Asphalt Shingles and Leaking Roof
LESLIE: Alright. Heading out to Kansas where Mike is on the line. What can we do for you today?
MIKE: Hi. My girlfriend and I purchased a house about three years ago. And when we did, we had it inspected, naturally. And the inspectors told us that our roof was in pretty good condition. It only had one layer. And the previous homeowner said that it was about seven years old.
This year, we’ve been having some leaking issues. And our – we had our insurance inspector come out and inspect it and he said that, really, there was not a whole lot we could do, that it was just a minor leak. And he put some caulk on it and that it would be OK. That was about three, maybe four months ago. And then a couple weeks ago, we’ve been getting all this rain and there – the leak is happening again.
So I went up there and kind of looked around and I found what I believe is the source of the leak.
MIKE: And I noticed (audio gap) kind of odd. Where the water is pooling up at, there’s a bunch of little, green granules. I’m imagining that’s from the previous set of shingles, because the shingles we have on there now are gray. So I’m not sure if our inspector was wrong, and we’ve actually got more than one layer up there, or what the reason for those granules being there would be and if that’s something that we could actually bring to our insurance adjuster and say, “Hey, there is something seriously wrong here.”
TOM: Well, the insurance adjuster is not going to help you with a defect in the construction of the house. If you have a leak that’s caused by a storm, that’s something the insurance adjuster can help you with, because that’s covered by your homeowners insurance.
You have a pitched roof with asphalt shingles?
TOM: And the area where it leaks, are you near any intersections of anything with that roof? By intersection, I mean does the chimney come through there? Does a pipe come through there? Do two roofs sort of intersect together at opposing angles? Is there a space where the roof matched – meets up with the exterior wall of the house? Anything like that?
MIKE: Yeah. Actually, at the back of the house, toward the kitchen. And I’m not sure if the correct term is “valley,” where the roof kind of comes together and it all drains down (audio gap) gutter is at.
TOM: And is that valley where the contractor applied the caulk that you’re calling it?
MIKE: I’m not sure exactly where he applied it. He just said that they did.
TOM: Well, look, if – and how old is the roof?
MIKE: The previous homeowner said it was about seven years and that was two years ago. So now it’s about 9, 10 years old.
TOM: And he said there was one layer?
MIKE: According to the inspectors and the previous homeowner, there is one layer.
TOM: So that means that the old layer was removed and the new layer was put on. It was a fiberglass shingle. And fiberglass shingles that are about 10 years old, some of them have this issue with cracking or checking. And essentially, they develop fractures in them where leaks can occur.
The only way to really see it is to literally be on the roof, looking straight down at it. And if you see it, it’ll be obvious to you. It kind of looks like a fissuring kind of pattern. But clearly you’ve got a roof leak. Caulking is not the solution, ever. If it’s in the valley, the valley would need to be taken apart and reroofed.
And one way to kind of narrow down where it is – and you may not be the person to do this but a good contractor or a roofer could do this – is to take a garden hose and start wetting the roof down but starting it down low and working your way up.
So, for example, if I thought the valley was leaking, I might let a hose run there for an hour or two and see if I can spot a leak underneath it. But I’d be careful not to put the water up higher than the valley so that if it did leak, I knew exactly where it was happening. Does that make sense?
MIKE: OK. Awesome. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.