Need Help with Leaking Roof

We are experiencing a roof leak in our 5 year old home and are about to replace the ceiling in my daughters room due leak damage.  The problem seems to occur when snow, which sits on top of a roofing vent, begins to melt, although I can not confirm this.  I've contacted our insurance agent who also stated it sounds like the roof vent is the problem.  He gave me the name of a local roofer who also stated the same over the phone but said there is not much I can do about it.   I've looked in the attic numerous times and have not been able to pin point the problem.  Where do I go from here?  The ceiling needs replacing but the leak needs to be addressed before I end up replacing it twice.  Thanks for your help.
cjmichalak  1-7-06 1:20pm

Leaks that form upon snow melt are not unusual.  The presence of snow on a roof can create what in effect become dams that trap water, sometimes even forcing it to run uphill and under roof shingles.  Ice dams, which form at the roof edge, are the most common form of these dams but I have seen the condition also occur much higher up on roofs.

The solution is a roof repair where the flashing around the roof vent is replaced.  This requires disassembling shingles around the area of the vent and rebuilding the roof in this area shingle by shingle.  Your roofer's opinion that there's "not much" he can do about it is puzzling.  I can only surmise that he is not that interested in the work and hence putting you off.

This is totally fixable; you just need to find the right roofer.  During replacement, I'd encourage you to look at some of the newer, more high-tech flashing materials.  For example, Grace Ice and Water Shield, and Tri-Flex 30 are two products that should be under your roof shingles.  These materials seal the roof's understructure and are designed to work together to prevent the very problem you are experiencing.

Reaching Tom:  If you have a home improvement question or comment on this topic, please post it here.  For answers to other home improvement questions, please email Tom at tomsmoneypit@aol.com so your question can be used in future blog entries.

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