Friday, July 3, 2015

Up On a Roof

With all the rain we have been getting this spring, I'm surprised it took me this long to discover the leak. Looking back, I guess a lot of our rain has come at night or while I was busy doing other things. Also, as far as leaks go, this one was one of the better varieties because the leak was occurring on the outside of the house and not inside.

This spring when we were finishing up siding the house, we were ending up with the chimney. The problem was that when the previous occupants re-shingled the house about four years ago, they incorrectly flashed between the chimney and the roof. The pulled the shingles off and then put new shingles over the flashing instead of under it or woven in between the shingles. So water running down the chimney should shed itself on top of the shingles was now being funneled to the underneath side of the shingles. I'm guessing it was out of laziness because they didn't want to pop off the siding to do the job right and decided instead to just tar the heck out of the joint to prevent water from penetrating. I know this because I've been up in the attic and haven't seen in prior water damage in this area.

Flash forward to our residing job this spring and the two guys I hired to help me out in completing the job were siding this area while my wife and I were on vacation. When I got home, the chimney was sided and I guess I never thought to check the work to make sure it was up to my standards. So a few days ago when we were getting an heavy morning rain while I was sitting in the easy chair eight feet away from the nearby window, I noticed something wasn't right when there was a stream of water running down the window pane. This window sits up tight underneath a two feet overhang and shouldn't have any streams of water running down it other than what gets blown there by the wind and on this day, the rain was coming straight down.

So I got up and walked out in the rain on the deck to where I could peer above the window and I could see water running down the siding all the way up to where it intersected with the soffit. It was hard to tell but it looked like all the water was running down the outside of the siding and was coming from the soffit. Immediately it crossed my mind that something must be leaking where the chimney intersect with the roof just above this area but walking out on the roof during a thunderstorm doesn't come highly recommended. The next day was Sunday and we had a reunion to attend so it was a couple days before I got up on the roof.

The guys who helped me had cut through the tar to remove the old siding and resided the chimney but were evidently counting on the flashing to have been correctly installed to shed the water on top of the shingles. They obviously ignored all the tar on the shingles around the joint which say a different story. Fortunately I had a couple caulking tubes of shingle tar that I used to put a bead of tar to fill up this intersection. That will hold for the time being. For a longer solution, I need to grab a bucket of tar to fill in the dip between my new bead of tar and the mound of old tar six inches away to funnel the water away from the chimney instead of up next to the bead I just applied. A permanent solution is to re-shingle the house which since they shingles are only about four years old, doesn't really make a lot of sense if I can 'fix' the problem with some tar. The shingle job in other areas of the roof was done incorrectly and badly so I will have to do it sooner rather than later but I hope to get another handful of years out of the roof before then.

Now that I have it fixed, there isn't rain in the forecast for the next several days which is good because we don't need anymore right now but leaves me to ponder whether or not I fixed the problem or not. I imagine the next hard rain won't be until three in the morning so I'll have to set my alarm clock and spend the wee hours of the morning out on the deck with a flashlight checking to make sure the problem has been fixed.


sage said...

Finding leaks can often be a mystery game.

Ed said...

Sage - I would agree with you 99% of the time. However this time only one variable changed and for a leak of the size I saw, it has to be where I think it is. Unfortunately, we have no rain in the forecast to prove that I'm right.

Bone said...

Glad your fix held. My roof probably only has a couple of decent years left. Had a shingle torn off during a particularly mean thunderstorm last summer, but there was never a leak far as I could tell. Still, I called and had it replaced.

Seems like a lot of people around here are going with metal roofs lately, but I'll probably stick to shingles.