coming from the wall behind my easy chair. I went into our bedroom bathroom which shares that wall and could hear the same sound. So with no signs of water on either side of the wall, my stomach sunk at the thought that water was indeed running down within the wall.

I went downstairs to the basement and quickly located where the water was coming out. It was dripping off the vent pipe for the plumbing system onto the remaining piece of drywall that I hadn't yet torn out. I had torn out lots of drywall underneath the upstairs bathrooms which was stained and had mold growing on it. At the time I thought it was from leaks in the plumbing which actually did have leaks when I first moved into this place. Now I realized that it was coming from a leak int he roof and running down the vent pipe to where it had a bend in it right above a two foot square piece of drywall remaining in the downstairs bathroom closet ceiling.

Since it was still raining hard, I went up into the attic to confirm my suspicions were correct and they were. I was fortunate because the pipe basically went straight down to the basement and the water running down it wasn't touching any other wood or drywall along the journey. In fact, there was only a small chunk of insulation in the attic that was touching the pipe that was wet.

I made a quick trip to the local hardware store and in-between down pours, I went up onto the roof and immediately found the problem. The rubber boot around the vent stack had been torn and inverted so that it actually funneled rain along the pipe instead of shedding it away from the pipe. Not wanting to be shingling in the rain, I cut one of those cut to size rubber boots, put it in place and slathered the whole thing with roofing sealant which cured my leak problem. Next spring when the weather is a little bit better for fiddling with shingles, I'll add that to my list of things to do for a more permanent fix.


Anonymous said...

Are all roofs in the region made from that tar squares. No tile or slate ?.

Ed said...

Vince - In the midwest of America, the vast majority are made from 'shingles' or tar squares as you refer to them. The second most popular these days is tin roofs. You really don't see tile or slate in this region and that is mostly due to the moisture. When you go to drier climates such as the southwest and west, you see a lot more tile.

Anonymous said...

Just where do you think I come from. Are you really telling me about 'rain'.
I was wondering if it was since you were at the bottom of a huge alluvial plain that there was no slate quarries in reasonable shipping distance.

Ron said...

There's a guy in PA who wrote a book on slate roofing, and installs a lot of it over there.

Those rubber boots seem destined to leak. Just a matter of time.

Ed said...

Vince - I meant to add that slate is really expensive out here in the midwest which is probably the biggest reason you don't see it around.

Ron - I used to read a blog of a guy building his own timber frame house that roofed it in slate somewhere in Kentucky. It was a thing of beauty.

Well I still have a half gallon of roof ashesive in case it does. I also don't plan on drywalling ceiling in that area anytime soon. I am going to put up some sort of removable tile that can be thoroughly cleaned and dried or replaced.

Carmella Vancil said...

While the waters rushing in between your walls could have sounded music to your ears, they are not good for your house. We can’t wait until the water touches your any other wood or the drywall. Moisture causes steel materials to rust while wood materials became home to molds. Aside from sealing your roof, waterproofing your wall would have a long term impact. ;) How is it now? Keep safe.
-Carmella Vancil