Find the Source of a Roof Leak
LESLIE: Listening in Illinois on WYLL we’ve got Jim. What’s going on at your money pit?
JIM: I’ve got a roof leak that kind of comes and goes. I’m not sure exactly how it – you know, it seems the way the wind blows or something. It’s right where they have, you know, two different roof lines and then I also have a chimney in that kind of area.
TOM: Now, have you actually been on the roof looking at it, Jim?
TOM: One of the things that you can do with a partner is have somebody inside the attic with a flashlight and perhaps a walkie-talkie and then you on the roof with a hose. And if you work sort of in five-foot increments, start low with a hose and then sort of start down on the roof and bring the hose up very slowly. Let it saturate the area where you think it’s leaking up to and including the intersection of the two roofs and the area where the chimney is. You may get a better idea of exactly where the water is coming in. It’s tricky when you just see it on the ceiling because very often that water will leak in; it’ll catch the edge of a rafter; it’ll run down, you know, two feet, three feet, even 10, 20 feet and then drip off into the ceiling. So, if you’re only checking under the ceiling or right above the ceiling that may not be the area where it’s leaking.
But I have to caution you. This is obviously dangerous because you’re standing on top of a roof. So if you’re not comfortable with it, don’t do it. But you’re identifying the areas where it is most common to find a leak and that is where roofs intersect and especially where the chimney is.
How old is your house?
JIM: Four years old.
TOM: Four years old. So the flashing is probably fairly new and it may not have been done correctly. Because I find, over the last decade or so, that many times there have been a lot of shortcuts made in the flashing, especially around chimneys. Is this a brick chimney?
TOM: Stucco? Alright. It’s very possible that the issue is around the chimney area. So again, use the water test to try to locate it and then, once you know where it’s leaking, we can better talk about how to fix it. But if it’s the flashing, the best thing to do – even though it’s a lot of work – is to strip the roof off around that area and reflash it.
Jim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.