Identify the Source of Roof Leaks
LESLIE: Keith in Illinois has got a bone to pick with team Money Pit. We suggested something and you didn’t like it. What can we do for you?
KEITH: Well, I – you’ve told me I should put the roof flashing – you know, put a new roof flashing up on the chimney …
KEITH: … to be able to stop the water. Well, I’ve done it twice. Twice now I’ve had – I’ve done it once myself and I’m pretty good at roofing. But I thought, “Well, maybe you could get a professional,” which I had one brought in and he put a whole new roof flashing. And it still leaks down the chimney.
TOM: OK, so we think it’s a flashing leak around the chimney. Where’s the water showing up? Is it showing up inside the chimney?
KEITH: No, it’s on the – it’s on the outside, coming straight down the middle on the bricks. [The bricks – it’s all the way to the top; you know, to the ceiling.] (ph)
TOM: So you flashed it and it’s still leaking?
TOM: Man, that’s really unusual because the water’s got to be penetrating it somewhere. I wonder if it’s coming in the brick joints and kind of working its way around the flashing.
Now, when you say that you had a professional flash it, did they install both base flashing and counter flashing?
TOM: Did they grind out the mortar joint so that the counter flashing was actually inserted sort of into the mortar joint and then folded down on top of the base flashing?
KEITH: Yes, into the – into the mortar.
TOM: Into the mortar? Wow, it sounds like he did a good job. And the water is showing up where the chimney goes through the roof and underneath that area, right? Where do you see it from? The attic?
KEITH: No, actually you don’t. You only see it from – when you’re standing in the living room and it comes through there. I get up in the attic and I try to watch it when it rains and I don’t see it.
TOM: Well, maybe it’s not leaking around the flashing at all. Maybe it’s leaking in somewhere else and then working it’s way down. You know, water leaks can be pretty tricky.
Have you tried this? Have you tried to use a hose to identify the leak area? One of the ways you can do this is you start with a hose, on a dry day, low on the roof. And then you gradually bring it up, you know, maybe in 10-foot sections – up higher and higher and higher – until you actually make the leak happen. Then once you make the leak happen …
LESLIE: You know exactly where it’s coming from.
TOM: Yeah, or at least where to look. How old is the roof that’s on the house now?
KEITH: The roof is four years old.
LESLIE: So it’s a young roof. It should be doing it’s job.
KEITH: Yeah, well I’m getting a new roof because of hail damage just happened about a couple months ago. So, I was thinking even if it is – it still is a new roof – this might help, too.
TOM: Well, it might go away in the process, if you’re replacing the roofing shingles. But try the hose test and see if you can get closer to identifying exactly where it’s leaking. But remember that water could actually run down quite a distance and show up in different places. So, the good news is your chimney will probably never leak again.
KEITH: (chuckling) Yeah, I hope not. Alright.
TOM: We’ve just got to find the place that is leaking.
KEITH: Alright. I appreciate that. I thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Keith. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.