LESLIE: Alice in New Hampshire’s got a leaky roof but can’t find that water source. Hopefully we can help. Tell us about it, Alice.
ALICE: Oh, hi. This water source would be on the roof and it appears in my second-story bathroom which is over my first. But I built this house in ’71 and this stain appeared – oh, it took years; maybe six or seven or somewhere in there years before I saw this and then repainted. Just don’t know how to get rid of it. I had the roof done over and it – and I pointed that out. I said, “There’s a problem.” I showed the roofers back in ’88 when they did the roof again and it has come back.
TOM: Alice, that was 19 years ago (chuckling) when they did the roof. I know exactly what’s causing that leak in your house. The reason it’s leaking is because the vent pipe from the bathroom is going through the roof right over that area. And around the vent pipe there’s a piece of flashing. And if that flashing was last installed with a new roof in 1988 – 19 years ago – it’s time for a new one. These don’t last 19 years.
ALICE: Oh. The vent pipe.
TOM: The vent pipe. You don’t need a new vent pipe. You need a new flashing piece around it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s the flashing around it.
TOM: It’s like a rubber doughnut with an aluminum surround that fits on top of that pipe. And it breaks down from exposure to sunlight. It breaks down in five years, let alone 19 years.
ALICE: Oh, yes. I have a lot of sun there. OK.
TOM: Yeah. And so that’s what’s causing your leak. If you get that fixed, the water’s not going to come in anymore. Probably it’s worse when you get a driving rain and it pours against that area at an angle. But that’s clearly what’s happening. And it’s easy to diagnose a leak over a bathroom because there’s always a big old vent pipe that goes right through that.
ALICE: Thank you.
TOM: Yeah. I know that roof still seems new to you but 19 years old is pretty old roof, Alice, so it’s time for a repair at the least. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.