When Roof Rot Strikes
LESLIE: Paula in South Dakota is on the line with a leaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.
PAULA: Hi, Leslie. It’s actually not a leaky roof. It’s where the roof overhangs the house. In our area, we call it a “soffit.”
PAULA: And there’s wood underneath the roof. Well, where the roof joins at the 45-degree angle at all the corners, it’s dripping from there. And I’m wondering if that’s something that we can just put some – a sealant and scrape off the old paint and repaint it. Or do we need to call in the professionals?
TOM: So if it’s dripping through the soffit and – does that happen all the time or just under certain weather conditions?
PAULA: Well, when the snow melts off the roof, it drips there. And it goes down the gutter, also, but it also drips there.
TOM: Because what you might have there is some ice damming, because ice will form at that roof edge and kind of back up under the shingles.
LESLIE: And then lift it up.
TOM: Yeah. And then pick it up, right? Lift, push it up and then drip down there. It definitely can cause some rotting and some deterioration. The solution is kind of expensive, because you’d have to pull the roof off and put ice-and-water shield there. But I would check the – I would do one thing: I would check the roof shingles themselves and make sure that they’re not cracked and split along that edge. And if that was the case, then the leaks may be going through the shingles and into the soffit, which basically means you’re at the end of a normal roof life. But I think that that’s worth having a look at.
PAULA: Yeah. That’s a new roof or new shingles.
TOM: Oh, it is?
PAULA: Four years old.
TOM: Well, it shouldn’t be happening if it’s a four-year-old roof. Then, yeah, I would – why don’t you give the roofer a call back, that put that together, and have him take a look? Tell him what you’re seeing and maybe there’s something that they can do about it.
PAULA: OK. Well, it was done just prior to us buying the house, so I don’t know who he is – who the roofer would be. But you think, more or less, it might be just an ice buildup that will – see, I don’t notice it in the summertime.
TOM: If it’s happening during snowmelt, then what happens is the water runs down and it hits ice when it gets to the overhang. And then it backs up. It’s called “ice damming.”
TOM: Alright? It’s a condition that’s very common. Look it up. If you watch it and can take some pictures and prove that that’s what it is, that might actually even be covered by homeowner’s insurance.
PAULA: Oh. Well, that would be a happy situation then.
TOM: Yeah, right? That would be the happiest roof leak you ever got.
LESLIE: And the most affordable to fix.
PAULA: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate all the information.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.