CommunityFixing Roof Leaks: Replace Flashing Around Roof Vents to Prevent Roof Leaks

Fixing Roof Leaks: Replace Flashing Around Roof Vents to Prevent Roof Leaks

We are experiencing a roof leak in our 5 year old home and are about to replace the ceiling in my daughter’s room due to 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 source of the roof leak.  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 the roof leak.

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 the ceiling twice.  Thanks for your help.

The Money Pit Answer

Roof leaks that form when snow melts 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. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this type of roof leak.
The solution to the roof leak 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 too interested in fixing the roof leak; hence putting you off.
Fixing roof leaks is totally doable; 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 to prevent roof leaks.  These materials seal the roof's under-structure to stop leaks and are designed to work together to prevent the very problem you are experiencing.